If you are like many people, you are at least considering making resolutions for the New Year. Others have decided to forego New Year’s Resolutions this year, and not without some level of guilt – the resolutions don’t tend to work out.
Every year it’s the same thing, isn’t it? Great, broad-reaching goals that fall flat within six weeks; small changes in habits from which we revert to our previous way of operating rather quickly; unexpected resistance or difficulty.
This applies to our organizations as much as to our personal lives.
Often our goals lack five things that would give us greater success. If we put these five things into our goals and resolutions, we will find we have much greater capacity for change than we think.
Specificity: Specific goals give us a chance of success because we know exactly what we must do to achieve them. This also means we have greater chance of failure, because we know what we must do to fail, too.
Measurability: If you can’t measure it, it’s hard to tell whether you are succeeding or failing. Even if what you are trying to measure is intangible, with no true corresponding widgets, dollars or noses to count, it is possible to measure success. Likert scales are great: Rate what you need to measure on a scale of 1 – 5.
Attainability: Can you do it? “I want to achieve world peace” is noble, but it is not really specific or measurable (in that form), nor individually attainable. Setting a smaller goal you can hit is better than an enormous goal with no chance of success. Nevertheless, set attainable goals one or two steps beyond what you know is possible, to give you a challenge. Then, when you meet the goals, take another step or two.
Relevance: Does this goal matter? If not, why are we doing it? If it does, why? Does it help us achieve a greater purpose, or is it merely an exercise in proving we can do something?
Timeliness: If we aren’t specific about the time frame in which something is supposed to happen, we don’t have a way to declare success or failure. Things will continue to get dragged out. Timeliness will cause us to have to declare an end date by which we measure our specifics. At that point, we can reevaluate our position and re-set goals.
Resolutions alone might not be worth it, but good resolutions can be extremely helpful. What are your goals for this year?