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It’s January 22nd —
Do you know where your New Year’s Resolutions are?

A startling story in the news last week declared that people have already given up on their resolutions. What? Aren’t we just getting started?  According to a 2019 survey by a social network for athletes (admittedly, a select audience), January 12th is the day folks begin to lose steam in pursuit of their resolutions. Take heart though—not everyone quits that early, and depending on the study, more than the oft-repeated eight percent can see it through to success!

Failure to keep resolutions does seem to be something of an annual national pastime.  More than 150 years ago Mark Twain wrote: “New Year’s Day–Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual…. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.”

Indeed for some, making resolutions is a game played for fun on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, with no intention of keeping them.  January 1 is, after all, just a date on the calendar. Yet the turn of the calendar encourages reflection, review, and—yes—resolution. And that is a good thing, whether personally or professionally.

Life may be what happens while we’re making other plans, but planning matters, even when plans change, as they often will. Part of the plan must be to roll with changes.

G.K. Chesterton said this: “The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul … new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. … Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”

Do Something Effective

It is good to be able to smile at our failures; nevertheless people want to succeed. Leading tips for success in keeping resolutions include reducing the number of resolutions—don’t try to change too many things at once. (As P2P Consultant Judy Bicking and others have put it, “Don’t try to boil the ocean!”) Even three things can overwhelm whether you’re talking about personal habits or professional challenges. Try tackling one thing at a time.

Writing down goals helps according to Dr. Marcelo Campos, lecturer at Harvard Medical School. To achieve your resolution (like achieving anything) takes a bit of work. Campos suggests thinking through five questions: Why do you want to make a change? Can you make a concrete, measurable goal? What’s your plan? Who can support you?  And importantly, how will you celebrate victories?  Rewards for small successes along the way recognize progress, which provides encouragement.

Dr. Carly Moores, nutritionist and lecturer at Flinders University says, “Set … goals, reflect on your progress towards these, acknowledge that changes can be hard, and results won’t happen overnight.”

Perhaps the best-known study on resolutions is the 1988 study on resolutions published in the Journal of Substance Abuse by researchers at the University of Scranton. One of the study’s three authors, John C. Norcross, offers advice on how to beat the odds, and it shares some similarities with Campos’s advice.

Norcross suggests: 1. Set a concrete goal that you believe you can achieve. 2. Don’t worry about an occasional slip-up or “miss.” The key is to plow on. 3. Reward yourself. Some kind of immediate gratification is instrumental in persistence. 4. Change your environment—when you slip, look at what triggered it, and rearrange as necessary to avoid the trigger in the future. 5. Have a buddy, someone to encourage you and hold you accountable. Social support helps you avoid giving up.

A quick reminder on goal setting: make them SMART—Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound.

What’s your resolution for 2020?

If you resolved to finally automate vendor inquiries (or vendor onboarding, or to prepare better for compliance or improve vendor relations), click here to request more information or call (678) 335-5735. You can do it!

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