Skip the New Year’s Resolutions and Make Lasting Change Instead

By Andy Kocemba

I think we’ve all been there.

Over the holiday season, we ate a few too many delicious treats, skipped workouts and indulged ourselves. But suddenly, come January 1, we’re supposedly ready to commit ourselves to lifelong change.

Then, if we’re lucky, we make it a week before we trip up and abandon our resolutions entirely.

I recently read a statistic that 92 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail, making me believe whether it’s in business or personal life, setting New Year’s resolutions is a waste of time. 

Here’s why, and what you should do instead:

All the wrong reasons

Successful people focus on positives. Most New Year’s resolutions, however, are laser-focused on something negative. 

If you are only focusing on negatives, you are bound to get bogged down in the mud. The post-holiday depression can be real, and fixating on the negatives in your life only makes things worse. 

Instead, as you enter the new year, focus on the good in your life and how you can improve upon those areas.

Unreasonable standards

“I’m never going to eat sugar again,” “I’m going to make 50 cold calls each day,” and so on. You know these goals are destined to fail. Innocent things like meals out, sick days and vacations can easily derail these resolutions.

Incremental change is the key. This reasonable approach provides the building blocks to actual habit-forming change. Corporate board retreats and planning meetings with your physical trainer, not resolutions, can lead to real growth.   

Faulty timeline

Don’t get me wrong, a new year provides us with a great opportunity to plan and set goals — but only while focused on the positive. If you are focusing on negatives and your goal is to make “this year” different, you are destined to fail. Biting off a yearlong chunk of anything is not a good plan. 

In business, focus on one quarter at a time. Same with health and fitness. A more realistic timeline is a key to positive change.  

So, there it is. I give you permission not to make any New Year’s resolutions — and have a great 2018.  

Andy Kocemba is president and co-owner of Calhoun Cos., a top business brokerage firm in the Upper Midwest. Calhoun Cos. has been connecting buyers and sellers since 1908, working with small- to medium-sized businesses across all industries. A graduate from Bethel University, Kocemba joined Calhoun Cos. in 2003 as a sales agent before buying the business in 2011. He is a member of the International Business Brokers Association, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and Better Business Bureau.