You Say You Want a Resolution

This is the time of year when we attend to the annual ritual of making resolutions for the New Year. Is it worth doing? Does it help?

If we were honest, we’d probably conclude that while the idea of making resolutions is relevant, our execution falls far short time and again. Why is that?

I believe we do short shrift to the process of making resolutions because we don’t see it for what it really is—vitally important. The process of determining our most meaningful hopes for the New Year is no different than making an annual plan. Companies do it. Why don’t individuals? For all the talk of You, Inc. and you as a brand, we do a really poor job of attending to something so fundamentally important.

Here are some guidelines to instill purpose into this year’s resolution process.

  1. Positioning. This is your foundation. Positioning is the platform upon which everything is based—your goals, your plans, and your brand. Remember, positioning isn’t just about what you are. Perhaps more importantly, positioning is about who you’re not. And that’s a lot harder to determine.
  2. Core Beliefs. Surely you have fundamental beliefs. What are they? Do you have an overarching point of view? Can you articulate it? Is it relevant to those with whom you choose to interact?
  3. Network. What type of people and organizations are you for? Are there others like them who would expand your network of influencers?
  4. Goals. What do you aspire to do? What motivates you? Are your goals big enough or are they too easily attainable? Do your goals inspire you? How about others? Who can help you achieve your goals? Do they know?
  5. Impediments. What’s in the way of you achieving your goals? Are they truly roadblocks or simply things that need to be handled?
  6. Early Wins. What can you do in the next few weeks to build momentum? Every plan needs to operate on two levels—the longer-term strategic level and the shorter term tactical one. Put energy behind both.
  7. Measures. How do you know your plan is working? What are the measures that will tell you and others that you’re making progress? How often should you check? Inspecting and acting on things too closely too often risks losing perspective. Be sure to look, but don’t obsess about it.

Do you resolve to do things differently this year? Do you resolve to do something really important? Can you be as bold as Sting who sang, “I resolve to call her up a thousand times a day to ask her if she’ll marry me some old fashioned way”? Now that’s inspiring and memorable.

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