Business Perspectives

How to turn your resolutions into solid goals

With the best intentions, many of us at this time of year whip out a sheet of paper and write down our resolutions. Maybe they look something like this:

Spend more time with the family. I enjoyed that feeling I had from being with my family during the holidays, and I want more of that feeling.

Lose weight and get in shape. I ate way too much over the holidays and now nothing fits.

Be a better dad, mom, brother, sister, boss, business owner, employee and so on.

Help the less fortunate.

And so our list goes on as we jot down all of the things of we want to do better in 2010. Sadly, most, if not everyone, will fail at these resolutions.

Why? A resolution is simply a statement to do something. There is little structure or meaning behind the statement. Resolutions make great sound bites. But just like a politician's speech, we get a warm feeling upon hearing it but know in our hearts that the resolutions will never become reality.

So how do we make our resolutions come true?

The secret of result-producing resolutions is to rethink the process you are using. Let's say you have already made your list of resolutions, and it looks like the list above. Ask yourself these simple questions about each one.

* Why would I want to do that? What basic need is it meeting in my life? In other words, is there an underlying value that ties to this resolution? How will your life be different by succeeding at this resolution? How important is that value to you? If it is not very important, chances are your resolution will go by the wayside quickly.

* What does the word "more," which pops up so frequently in resolutions, mean? Unless you define what you mean by more, how will you know if you have succeed or if you are making progress toward your resolution? Does more mean once a week, 15 minutes a day, three times a week or more?

* What is the time frame I am looking at to complete this resolution? Do I have a deadline in mind or is anytime that I complete this resolution good enough? You need a deadline. Think of an NBA game without the buzzer. How exciting would it be if they played until they were tired and then checked the score. The same thing is true with your resolutions. Without a deadline to work toward there is no deadline to work on you.

Once you have answered these questions, rewrite your resolutions incorporating your answers into a new and improved resolution, which you can rightly now call a goal. Do you realize that only 3 percent of the population ever writes out their goals? And more telling is the fact that 1 percent of the American population owns 33 percent of the wealth in this country. Do you think that they have written out their goals?

The last critical step is to make time daily to review your goals and once a week track your actual progress toward your goal. As you critically review your progress, you will find ways to improve and grow.

As you implement these changes, you will find yourself closer to goals. For example, if your goal is to meet three prospects a week, did you meet three? If not, why not? I know that you will be pleasantly surprised with your progress and how fast you are progressing to the successful completion of your resolution.