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When Your Resolutions Crash and Burn

I have a friend who runs a fitness center.  He told me that ever year their membership skyrockets in January and like clockwork, his business is packed most of the day in the weeks following New Years.

You probably know what is coming next – by the end of January, the attendance is right back to pre-holiday levels and most folks are wishing they had that membership money back for chocolate.  This is an old story that dates back to as long as we have been setting goals, making resolutions, and trying to use the new year as a jumping off point to change our lackluster ways.

So now here we are.  It is the end of January and you’ve found that your list of 862 things that you wanted to improve about yourself is not progressing the way you wanted.  February is fast approaching and you are no more organized, slim, romantic, or customer focused than you were during Thanksgiving.

So how do you get the train back on the tracks and why does it even matter?

It matters because goals and “resolutions” drive us – they force us to think about having a future better than our current reality and they push us to push ourselves.  When we have goals that inspire us to higher levels of execution, it makes us better employees and leaders – and our Guests will enjoy the benefit of our accomplishments.

So if you have fallen off the wagon a bit and need to revitalize those “resolutions,” give these tactics a try:

Try a Holistic Approach: Let’s start by noting that you probably have goals that are business oriented and those that are personally oriented.  You might want to be on time with your work and at the same time find a way to make it home for dinner with your wife.  It is a pretty common thing to silo off your goals between business, pleasure, home, fun, work, etc.

Try thinking of goals as goals – agnostic of work or home.  This approach will allow you to focus on what is most important to you overall, and likely this will benefit all areas of your life.  Being on time, showing appreciation, and listening well are all examples of behaviors that make us better in all facets of our lives.

Start With Organization: Most folks complain they just don’t have enough time.  This is a problem easily rectified by prioritizing what is most important and using time more wisely.  There are so many fake distractions that pretend to be real work or accomplishment that suck time from our days – and this is why time management is the best place to start.  Find a system that works for you and put it in place first.

Don’t try to do anything else until you get control of your desk, calendar, and inbox.

I can tell you that without Outlook for my calendar and OneNote for my tasks/notes, I’d be lost.

Focus on Behaviors, not Resolutions Resolutions and goals can be these big “things” that seem daunting and beg to be put off.  Instead think about what behaviors might drive the results you seek, and you’ll find yourself on the journey to success.  If your time slips away, can you cut an hour of television out of your schedule, check email at targeted times, or perhaps only check social media a few times a day instead of, you know, always?  Whether its being a better listener, no food through the drive through, or daily huddles with your team, our actions lead to results.

Set Goals in Stages You can’t solve things all at once – some goals or behaviors might take time to accomplish.  That’s okay.  You might focus on holding hands more often with your husband, not interrupting people, or cutting back on your TV everyday.  There is nothing worse for your confidence than fooling yourself into thinking that you can fix or change something overnight.  If it were that easy, why did you wait until New Years?

Don’t Set Too Many Goals Just as bad as wanting things too quickly is wanting too many things.  You can’t solve your Customer interface, manage your time better, spend more time on your golf game, paint the house, and improve operating profits all in the same week.  Prioritize the behaviors you want to change, implement the changes, and then move on to what is next.  But remember, it can take between 60-90 days to modify behaviors or habits, and that means you have to be sure you have truly ingrained these new behaviors into your life before you move on to what is next.

Enjoy the Ride Getting there is half the fun, so take a moment to enjoy the changes you are implementing.  As you work toward being a better listener, take time to really enjoy what folks are saying.  While you are on the path of spending more time with your Customers, appreciate the connections you are making.

When we don’t take time to enjoy the moment, and think only of what was and what will be, it give us zero chance to appreciate our daily wins.

There is joy in enjoying the meal, not just anticipating the movie that comes next or worrying about the hangover the next morning.

Take a Moment to Day Dream What I mean here to take a moment to think about what success looks like.  It is easy to see goals as these things in the future, but when we take a moment to consider the benefits and really see what winning looks like, it can help motivate us to success.  Professional athletes have been using this idea for decades to improve performance – mostly because the mind doesn’t see the difference between thinking about your golf swing, bowling approach, or batting stance and actually doing it.  So find a moment of peace to think about your goals and what it will feel like to achieve them.

This is all by way of saying that change – any real change worth having – can’t be achieved overnight.  There is no specific power in the New Years Resolution other than to help us dial in what we want most.

But remember that you can set a goal any day – not just New Years Day.  So if you find that you have bitten off more than you could chew or that you picked terrible goals, that’s okay.

Today is a perfectly good day to start over – to plot a course of behaviors that will lead you to your destination.

Have fun with it.  Don’t take yourself so seriously.

And remember to treat every Guest like a cherished friend.


Tony Johnson

Customer Experience Leader

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