How do you feel about New Year’s Resolutions? Do you keep them in your head? Write them down? Avoid them altogether? Kicking off The Intelligent Edge for 2024 is HBG Senior Consultant Jennifer Turner with a look at resolutions, and how to maybe even make them work for you. Happy 2024! ~Helen
When I started brainstorming ideas for this blog post, knowing it was going to be published in the beginning of January, my mind naturally drifted to the topic of New Year’s resolutions and goals.
“This year, I’m going to be better at communicating with my gift officers.”
“This year, I’m finally going to get around to cleaning up our database.”
“This year, I’m going to make a point to proactively identify xx new prospects each month.”
However, research suggests the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is said to be an estimated 80%, with most people losing their resolve and motivation by mid-February (U.S News and World Report).
Eighty Percent!!! This statistic has led to the creation of another holiday – Quitters Day – the second Friday in January, or the most likely day for people to give up on their new year resolutions (National Today).
So why would I encourage you to do something in which the odds of succeeding are so high against you? (Plus, that would make me a hypocrite….)
You see, I have always had an aversion to New Year’s goals. For one thing, the timing is actually terrible. I’ve finally gotten through the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and now I have to jump in to eating healthy and exercising regularly? Can’t I just let those holiday sweets quietly digest while I sit at my desk, easing back into the regular work routine, thinking about how long it is until the next holiday weekend?
Not to mention I’d hate to waste those New Year’s Eve leftover goodies just because I’m “supposed to” start eating healthy come January 1. Give me a break!
So, rather than come up with a list of resolutions that start January 1, I propose a new approach: try coming up with one new goal each month.
I see this as having many advantages:
- The idea of tackling one goal in January is much easier to adjust to (and thereby follow through with), than a list of many goals at once.
- New goals may emerge as the year progresses that weren’t relevant at the start of the year when you first made your list.
- And speaking of the start of the year, why should we limit self-improvement to only that time? Shouldn’t we strive for self-improvement all year long?
- Come year end, you can evaluate your success on 12 goals, rather than your failure of a handful of goals that didn’t make it past January.
The point is to continuously work on evaluating and improving yourself all year long. And worst case, if you should happen to fail to meet a goal, you can try again next month. Maybe you set the bar too high and need to modify your goal. Maybe you just need more time to be successful. Or maybe it was bad month and other, more important things came up that took precedence. Life happens, after all.
Meanwhile, don’t keep these goals to yourself. Communicate them!
Discuss each new goal (and your progress) with your manager regularly. Talk to your co-workers. Maybe they have similar goals, and you can help motivate each other. Maybe your officemates are competitive and will engage in friendly contests to help urge each other on. Accountability and competition can serve as great motivators.
New Year’s resolutions do not need to be viewed as the dreaded start-of-the-year exercise/ominous list of things that we will ultimately fail to do a month into the game. They should be looked at as an ongoing process to better oneself, whether it be at work or in your personal life.
Don’t limit improving yourself to the start of the year. Think of your goals as being fluid and evaluate them regularly. Congratulate yourself on the successes, but don’t be so hard on yourself with the failures. Discuss, modify, and try again. You have twelve months to work with, after all.
So, sit back, continue eating that leftover Christmas cookie, and take it one month at a time.