Sticky Resolutions

15 01 2013

Welcome to 2013! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season. Sure, the season can bring its own share of stress, but its also a time for reflection and relaxation. And if you’re like me, you hit the new year ready to get back to work and see what kind of success is in store now that the calendar’s flipped.

This time of year is known for the infamous New Year’s resolution. I’ve seen a few statistics that suggest the average length of time a person keeps their resolution is less than six weeks. I can buy that; behavioral science suggests a new behavior requires a minimum of six weeks to become habit, so there’s some correlation there. We’re only on week three of 2013, so hopefully you’re still working at whatever resolution you made!

While resolutions tend to be of the personal improvement variety, I see a lot of organizations engage in the corporate equivalent of yearly resolutions, often with the same level of success. In our personal lives, it’s the temptation of that donut on the counter or hitting the sleep button on the alarm clock that ends up derailing us before we’ve hit our goal. In business, it tends to be things like scope creep, lack of vision and poor morale.

But fixing the situation may be easier than you think. Better yet, we can use the same techniques to aid our efforts both personally and professionally.

I’m a big fan of SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely). It’s usually the first place to look when goals aren’t accomplished. I tend to find that personal goals fail in the attainable and realistic areas while organizational goals often aren’t specific or measurable enough. As I’ve written before, a clear vision and holding people accountable are important attributes of success and both are required for specific and measurable goals.

So take stock of where you’re at now that we’re at the halfway point to making our goal a habit. If you’re still on track, congratulations! Keep up the good work. If, however, you’ve let your resolutions fall by the wayside, it’s not to late to pick them up, dust them off and give it another try.

After all, the new year’s still new. What kind of year it ends up being is up to you.


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