Goals Trump Resolutions

By Ann Elliott

Resolutions have a dismal track record of success. “Eighty percent of  resolutions are lying on the floor by the end of January,” said Alan Manevitz a psychiatrist at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan in an article in The State newspaper (January 14, 2008). In January memberships at gyms and fitness clubs increase and by spring the numbers have decreased to the faithful and the committed.  When I joined the YMCA several years ago, the instructors alerted us to expect an increase in the class size after the New Year.  We made room for those who had resolved to “get healthy.” However, very few stick with it. team Some of the costs of broken resolutions
  • Proof that we can’t and that we always fail
  • An attitude of “Oh, why bother?”
  • No real change in our circumstance
The reasons resolutions fail to deliver are numerous
  • They are vague and often grandiose
  • They are easy to say and hard to implement
  • They are all or nothing
What can you do to develop a track record of success? First, take a holistic view of your life and your business.  Get above the frenetic activity to look at the whole landscape. Next, consider what the most important things to YOU are. For the moment, forget about what others are saying you “should” do. Finally, with complete integrity and flawless honesty, what is your circumstance at this moment? Seven Steps to Goal Success 1.  Be clear about what you intend to create. See the end result and use all your senses to experience it. 2.  Fall in love with it. Be emotionally involved with your goal. 3.  Surround yourself with encouragers. Find others who support your efforts and want you to succeed. 4.  Create accountability. Tell others what you are up to and be selective. See number 3. 5.  Get into action. Some highly evolved and enlightened souls can manifest goals while sitting on the sofa.  You are probably not one of them and neither am I. Get to work. 6.  Measure your progress. Give yourself some feedback about how you are doing.  Celebrate small successes that lay the groundwork for the bigger ones. 7.  Let the results take care of themselves. All you can control is what you think, feel, perceive and do. What is an example of goals trumping resolutions? In the non profit arena, a church survives because it attracts and keeps members who believe in the mission of the church and are willing to support it with their money and participation. I know of a small congregation which has been saying for years “We want to increase our members.”  This was not happening; the numbers were flat. Here’s some action they took to create their success: The Board adopted as one of its goals for the year to increase Sunday attendance by an average of ten percent.  This is very clear.  Since they can measure attendance for both adults and children, they can track the progress. They announced to the entire congregation the goal to increase attendance.  They planned and implemented a theme event every quarter to build relationships within the church and the community.  They have improved the worship space with new lights and are in the process of getting a new sound system. The results so far — revenues are up and attendance is up more than 10%. Keep these points in mind Goals have a bigger and better return than resolutions.  With goals you can see progress from the action you are taking.  With resolutions it is a yes or no proposition.  Once you break a resolution, it is broken.  Your mind can trick you into thinking you have failed.  Why bother to continue?  After all, it’s just a New Year’s Resolution.  Nobody keeps those. Why have resolutions at all unless you want to change something about your life or your business? Why not choose a method that has a higher probability of success?  Goals trump resolutions.  What’s in your hand?

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Ann Elliott

Ann Elliott, founder of The Berkana Company, excels at leadership strategy

An expert at helping business leaders enjoy more profits and improved productivity with less stress, she blends fun and excitement with executive coaching and training to yield results for her clients.

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