How many times have you promised yourself at the start of a year to lose weight, save money, eliminate debt, get organized, or undertake some other transformation that’s important to you? If you’re like most people (myself included), resolutions usually don’t work. According to a FranklinCovey survey some years ago, four out of five people eventually break their New Year’s resolutions, with one-third doing so by the end of January.
Rather than simply making a resolution which you’re likely to break, create a plan that you can follow throughout the year. Whether the plan relates to marketing, employee training, or other activity in your business, or some personal growth endeavor (learning a new language, reading more, etc.), setting out the steps you’ll follow can be an effective tool in seeing things through.
The plan provides these advantages over a simple resolution:
- Setting goals. Using a plan helps you create goals that are realistic and achievable. Without a plan, your goal may be pie in the sky.
- Steps to follow. Rather than face the transformation as a single idea, take things a little as a time. What can you do this month? Next? As the year goes on, you’ll see progress toward achieving the changes you want.
- Benchmark to check progress. From time to time, review your plan to see whether you’ve achieved the goals you’ve set for yourself.
- Reward achievements. Build into your plan a reward for meeting your goals along the way. Even a simple acknowledgment to yourself is a reward of sorts to recognize success.
Tools to help
You can certainly create your own plan for changes you want to make in 2012. But if you need some help, here are some good tools to consider:
- 43Things is a place to list your resolutions, share your progress, and cheer others on along their way. There’s an app for the iPhone.
- HabitForge helps you break or create a habit on the premise that it takes 21 days of repetition to be successful. There are daily email checks to help you.
- Habit Maker Habit Breaker is an iPhone app that has motivation reminders.
Good luck to us all!
I’d love to hear about your plans for change in 2012. Thanks and good luck.
Barbara Weltman is an attorney, author (with such titles as J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business), and trusted professional advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs. She is also the publisher of Idea of the Day® and monthly e-newsletter Big Ideas for Small Business® at www.barbaraweltman.com, and host of Build Your Business radio. Follow her on Twitter: @BarbaraWeltman.