Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Reinventing (New Year’s) Resolutions


We have goals, and we want to achieve them. Many make it into a form of New Year resolutions, but there are also corporate missions, team goals, etc. Exploring how businesses achieve their goals can transfer to forming a more successful new year’s resolution, and businesses can learn from new year’s resolution success stories.

Here are three different approaches we can borrow from:

  1. Management consulting/corporate goals setting (read more from a McKinsey & Company consultant)
    • Reframe “What’s your new year’s resolution” to “What’s your strategy for a better life in the new year?”
    • Followup the overall question with specific questions, such as
      • What dimensions (e.g., health, finance, relationships, etc.) of my life should I prioritize?
      • What goals do I have for each?
      • What specific actions can I take which would help me achieve these goals?
      • How do I know when the goals are achieved?
  2. Consumer behaviors
    • Research the potential “purchase”/goal
      • Is this goal worth “purchasing”? (see previous blog on if the goal is worth suffering for)
      • Who are the experts in the areas we have goals, and how are they approaching their goals? If they have already succeeded with similar goals, how did they do it?
    • Get Sales people to help us choose
      • It’s ok to ask questions of others, like our friends, to review our goals and see if they have any input
    • Give the goals a 1 month trial, after which we can decide to
      • “exchange” our goals for another, and
      • Note the reason for the return (to help ourselves form “better” goals in the future), and/or
      • Ask for customer service for help, which in this case might be to get help implementing the existing goals, and/or
      • Have some goals to last one month only, with the same approach we might have towards a product we wouldn’t normally buy but are willing to try because there is a free 1 month trial
  3. Psychological interviews
    • Reframe the new year’s resolution to two questions:
      • “Why don’t I do this already?” to identify what the barrier has been (and if is a predicament you have to address or a problem under our control we can solve?)
      • “Why do I feel the need to do this now?” to identify the emotional component of our goals, because we are emotional creatures and knowing what emotions drive this goal can help us to fight for it when the going gets tough.

Businesses are focused on meeting their goals because it affects the bottom line. As such, there are many management books written on how to set goals and achieve them, formalized methodologies for project management, specialized software to track them, and meetings to strategize how best to tackle problems along the way. Therefore, it is no wonder that the first two approaches are well-integrated into the corporate goal setting and implementation psyche. While we can apply these techniques to our personal lives, more businesses can gain by including the third approach, to probe the question why this and why now, as Toyota has with its Five Whys approach.

Photo: Plumeria in Koko Head Crater Park, Hawaii Kai, Hawaii

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This entry was posted on January 3, 2016 by in Management, Psychology, Time Management and tagged , , .
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