Why is it so hard to keep New Years’ resolutions? You start out with good intentions, but soon discover that good intentions are not enough.

Inevitably, most of us fail to keep our resolutions. Why? Because resolutions don’t work.

Hope, but no plan

The start of a new year seems like a good time to make resolutions. Like many people, you resolve to make changes in your personal and professional life such as lose weight, exercise or increase the number of your daily prospecting calls.

Even if you weren’t doing any of these things prior to the new year, you somehow think that things will be different come January 1. By the end of February, however, you find yourself falling back into old habits and give up.

The reason is simple.

You’re set up for failure when you try to do too much too soon. Resolutions are unsustainable when you lack the ability and support necessary to uphold those changes. A progressive plan, support and encouragement is what you need to succeed.

You may want to start each day making 10 prospecting calls. Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible for most people to go from making no prospecting calls to making 10 calls a day.

Instead, set yourself up for success by breaking your resolution into manageable pieces. Plan to get up early to make prospecting calls one day a week. After a month or so, increase to two days a week and so on. Eventually, you’ll find that you’ve kept your resolution.

You may stumble along the way.

Most of us aren’t aware of the deep-seated beliefs that can get in our way. Our past failures cloud our judgement and discourage us. They create an enormous force field that causes us to resist change in many aspects of our lives. In this way, we protect ourselves from future disappointment.

There is hope however. You must accept the fact that a change in behavior will not be easy and prepare a plan which will support you through the rough patches.

Your support plan

Seeking support, you may talk a co-worker into going along with one of your resolutions. For example, you may persuade them to meet you every morning at the office to make prospecting calls.

Unfortunately, your co-worker probably struggles with the same behaviors as you. As a result, instead of two co-workers supporting each other, your resolution ends up becoming more a case of the “blind leading the blind”.

A better choice for support is a coach or mentor who excels in the behavior that you’re trying to change. “Hitch your wagon to a star” as the saying goes. Find someone who has the behavior that you want to emulate and ask (or hire) them to mentor you.

Resolve to start the new year right

Be realistic and resourceful about change and you’ll be set for success in your personal and professional life. Even better, learn why you should be setting goals instead of making resolutions. But, that’s the topic for the next blog!

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