It’s March. Do You Know Where Your Resolutions Are?

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on March 11, 2010 in: Project Management

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Photo Credit:© Gabriel Plata Stapper

Roughly 60 days ago (or so), you probably made some resolutions. Maybe to eat better or work out more frequently – which are resolutions that are similar to what everyone makes – but I’m more interested in your business resolutions. As you prepared for 2010, what did you decide to do this year that will make you more successful?

More importantly, are you doing what you decided to do?

I was thinking about blogging on another topic today but I stumbled across a great article and I just had to post it (along with my own thoughts on the matter).
One reason why people struggle with making resolutions that they stick to all year is that they haven’t turned those goals into habitual actions. It’s easy to say “I’m going to decrease expenses by 10% this year” or “I’m going to grow my customer base by 12 new paying clients by the end of 2010”, but making those goals into actions – and those actions into habits – is a completely different (and far more challenging) effort. And I’m not just talking about New Years Resolutions here. This is the case with any goal.

So when I read the post by Leo Babauta called “The Habit Change Cheatsheet: 29 Ways to Successfully Ingrain a Behavior” at ZenHabits, it got me thinking about how to make my business and your business even more successful with good habits. This cheatsheet deals mostly with general habits (stop smoking, exercise more, etc.) but I’ve been thinking about how it can be repurposed for business use.

I won’t list all 29 points here, but I will comment on a few of them from a business-habit perspective:

Habit #1, do just one habit at a time. Although I “fail” at this one by making several goals at once, I think this advice is actually fairly wise. And when you combine it with habit #3, do a 30 day challenge, you can theoretically do one goal a month. (So if you made 12 New Years resolutions, don’t panic, just spread them out over the year).

I’m torn about whether or not I agree with habit #7, Don’t start right away. The author makes a good point that having a start date and an end date help to create a sense of excitement that you will look forward to. But I’m torn because I also know lots of people who say “I want to start doing [some habit] so I’m going to start Monday [or next month or next quarter or whatever]. I like the idea of setting a start date to make it exciting… just make sure you don’t set a start date as an unconscious delaying tactic. I would rather start a good habit today.

Habits #9 and #10, write down your [negative] triggers and for every trigger write down a good habit is something I read just last year in another source; I think it’s a good idea and something I’ve been trying to incorporate into my life.

Habit #18, have a mantra is a nice, neat way of creating what amounts to a short term “cheer” for yourself during your new-habit “indoctrination”. If you want to add more customers to your customer base, then make this year “2010: The year of ‘yes’.”

Lastly, habit #27, engineer so it’s hard to fail is brilliant. It’s too easy to fall back into old habits (or, at least, default action where there wasn’t a habit before). One example might be: If your goal is to decrease expenses by 10%, you might consider a mandatory 48-hour waiting period on any new purchase with a series of “do I really need this?” questions to ask yourself.

There is a lot of writing out there on goals but people fall short of their goals all the time. The real secret to success is to convert those goals to habits and this list is one of the most useful tools to help you do just that.

Heather Recommends:

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