Why do resolutions fail?

By on December 30, 2011
Photo © Elena Derevtsova
The majority of New Year’s resolutions fail for the same reason that so many businesses do – because people let their strategy limit their vision.
Here’s a simple example. Jeremy determines what he will do for his vacation based on the fact that he has only 50,000 yen and can’t take more than a week off. This seems very realistic, however it will likely limit Jeremy to futon-surfing around Japan at friend’s houses. If, on the other hand, Jeremy first spends some time thinking about the kind of vacation he really wants to take without any consideration of his current resources, he might identify that his dream vacation would be a month spent cycling around Europe. If Jeremy is focused only on his strategies (i.e. his current available time and money) he has limited options. If he identifies his ideal vision, he can then identify the financial and time resources he needs and create strategies for achieving them. This might mean that he stays in town for a few long weekends to put in some extra hours at work and sets aside a bit of money from each paycheque to finance his trip, but ultimately having his dream vacation will be much more fulfilling than many little futon-surfing compromise vacations.

The same principle applies in business. We were hired by a textile manufacturing client a few years back to help with their annual strategic planning. They had revenues of about $7 million annually and had grown about 12% each year over the last 5 years. Their strategic planning for the coming year was focused on ensuring another 12% growth. We shook things up by asking not only what their company would need to look like to double or triple their revenues in the next three years but also what it would need to look like to be a place that they were excited to
work in.

By the end of the day not only did they have concrete realistic strategies in place to grow the company to $30 million, they were crystal clear on where their current bottlenecks to their growth were and how to address them.  

Many people would argue that keeping your dreams realistic means you more likely to achieve them. Research shows that the opposite tends to be true. The smaller and more realistic the goals, the easier it is to put off working towards them. Big goals with ambitious deadlines spark people to begin taking action immediately and motivate them to keep moving forward consistently over the long term.

In some cases it may take a bit of time to come up with workable strategies for achieving big dreams, but often it doesn’t take extra time – just the ability to harness some extra creativity. The good news is that when the dream you are working towards is truly compelling, you are more likely to persevere until the creative strategic insight occurs and persist long enough to overcome any barriers that might get in the way of discovering and executing these strategies.

As you are setting your goals for 2012, I encourage you to set aside your strategic limitations and allow yourself to imagine what you really want. Remember that when you allow strategy to follow vision – not the other way around – you will amaze yourself and everyone around you with your accomplishments in the coming year!   
Andrea Jacques, founder of Kyosei Consulting International, has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of individuals and organizations worldwide. Five of these years were spent in Japan where the core philosophies of her work on the relationship between passion, performance and profits took shape.  To find out about a limited-time special offer to work personally with her to identify your compelling vision for 2012 and design strategies to achieve it, go to www.kyoseicoaching.com

About Andrea Jacques

Andrea Jacques is the founder of Kyosei Consulting and the author of Wabi-Sabi Wisdom: Inspiration for an Authentic Life (available on Amazon.com). She has spent more than 20 years developing the potential of people and businesses worldwide, five of which were in Japan. A dynamic speaker, coach, and facilitator, her work integrates spiritual insight with top-tier leadership, wellness and sustainability consulting to help individuals and organizations build thriving, purpose-driven cultures where employees know their work truly matters. She can be contacted through her website at www.kyoseiconsulting.com