How New Year’s Resolutions Can Keep You From Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

IMG_8463-91-smIt’s mid-January, how are you doing with your New Year’s Resolutions? Are you still feeling the flush of optimism from New Year’s Eve?

Statistically 76% of you made it through week one, but only 71% of you will make it past this week. To help keep you from falling off that list here are some things to think about.
Remember you’re already ahead of the curve! You’re 10 times more likely to keep those goals if you actually make the resolution in the first place. Keep your momentum and you’re in a good position to keep that resolution. Each day you keep with the program the easier it becomes to stay with it from a brain science perspective. Keep reminding yourself about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow… positive reinforcement really does work, especially this early in the process.
If you’re starting to feel the pull to drop your resolution already then try re-evaluating the resolutions you made. Maybe the problem isn’t that you can’t keep resolutions. It’s quite possible you are focusing on the wrong area, or taking the “hard road” to get to your destination. Many times will power isn’t enough by itself to get you to your goal. Trying to force yourself to achieve something without a solid, reliable plan can lead to giving up too soon.
Often the problem is the number of things you are trying to achieve. Setting too many resolutions at once, or having too many goals you’re trying to work towards can dilute your energy and prevent you from succeeding.  Take a hard look at the goals you set and ask yourself the following question: “If I could only choose one of these  goals, which would it be?” If there is one that stands above the rest then perhaps you would be better off just working on that one resolution. It’s easy to lose sight of how reality will impact your goals when you originally set them. Our enthusiasm makes us overly optimistic. Now is a great time to pare down your list to the core changes you want to make, or the top goal you want to achieve this year. That’s not defeat, that’s flexibility.
If you haven’t set a resolution for the year yet, don’t worry. It’s not too late to make your resolution now. It’s still January so technically you can tell anyone who raises an eyebrow that you’re just a thoughtful starter. Then write your resolution down and create a plan. If you need some help you can always use my “How to Finally Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions” online course as a resource. But even if you don’t get my help, the only way you move forward is to stretch yourself and try new things. So go ahead, be bold and make a resolution to improve or change something this year. Big or small, making a goal and achieving it can have lots of positive impact on your life.
Let me know what you think of this post. Was it useful? I really want to know!

Risk is Your Friend

Lion TamerHere’s the thing about running a business. You’re going to be wrong most of the time. My experience is that somewhere between 50-80% of the decisions you make won’t work out like you think they will. I don’t have scientific backing for that statement… but my experience working in and running businesses make me comfortable throwing it out there. Regardless of the numbers, you will constantly be surprised by what happens. What you thought was going to be brilliant will end up not being brilliant. Sometimes you’ll end up being dead wrong.

At first this may sound like a pessimistic statement. However, I find that the one thing successful business owners all learn is that you can’t eliminate that risk. You can only manage it. Starting a business is inherently risky. So the best you can do is to make the best decision you know how with the information you have at the time. The good news is that can be enough to keep your business successful.

The key is to stay focused and continue taking action. While taking any action is better than doing nothing, intentional action is your golden ticket. I see many businesses flailing around and trying anything that looks like it might bring in more customers. I know that feeling, I’ve experienced it first hand. The feeling that you don’t know what to do to get customers in the door can throw you into a panic state. That’s when anything can look like a life preserver.

It’s important to resist just trying anything though. One of the main reasons is that if you are not sure why you are doing what you’re doing, you will not be able to figure out how to replicate it if it works. You need to be able to track what you’re doing so you can evaluate what works and what doesn’t. If you try something and it works, you need to be able to do it again. That can help you gain back a feeling of control too. So you want to have a good reason for trying something new, even if it feels risky at first.

This is the concept behind A/B testing in on-line marketing. This is a common practice that entails creating two versions of a web page with some sort of call to action and tracking which works better. A common pattern is to send 50% of the visitors to page A and 50% of the visitors to page B. Then you track the traffic and see which page performs better. Then to refine performance even more the ‘winning’ page is then altered slightly and replaces the losing page in the test. If page B does better initially the original A page is dropped and a modified version of page A is then tested. In this manner web marketers can determine fairly quickly what colors, elements, wording and images get the best response.

You can do similar things in other aspects of your business. All it takes is some courage to try something different and a way to track results. Seth Godin often talks about the idea of risk in today’s business world. The idea that playing is safe is actually the most risky thing you can do hits this nail right on the head. You can try things. Innovate small parts of your process, or try communicating a different way with your clients. Then track the results and see what happens. If it creates a positive reaction do it some more. If it doesn’t then don’t. But either way track what happened. This will help you make decisions about what to do, and what might work, in the future. This also has the advantage of keeping you from trying too many things at once… which can prevent you from evaluating the results effectively.

Being wrong and taking risks are part of being an entrepreneur. So embrace those ideas. Make them work for you. Learn new skills that stretch your comfort zone and help you take new risks. Discover what other people are doing and try something that you think might work for you. Don’t just try anything… give it some thought. Ask yourself how it might affect your business before you jump, certainly. But don’t stop there. Embrace the risk and make it your friend. It just might enable you to find the four leaf clover that opens up your market like never before.

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