Happy New Year - setting your resolution using a business approach #goals @NYResolutions

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson. (1849 –> 50)

NY resolutions – they’re personal

I’ve started working on my personal New Year (NY) resolutions with great enthusiasm, as I do every year.

This year I’m thinking of taking a new approach. In the past I haven’t

  • written my resolutions down,
  • made them public, or
  • measured my success in any way after setting them on 1st Jan, and
  • usually only use a pass or fail measure of success.

Do you take the same approach? Well maybe its time to take a leaf out of our approach to business planning and end of year wrap as we set our 2016 NY resolutions?

Taking a business approach to NY resolutions

If I were to take a more systematic approach to my NY resolutions, would I achieve more of my resolutions? Anything is worth a try I hear you say.

OK, lets break it down, what  do I need to do? What approach do we take to end of year reviews and new years business plans?

1. Take stock

As we wrap up a year in the business world we look back and assess our successes and failures. This review isn’t blinkered or rose-coloured.

rose coloured glassesWe analyse any trend,s or ‘aha’ moments, that we encountered during the year. We reflect on ‘lessons learned’ in projects, product launches or customer service and feedback – to name just a few sources for our review.

So we are not taking a stab in the dark when we begin to frame our business goals for the coming year, so why wouldn’t we do a similar review of our 2015 year.

to do list

What have we learned from 2015 that might shape our 2016 NY resolutions (or business goals)?

2. Review the data

We go beyond the anecdotal or qualitative in business. We focus on the cold hard facts, quantitative data, in or end of year review.what gets measured gets done

We use facts, figures and insights to assess our progress towards our business goals. It is often the case that we have set some targets and identified how we will measure them throughout the year and it is this data we go examine to assess our progress.

Up until now in our personal life  we might not have applied this same rigour, or amassed the data needed for this step – so now is the time to start. Lets not go overboard though, but at least set ourselves some measures of success.

to do list

How are we going to measure the success of our NY resolutions (business goals) and how often should we measure?

3. Set our 2016 Goals

From these two first steps you might have revealed some startling findings! You might even have decided to stop, or alter, something you’ve been doing all year as it hasn’t been reaping the results you want. Regroup and refocus your goals – it might be time to ensure you are using SMART goals.

SMART goals have been around in the business world for a long time and help to keep businesses focussed and on track. As we complete our assessment of 2015 we might begin to frame the new goals for 2016 using the SMART goal approach.

In our personal life the use of SMART goals might prove to be a good choice.


Source – Envision Student Blog on SMART Goals

to do list

Decide on our resolution or business goal(s), identify what and how often we will measure progress. Use SMART goals.

4. Implement, monitor, monitor, and adjust

Well by now we have a clear picture of success, failures, highlights and low lights of 2015 and a clear set (or singular) resolution or business goal(s) for 2016.

We’ve also established what and how often we will measure our progress. Now the fun starts – we put our plan in action. This is the challenging part of any resolution/business goal – and it is where mistakes are made and some fall by the wayside.

In the business world we would either develop a project plan or a change management plan for the big-ticket items on our resolution/business goal list – we certainly wouldn’t leave it to chance – so why wouldn’t you follow this approach with your NY resolutions?

Build your resolution or business goal into your everyday life – consider some simple change management strategies.to do list

5. Unlike in business – make your ‘resolution’ journey fun

gameificationI say unlike in business as often there isn’t much fun, or sometimes even reward, when you achieve a milestone or goal in business.

This is perhaps where business can learn from our personal resolutions approach – we are often very quick to reward ourselves for each step on the journey.

Don’t let your NY resolution be a chore or task that you don’t want to face. Decide on how you will celebrate the little steps on the way to success, and of course what the reward for success will be. You might benefit from a brief recap on change management for success.

to do list

Make rewards fun, be playful and involve others as you celebrate milestones.

If you want to adopt this approach in business think of small fun ways to celebrate – sounding a bell or Claxton when a new product/project is won, chocolate frogs for completing a task.

Games or fun are a great way and powerful tool to educate and engage so why not use them in supporting our business and personal goals.

6. Pulling it all together

The final step in the business approach to NY resolution is the publishing of our resolutions.

As in business where we state our goals, how we will measure and how often we will measure them very public – we need to adopt the exact same approach in our NY resolution.

Make your NY resolutions public, recruit a buddy to support you and monitor your progress.to do list


Some people advocate the need for ‘penalties’ if we don’t achieve our goals – this a true ‘carrot and stick’ approach and one which, as far as the stick is concerned, perhaps won’t work with NY resolutions.

There are some novel internet sites where we can publically commit to our goals and pay a penalty (charity donation) if we don’t succeed – so if you want to take a stick approach this might be the best option.

Otherwise I am all for the ‘carrot’ approach. We will be beating ourselves up next year about not achieving our 2016 NY resolutions so that will be punishment enough!

We need some fun and reward in our lives.


Businesses survive and thrive with plans and goals –

they are the secret to success.

So why not master this approach in your personal NY resolutions.