What Resolutions Can Teach Us about Business Goals
Every year I walk into the gym the first week in January and see dozens of faces I’ve never seen before—the New Year’s resolution crowd. Fast forward 3-6 weeks later and 95% of these faces are gone. Why can’t most of us can’t keep our resolutions? Here are some of the most common reasons:
They focus only on results, not on behaviors.
If you say, “I want to lose 20 pounds this year,” you need to break down the steps needed to achieve such a goal, such as giving up soda, sticking to a certain calorie count per day, and exercising 30 minutes per day.
Business Goals: If you’re trying to get your team to increase sales by 10% next year, give them some behavioral goals to meet that will help them get there. For example, challenge them to make a certain number of cold calls per day, attend at least 2 networking events per quarter, or pitch a new product to at least 3 existing customers each month.
They are unrealistic.
If you resolve to pay off all your credit card debt by next year, but don’t have a sufficient income to do so while paying your bills and putting food on the table, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Business Goals: Stretch goals are great, but if you know your team has little chance to meet a benchmark you’ve set they are likely to get frustrated and give up. Make sure your goals are based in reality and not solely on what you’d like to see happen.
They are too ambitious.
If you plan a major undertaking like quitting smoking, you probably shouldn’t also try to lose a significant amount of weight. Focus your energy on one major thing you’d like to work on.
Business Goals: It might be too much for your team to shorten turnaround time while reducing overhead and also growing existing business. Don’t overwhelm your employees with too many expectations, especially if they conflict.
They do not account for milestones.
If you don’t celebrate your accomplishments until you achieve that goal weight or debt reduction, you’re likely to get frustrated when the going gets tough. Treat yourself when you reach an incremental milestone with something special that will not derail your goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, maybe get a massage to work out muscles that are sore from exercise or buy yourself a new gym outfit.
Business Goals: In the same vein, do not wait until you reach the big end of year goal to recognize your employees. If you see your team working hard along the way, make sure to acknowledge their efforts at that time to give them the encouragement they need to continue pushing. Take some time at the end of each month or quarter to celebrate how far you’ve come, share wins, and analyze losses to see how you can improve going forward.
They try to go for it alone.
Having someone (or better yet a group) to keep you accountable and motivated can make a world of difference.
Business Goals: Forming project teams is a great way to ensure that employees have a constant source of creativity, support, and motivation to keep going. No one wants to let the team down, and it’s harder to let something slide when you have several people keeping an eye on it.