Career Goals

How To Break The Failed Resolutions Cycle


“Any New Year’s resolutions you’re keeping in mind for this year?” John laughed and replied, “No way. I gave up on those long ago. They never happen for me.”

He is not alone in this thinking. So many of us scribble out lofty ideas in maniacal hyper-ambition on the first of January for many years in a row. After a while, we start to notice a pattern. Every year, we scrawl the same goals on brightly colored sticky notes, and every year we are not a tiny inch closer to those results than the year before, no matter what motivational methods we try. And so we sigh and come to accept that we are simply lazy, unmotivated individuals. Or are we? Perhaps we simply need to rearrange our thinking.

Forget January 1st

For starters, let’s banish this idea that the start of a new year must bow with the weight of grandiose resolutions. There is nothing magical about hanging up a new calendar. Years are simply part of a man-made system of marking time, but time is always present, and any day of any month of any year is a good day for striving for personal growth and development. Throw away the idea that a magical clean slate is only available on the first of every year. It is yours for the taking any time you want it.

Make Sure Your Goals Are SMART

Ambiguous goals also play a big part in our failure to cross off those resolutions. We dream up fluffy ideals that feel easily achievable in those adrenalin filled moments, but just like fluff, those ideals are mostly empty air. Without something to really sink our teeth into, we never get the real work identified and completed. Success requires SMART goals.

Specific- “Learn leadership skills.” “Make a greater profit.” “Become an entrepreneur.” These are great starts, but lack specificity. What do you mean by “leadership skills”? What will equate to leadership skills? What particular attributes and abilities make up a leader? What do you mean by “greater profit”? Greater than what? Are you talking gross or profit margin? What do you mean by “become an entrepreneur”?  What sort of income-producing activity do you want to begin? Be smart and get specific.

Measurable-  You need to be able to measure your progress as you go along. Remember, as kids, using those cute little sticker charts? We excitedly added stickers each time we performed a chore or other task until the chart was full and we received our reward. This practice was a simplified method of making a goal measurable. It quantified our end result into specific steps. This is a measurable goal. Think numbers. Think time. Think objectives. Be smart and make it measurable.

Attainable- So your goal is now specific with measurable milestones, but is it attainable? Can you legitimately accomplish this goal? You want your effort to stretch you – too easy and it wouldn’t be a goal – but you also want it to be within your ability to reach it. I generally recommend you increase what you think you can easily do by about 20%. In other words, make the 80% mark doable, but the 100% mark more challenging. This stretches and grows you into the professional that you want to be. Be smart and make it attainable.

Relevant- Even if your goal is attainable, you need to make sure it fits into your life. Ask yourself, "How do these career goals align with my long-term vision?" If you can’t find a connection, dig deeper to see what you can unearth. When family and friends gather around your coffin, how do you want them to remember you? Do your goals align with that vision? If not, refine them or scratch them. Be smart and make it relevant.

Time Specific- Many of us humans tend to wait until the last minute to accomplish a task. If there is no “last minute”, we will never do it. If the deadline is too far away, we tend to put it off and then forget about it or, at the least, lose our “want to”. As you break your goals down into measurable milestones, assign each of them a date or timeframe to aim at. Be smart and make it time specific.

Know Yourself

Above all else, know who you are. I don’t mean take some sort of personality test. I mean take time to consider your biology.

We all know that some people are genetically prone to a slim profile while others find weight maintenance a nearly impossible chore. This is not some cruel joke of fate. It is due to our coded DNA, which governs our body’s fat retention, and to our neural pathways, which govern our behaviors. But it is not just our metabolism that is governed by our DNA and neural pathways. The truth is we ARE our biology.

In order to ensure that our goals are relevant and attainable for us, we need to truly know ourselves. Just because Entrepreneur Bob was able to go from written business plan to a successful high-profit business in a significantly short amount of time does not mean that you can as well. True, there are the variables of business and industry. But he is also a different person. Perhaps his genetic makeup allows his body and brain to function on very little sleep. Perhaps from birth, he has been reinforcing neural pathways that result in highly motivated behaviors.

