Every year is the same; depending on which survey you read somewhere over 70%, 80% or even 95% of all New Year’s Eve resolutions are doomed to fail. Where will yours stack up in that statistical pile?
Here are a few tips to ensure this year your resolution becomes reality.
Here at Cowan Global we spend our time helping businesses become successful businesses by helping them be better at strategy. This means not only better at delivering strategy but in establishing challenging but achievable targets to pursue in the first place.
And every year, where so many businesses fall short of their potential (and even fail), most of the population follow. Every year people set targets (aka New Year’s Resolutions) they have absolutely no chance of delivering.
Key to your being successful in whatever you resolve to do in 2012 is to be smarter when you set your target now. By smarter, I mean SMARTER because it is an acronym you can test your resolution against:
S stands for specific. If you aren’t specific about what you want to achieve how can you honestly know when you have succeeded? “I want to lose weight,” simply won’t cut the mustard; “I want to lose half a stone” will. It is specific so that you know what it is you are setting out to achieve.
M stands for measurable. You need to be able to measure progress or you risk losing motivation. “I want to get fitter,” is a laudable aim but is hard to measure. “I want to be fit enough to run 5km without stopping” puts a measure on it and you can tick off 1, 2, 3 and 4 km as landmarks along the way to help keep you motivated.
A stands for agreed. If you are involving other people, they must all agree or you will fail. Beyond that people have a penchant for setting resolutions they think others will be impressed by instead of setting targets for themselves. Put another way, your resolution must be something that, deep inside, you agree you can and will pursue, you must agree your resolution with yourself! Half-hearted = half-arsed = doomed to fail.
R stands for realistic. You will know people (you might be one of them) who have big, often alcohol driven dreams every December 31st who wake on 1st January to realise there is no way on God’s earth they will achieve their resolution and it bites the dust before it sees its first sunset. Unrealistic can mean plain crazy (eg I’m going to swim the Atlantic using butterfly) or ill-conceived such as committing to hit the gym for two hours every day when you know that work and family commitments will make one hour every other day far more realistic.
T stands for time-phased. In short; give yourself a deadline and, if it is a large undertaking give yourself some time-phased check points along the way. So, if you are going to run to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro for charity it might be wise to have some progressive targets along the way as you prepare.
E stands for exciting. Does achieving your resolution excite you? If yes, great; if no, bin it and get another because if you aren’t excited by it now the further we get into 2012 the less you will be motivated to achieve it and that will lead to only one thing – failure.
R stands for recorded. Not just a record for yourself but a public record to which you agree to be accountable. This might be as simple as telling your friends you are going to raise over £1000 for your favourite charity or it might be sharing your progress towards fitness, weight loss, giving up smoking or whatever else on a public blog. By recording what your resolution is you make yourself accountable for failure.
There are other acronyms you can employ. If you are aiming to improve at something you already do try CRAMP. Your resolution will need to be Challenging but Realistic, Agreed and Measurable not forgetting Performance orientated. Of course, if you forget to make it measurable it becomes something else altogether!
Whether SMARTER, CRAMP or February wash out, thank you for reading the Cowan Global Blog during 2011, I’m looking forward to writing more in 2012 and hope you will join me then.
Have a great time on New Year’s Eve; see you the other side!
© Jim Cowan, Cowan Global Limited, December 2011