3 Tips for Improvement with Staying Power

It's a New Year - fresh start, clean pallet. The world seems full of possibilities. How sad, then, that we often start the year saddled with arbitrary or clichéd resolutions that feel more punitive than inspiring. More than 90% of resolutions made at the start of the year fail to be realized or maintained. Why? For starters, resolutions are typically based on past failures, rather than as means toward future success. They are rarely thought through relative to their feasibility or sustainability or tied to broader, strategic objectives. This is not a wholesale condemnation of New Year's resolutions, but a cautionary note. Consider these points when developing 2013 goals for your personal or professional life:

Ponder past successes. It's easy to take for granted that which we do well. It is also extremely important to account for and utilize these strengths. Start your planning process by considering your strengths and successes from the previous year, and be sure to leverage those in your plan for the coming year. Consider the new business you did attain, the customers who adore you, and the pounds you did not gain! Then diagnose your specific activities surrounding these successes.

Understand your failures. New Year's resolutions typically reflect something we failed to do in the previous year. Take the time to reflect on why you did not do certain things or why you didn't do them well. Assuming you aren't lazy, crazy or incompetent, there was likely a valid reason you didn't invest time in specific activities relative to other pursuits. Was there a barrier to success? Was there not enough return on the time and effort? Be sure you can articulate what has changed to make past failures feasible or valid as a priority this year.

Begin with a positive outcome in mind. Resolutions tend to be reparations to a larger problem. As you plan for success in 2013, start with your strategic goals, and then develop actionable steps (resolutions) to make those objectives a reality. As well-known author Tony Robbins wrote, "If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten." Declaring that you will achieve a higher closing rate or lose 10 lbs. doesn't get you any closer to making these resolutions a reality. Are there lifestyle changes needed to support healthier eating habits? Are there specific skills or resources you need to improve your sales performance? If the closing rate for you or your sales team is not what you want it to be, diagnose where in the sales process failure most often occurs. What GAP exists that prevents you or your team from successful outcomes?

The intent behind New Year's resolutions is certainly admirable, but taking a more thoughtful approach to your 2013 game plan will yield more significant and longer lasting results.