How to make your personal and business New Year’s resolutions stick

Writing New Year`s Resolutions for Christmas. Christmas Resolutions. Text 2020 Resolutions on paper.

It’s a brand new year and you have likely got some goals you want to achieve in 2020, both for your business and personally. We all know that the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail by mid-February but there are things you can do to make sure that your goals stay on track.

Whether you want to get fit, improve your work-life balance, or reduce expenses and increase efficiency of your business, the principles are the same. Here are three tips to help 2020 be the year you achieve your goals.

Have a clear, documented plan

Planning might be boring, but it’s the best chance of making something actually happen. Clearly articulate your goals, what success looks like, the steps you need to take and what resources you will use. Identify the milestones you want to see that will indicate you’re on track.

For example, you might want to increase efficiency to deliver 100 of a product rather than the current level of 75. Your first step is to measure a baseline of the process, then identify the potential changes to the process that will create your efficiencies, and the steps you need to make those changes real. You’ll need the team that delivers the process and someone with a fresh set of eyes who can identify potential efficiencies. You should then re-measure the process each quarter to check in on progress.

This is the same if your goal was to increase your fitness – you need to baseline your current fitness level and identify the activities you’re going to do to increase it, say high-intensity-interval-training (HIIT). You might need some equipment like weights or a treadmill, or maybe a personal trainer, and then repeat your baseline test on a monthly basis to check in on your progress.

It’s also very helpful to display your plan somewhere that you will see it regularly. This will keep your plan and goals front of mind, and give you a little ‘nudge’ when you need it.

Give it time

As Rachael Hunter famously said for Pantene shampoo, “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen”. Trying to rush changes won’t necessarily get you to your outcome faster. Doing HIIT for a full day won’t make you fitter; rather you’ll just be exhausted and probably get seriously dehydrated. Similarly, trying to halve a process’s time in a week will likely result in exasperated and frustrated staff.

Celebrate success

Making changes can be difficult and stressful for everyone involved so it’s important to have rewards along the way that keep up the motivation and drive to keep going. A massage to reward your fitness improvement, a morning tea or afternoon drinks for the team will go a long way to help keeping the changes going. Rewards lead to repeated behaviour; this is the tried and tested psychological technique of positive reinforcement.

New Year’s resolutions don’t have to fall by the wayside! If you have a clear, documented plan that allows reasonable time to achieve it, and build in some rewards and celebrations for progress you’ll be well on your way to realising your goals.

Samantha Rush, Principal Consultant, Legion Consulting Group