Why New Year’s Resolutions can Benefit your Business, and How to Actually Maintain Them:

The arrival of a new year always has great significance- it is a symbol of great things yet to come, but most of all, change. Shortly after New Year’s, there always appears the infamous “resolutions”; like the decision to spend at least an hour in the gym a day, the choice to stop bingeing at your favorite fast food restaurant... or a faithful attempt to never drink or smoke again. We all unfortunately know that no matter how gung-ho and strong willed the resolution may be at the beginning, they usually do not last to the end of the year. Most of the time, even the most resolute attempts may die out after the first quarter. Despite the odds being against success, a well-planned out and enforced New Year’s resolution may be just what is needed to add a few extra hours to your day, increase business, or better serve your clients.

How do New Year’s resolutions apply to your business? What resolutions can be implemented to help in your daily business activities, or even to grow? One of the most common examples for business owners is the mission to increase productivity during the work day. We are all given the same 24 hours- how we spend it is purely up to us. During the day we are overloaded with information and distractions, not all of it beneficial. Social media is one of the largest causes of disruption, despite it being addicting and fun. Keep your resolutions simple, such as limiting your time on Facebook, or the number of Tweets per day. Keep in mind that although your social media posts may be business related, ask yourself; is it taking time away from your priorities, such as that project for one of your top clients? Always make sure that those lesser important activities really do stay on the lower rungs of the ladder.

On the topic of priorities, is there a resolution that can assist in achieving your broader business goals? One great mistake is in the failure to plan effectively. Remedy this by creating a plan to counter problems, and follow up with your plan on a monthly or quarterly basis.  If you often find you are spending more than you should for the purchase of supplies, create a budget and shop around until your purchases will coincide with your budget. If you’ve had trouble in the past managing your cash flow, make it your resolution to start a monthly update, and future projection estimate. How closely can you land to your projections? Most problems can be resolved through planning, but you have to ensure you STICK to your plan and its follow-ups.

As stated in the introduction, the Achilles Heel of resolutions is motivation. They are only effective when kept and maintained. Without enforcement, they will quickly be forgotten. If you are taking the step to make a resolution, then it must be important to you. It is well known that you will be more successful in obtaining your goals if you write them down. People who write down their goals are 40% likely to achieve those goals - those who don't write them down are only 4% likely to succeed. Your goals should be challenging but attainable. If you achieve every goal, then you are not setting yourself up for personal growth; if you achieve none of your goals, then you weren't serious in your goal planning to start with.

Break your goals down into categories: Financial, Business or Career, Physical, Intellectual, and Personal. Set no more than 3 goals in each category in order of importance. Make your goals measurable. For instance, if one of your financial goals is to fully fund your IRA in 2016, Then the entire year's goal will be $5,500 ($6,500 if you are over 50). This equates to $458 or $541 per month depending on your age. At the end of each month or quarter you can measure if you are on track and make adjustments which will result in a higher likelihood of goal achievement than a mere year-end review. As you achieve a goal write ACCOMPLISHED by that goal. At the end of the year do a review - if you achieved 40% or more, then you have done very well. Keep your notes from year to year and you will be amazed - first at what was important to you and second at your progress. Upon review of my goals from last year, I found that I had achieved exactly 50% - meeting 100% of my goals in one area but 0% in another. I have high confidence in achieving some pretty challenging goals in 2016 while obviously I need to give more attention to certain areas of my life this year.

Common Sense Business Solutions has been working to help others set goals and served as an accountability partner to those goals for over 20 years. We serve small and medium sized companies in Tampa Bay and beyond. Visit csbspro.com for more information.