The Trick to Keeping Your Small Business Resolutions in 2017

on December 19, 2016

We all know the routine: We make New Year’s resolutions at the end of each year and, come January 1st, have every intent of following through with them. Then reality sets in. For many business owners, those resolutions fall by the wayside by March — or even sometimes January 2nd.

How can you make your resolutions stick in 2017?

1. Take small steps

Many people sabotage themselves from the get-go just by setting goals that are too broad or grandiose. Instead, try breaking large goals into small ones that are achievable by creating an action plan over the course of a week or a month rather than a full year.

For example, if your goal is to increase business revenue by 10%, aim for increasing it by 1% per month. Then each month, create a list of action steps for how you will achieve that 1% in additional revenue.

Also keep your list short. Rather than trying to accomplish five or 10 resolutions, keep your list to three or less. Only include those that are most important for the year ahead.

2. Get them in writing

Writing down your resolutions, either on paper or a computer, helps you not only think more deeply about them, but studies have shown that it also increases the odds you’ll achieve them.

3. Review them regularly

Keep your list of resolutions in a handy place, such as on your computer or phone. There are many apps available in this department. And set a regular time to review them — such as 9 a.m. every Friday. Continually reviewing your goals will help keep you on track.

4. Have a support network

A psychology professor at Dominican University in California found that 70% of people who sent weekly updates about their progress at meeting pre-specified goals to their friends at least partially achieved those goals, compared with only 35% of people who did not update their friends.

The takeaway? Tell other people about your goals to keep yourself accountable. That might be a good friend, a mentor or another member of a business-networking group such as a local chamber of commerce. You may even learn new strategies to help you reach your goal.

The end of the year is a natural time to contemplate how to run your business more effectively in the year ahead. But in 2017, let’s focus not only on making goals — but also on steps for how to achieve them.