You have to consider what your behavior patterns are and realize that if you need to change them in order to meet your goals, you need to factor in the time and effort it will take to change those behaviors. You will also need to consider whether your genetically dictated physical needs allow you to reach your goals in the time you’ve given, or even whether it’s a goal to pursue at all.

For more on how our DNA and neural pathways dictate behavior, check out these articles: 

Studying Personality Using Behavioral Genetics

Neural Pathways: How They Affect Our Actions and Decisions

In closing, I would like to quote the hot mess, Charlene. “Everybody’s like ‘be yourself’, but on the new year it’s like ‘be another person’. If you didn’t like me last year, you won’t like me this year.”

Get Your Project Greenlighted


So you have a bright idea that would benefit your company, but how do you convince the executives to give you the go ahead? It can seem daunting, but following these six steps could get you the green light.


1.    Visualize Your Success

To some, this may look like a new age meditation practice but consider for a moment how often we naturally imagine failure without even giving it a second thought. We imagine the entire conference room laughing at us and tell ourselves that our ideas will never work. These thoughts make us feel timid and incompetent. When we visualize our greatest fears, we sabotage our success.

However, what if we visualized our victory? What if we imagined a round of applause and a standing ovation? We would spur in ourselves a confidence that oozes into our presentation. In a study done by TD Bank, they found advancement was higher for those who have a firm vision of their success and keep their eyes on it through their endeavors, especially those who collected and displayed images that represented the fulfillment of their goals.

2.    Know Your Audience

Have you ever tried to persuade a two-year-old to pick up their toys? It probably consisted of fun music, games, or a treat. If you tried the same tactic on a teen, they would roll their eyes and call you insane. That is because the toddler views the music, games, and jelly beans as a beneficial side effect. The teen, however, will never in his/her life, consider such silliness as useful to his/her world.

In the same way, you must take into account to whom you are presenting your project idea. Are they collaborating co-workers or elite executives? Share holders or senior management? How will your project benefit them? Will it increase productivity, revenue, or profit margins? Will it decrease expenses or labor? Make sure you spend a considerable amount of time focusing on the “why” during your presentation. Ultimately, they will want to know what’s in it for them.

3.    Be Compelling

It is not enough to only mention the advantages of your project as if it were an afterthought. You have got to present it with compelling evidence and numbers. Chart out the profit increase or the labor decrease. Let them see with their own eyes and process with their minds the benefits of adopting your project.

Use questions that intrigue, like “Did you know that improving the NPS score of your products or services by 5 points can lead to 150% more revenue? Given that, this project will pay for itself in a matter of 6 months.” Be ready to share your assumptions that lead to this claim or research you have investigated that shows this to be true.

4.    Use Your Strengths

Let’s face it. There’s just some things that you are good at and some things you are not. Find your strengths, using a strength survey such as StrengthsFinder 2.0, and capitalize on them. Perhaps your top strength is strategic thinking. Use these your natural super powers to plan and plot your entire presentation sequentially. If your strength results label you a learner, then do what you do best. Sit your rump down and research. Think ahead to the questions your audience may ask and find those answers, so you are prepared with a quick and accurate reply. Whatever your top strengths, use them to your advantage and watch your confidence grow.

5.    Follow Up

Once you have presented your project and addressed all spoken concerns, walk away with your head held high, because you capitalized on your natural assets to deliver a confident presentation catered to your audience. Allow them the appropriate amount of time to consider it. If you do not hear anything within that time, do not shrug it off and decide that they hated it. Contact the member of the group who is responsible for reporting a decision to you and ask for an update.

6.    Keep At It

If the answer comes back as a “no,” do not take it personally. Find out why the project was denied and reevaluate. What can you do to change your idea or evolve your growth? If the project is important to you, start over and make the necessary modifications. Then go back at it. Present your better project with greater confidence and more organization than before.

While this formula does not guarantee you a green light, it will produce a higher success rate, and you will feel great in the process. For further ideas on how to unleash your natural strengths and build a significant and meaningful career, schedule your 30-minute call today.