Quarterly Resolutions

January 7, 2011 at 2:00 pm Leave a comment

resolutionsI think that New Year’s resolutions are a total buzz kill.

Yes, a buzz kill.   On New Year’s Eve, you might find yourself at a party, toasting with friends,  making merry, and then all of a sudden, New Year’s resolutions come up in the conversation.  Seriously?  There you are, having  a blast, and then you’re supposed to name all the things in your life which aren’t going well, to the point where you have to make a resolution for improvement?  What an anticlimactic way to end one year and begin another!

It’s not that I have a moral objection to making resolutions, but I don’t feel January is the best time to make year-long promises to oneself.  December/January is usually a time when people eat or drink too much; people are overtired and having a hard time getting back into the swing of things.  To then paint with the broadest stroke by setting huge goals such as “I will lose ten pounds this year,” or “I’ll start going to the gym” or “I’ll get that raise I’ve been wanting to go for” — are all tough to follow through with, in January, when it’s cold and miserable outside (in New York, at least).  By setting large, unattainable goals, you might well be setting yourself up for A) failure or B) repeating the same New Year’s resolution, year after year…after year!

Year-long resolutions can be very deceiving.  Come April, you might think to yourself, “I still have seven whole months to lose those twenty pounds” or “I still have seven months to speak to my boss.”  By putting it off until the very last minute, it’s almost inevitable that last year’s resolution will suddenly roll on over and become next year’s!

I am a big fan of the 90-day resolution, with my family and in my business.  On January 1st each year, I sit down with my executive team and we go around the table, listing our personal and professional goals.  Then, we list goals as a team — specifically, what we can conceivably accomplish by April 1st.  We are very exacting in choosing April goals.  We make sure they are realistic and then we map out a precise route to accomplish them.

We announce these goals out in the open  because we want to live up to what we promise ourselves.  When dealing with 90-day increments and choosing realistic goals, the probability of success doubles, triples–no,  quadruples!

(Try it out:  The phrase “I will lose two pounds by April 1st” sounds a WHOLE lot more attainable than “I will lose ten pounds by the end of the year.”)

With the 90-day resolution, when it comes to April 1, my team and I regroup and assess our progress.  Have we met our goals?  Why celebrate resolutions once a year when you can celebrate them quarterly?

Of course, I never ignore things which I want to accomplish over the course of an entire year.  I always keep them in the back of my mind.  But I never make resolutions that span the course of an entire year, because I want to live in the here-and-now, in-the-moment.  After all, the distance from Point A to Point B isn’t half as important as the journey.

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“Love Your Maverick” “It’s Not A Dirty Word!”

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