Three Reasons Leaders Should Not Set New Year’s Resolutions

Setting specific, measurable goals, then developing a plan to achieve those goals trumps new years resolutions every time.  Read on for three more reasons top leaders don’t set new year’s resolutions.


  1. Leaders who are self-aware know that continuous improvement is required year round.  When changes must be made, waiting for an arbitrary date on the calendar to adjust behavior makes no sense.  Instead leaders should always look inward at bad habits or ineffective behaviors that need to change now – whenever now is.  This inward-looking self-awareness can then help the leader to look outwardly at others to discover what new behaviors should replace the bad habits for more effective relationships.  After all developing relationships truly is the most valuable skill of a leader.
  2. Leaders know a goal is reached only if strategy is well executed.  Simply stating a goal such as “I want to be more active next year” will not make it happen.  Without the essence of a personal strategic plan with clear objectives and measurable, attainable targets, there is little reason to expect the goal will be achieved.  Instead leaders should use their strategic planning skills to implement resolutions – just as business or organizational goals would be achieved.  So, for the goal to be more active next year, a strategy might be to walk more.  An objective to reach an average of 5,000 steps per day within 90-days, 10,000 steps per day within 120-days, and 12,000 steps per day by the end of the calendar year is measurable and should be attainable.  The implementation plan could include using a pedometer each day to measure steps, recording the steps before going to bed each night, and reviewing the average steps per day at the end of each week.   Setting New Year’s resolutions is rarely successful, but developing a strategic plan that is clear and able to be implemented can lead to success.
  3. The past tends to repeat itself, and leaders are human beings with their preferred behavioral patterns good and bad.  In order to succeed changes must be sustainable and rewarding. Otherwise there is no reason to give up those preferred behavior patterns for the new ways of acting.  My advice for those leaders who want sustainable and long-lasting change is to work on only one personal change at a time.  Make small, manageable adjustments, replace bad habits with a small change that can be improved upon little-by-little.  Use the information from item 1 about self-awareness to choose what to change, put together a personal strategic plan such as the example in item 2 that is truly achievable.  Execute that plan to make sustainable change, instead of setting a New Year’s resolution that will fade shortly after they are resolved.