As most of you also experience this time of year, I often get asked what my New Year’s resolution is. Most are disappointed when I give them my standard reply.
“I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.”
The additional part that goes unsaid is, “I don’t make wishes on a star or buy lottery tickets either, cause I’m not living in a Disney movie”.
That part goes unsaid because it’s a little too brutal for casual conversation (or so I’m told). In the written format though, especially to my sales audience, I feel obligated to tell the truth, even when and especially when the truth is a little on the harsh side.
Here is the unedited harsh truth.
New Year’s resolutions suck. They are feckless, and actually counter-productive to accomplishing anything. A resolution is typically nothing more than a wish stated out loud, with no accountability and no real plan to do anything. Think about the type of resolutions most people make. It usually sounds something like “to lose weight”, or “eat less junk food”, or “increase my sales”. “Make more money” or “Be a better person” are also standard prototypes of this traditional malarkey. In fact, there are two distinct types of resolutions:
Type A – The wish with no commitment – “I’m going to lose weight” or “I’m going to make more money”.
Type B – The action with no specificity – “I’m going to eat less junk food”, “I’m going to work out more often” or “I’m going to increase my sales”.
Both types allow the user to feel good for a few minutes about their intent, with no accountability and no plan, only to then re bury their head in the sand. Intent is useless without action. Motivation is useless without discipline to do something. No wonder most New Year’s resolutions last just over a month. In fact, my theory is that groundhog day was accidentally created by someone digging a hole to bury their New Year’s resolution. This caused the unintentional awakening of a subterranean rodent and a karmic backlash of six more weeks of winter. Let Phil sleep I say, and instead of a resolution to bury in early February, allow me to suggest this alternative.
Make some New Year’s Goals, then make the New Year’s plan to match those goals.
“Losing weight” isn’t a goal. It’s a wish. A goal sounds like this, “I am going to lose 36 pounds this year, and be at my ideal weight of 195lbs by July 1st, 2022”. That’s specific. That’s measurable and that is something you can plan around. 36lbs over six months breaks down to 6lbs a month. Now make a plan to match. For example, losing 6lbs a month for six months means I am going to follow these specific behaviors:
- No food after 8pm
- Dessert only on weekends
- Work out regimen of X activities 3 times a week
- Drink a gallon of water a day
- Give up sugary sodas and drink ice tea or water at meals instead
Monitor your results, so if you are not dropping the weight fast enough, maybe you need to add a work out, or avoid another food. If you are ahead of schedule, you can ease off or just enjoy getting to your goal faster. Write your planned behaviors down. Look at them daily. Add them into your calendar when possible (like the workouts). Commit to them out loud to your friends and family, and ask them to help you stay on track. Goal, Plan, Commit, Act.
“Increasing my sales” isn’t a goal. It’s a wish. A goal sounds like this, “I am going to make 25% more commissions this year, and hit $___ in annual revenue. That’s specific. That’s measurable and that is something you can plan around. Imagine that I need an extra 24 accounts to hit that 25% increase, which means I am going to follow these specific behaviors:
- Increase my proposal meetings by 25% or X number per month (activity plan)
- Ask each of my clients for a referral by February 2nd (especially the ones named Phil)
- Improve my sales skills by reading a book or attending an online class by March 15th
- Set up an accountability partner and meet weekly to stay on track.
- Drink a gallon of water a day (staying hydrated is important for sales as well as weight loss)
Again, monitor your progress, and adjust as necessary. Commit to them out loud to your friends and family, and ask them to help you stay on track. Goal, Plan, Commit, Act.
Wishes stated out loud don’t change behaviors, but changing behaviors is the way to change results.
New Year’s resolutions are for the birds. Winners set goals and make plans to hit those goals.
No groundhogs were disturbed or injured in the writing of this New Year’s message.