new year's resolutions

By Rieva Lesonsky

The New Year is here — and if you haven’t yet made any New Year’s resolutions related to your business, it’s not too late. (I forgive you for spending the weekend after New Year’s in your pajamas.) In fact, any time of year is the right time to make changes that will benefit your business. But this time of year, it’s often easier because change and possibility are naturally in the air.

However, making changes is easier said than done. Here are 6 tips for making your New Year’s resolutions stick.

  1. Be realistic. You have more chance of attaining resolutions that are within the realm of actual possibility. If you never, ever fit in exercise at all during the work day, resolving to take a 20-minute walk in the morning or at the end of the day is more likely to succeed than resolving to train for a marathon that takes place in three months. Downsizing your resolutions is better than not doing them at all.
  1. Set limits. It’s easy to think of a dozen things we’d like to do differently in the coming year. However, if you make too many resolutions, you’ll have trouble simply keeping track of them, let alone accomplishing them. Weed down your resolutions to a manageable number — three is a good measure for most of us, but even just one is fine, too.
  1. Give yourself a head start. Make it easier to attain your resolutions by putting systems in place to help you succeed. For example, if one of your resolutions is to better manage your business finances this year, and you’re still keeping your books on paper, give yourself the tools you need by choosing and using accounting software. Want to be more productive? A faster computer, a new smart phone or simply downloading some productivity apps could make it easier.
  1. Practice makes perfect. You’ve probably heard it said that it takes 21 days for a new habit to stick. If you’re feeling discouraged about following your resolutions, instead of giving up, try just giving it 21 days. By that time, your new behavior may have truly become a habit. If not, decide whether you should revise your resolution, eliminate it or replace it with another one. (After all, January 1 isn’t the only day of the year when you can make a resolution to change your ways.)
  1. Enlist others. As the boss, if you want to transform something about the way your business runs, getting your employees on board greatly increases the chances that change will actually happen. Plus, when everyone else at your company is doing something differently, you have no excuse to go back to your old ways. Involve your employees in business-related resolutions whenever it makes sense to do so. You can even ask them for ideas about how to achieve these resolutions, or encourage every employee to make one work-related resolution for themselves. If you are all trying to accomplish a goal at the same time, you’ll be more motivated.
  1. Reward yourself. Messed up a resolution? Don’t beat yourself up about it. Examine what went wrong and why, then get back up on the horse. It’s too easy to throw in the towel after backsliding. What’s harder — but also more rewarding — is to keep on keepin’ on.