Turning Resolutions Into Results (Part 1)

Last Updated Dec 30, 2009 8:48 AM EST

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how businesses can better achieve their objectives. I suspect that the success rate in achieving personal objectives is even lower. Many people spend hours in December developing new personal objectives for the New Year, only to give up on their goals within the first few weeks.

In my experience there are five factors that decrease our likelihood of success in achieving our goals:


  1. Having too many goals. You are more likely to achieve success if you have three or fewer objectives. One clear goal is fine; six competing goals and you end up dabbling rather than making a real difference.
  2. Unrealistic initial expectations of success. Developing new skills rarely leads to a steady growth in performance. Instead, any early successes tend to be followed by performance 'plateaus' and irregular improvement jumps. It is critical not to give up just because you're on a plateau.
  3. Limited dissatisfaction with your current performance. Unfortunately, a lack of immediate improvement creates the temptation to give up on the goal and revert back to previous, and known, skills and behaviours. If you haven't spent the time and effort becoming emotionally dissatisfied with your current performance you are more than likely to give into these temptations.
  4. Insufficient focus on action planning. Setting the goal, on its own, means nothing. It is your actions that make the difference. What have you planned to do, specifically, over the next quarter to turn your objectives into reality?
  5. Failing to seek external support. Sometimes you can't make it on your own. Many people view asking for external support as a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is a sign of strength and a demonstration of your commitment to your improvement. In fact it's so important that I will devote an entire post to it in the future.

Which of these five factors are adversely affecting your chances of turning your New Year resolutions into results?

(Pic: Mimar Sinan cc2.0)

  • Stuart Cross

    Stuart Cross is a founder of Morgan Cross Consulting, which helps companies find new ways to drive substantial, profitable growth. His clients include Alliance Boots, Avon and PricewaterhouseCoopers.