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Why do New Year resolutions always fail?

Dr. Ivan Zak Jan 4, 2017 1:38:52 PM Insider

Another year, another checklist of things that did not happen since last year:

  • Lose weight
  • Quit smoking
  • Find a better job
  • Change the culture of the hospital

Gifts 001.jpg

Sound familiar?

Some companies monetize our failure

There are whole industries out there that benefit from our failure to complete these goals.

I looked around the gym just before Christmas – there were 3-4 people at most. Wait until January when all the “determined athletes” show up with their new gear. By spring break they are all gone again, they then try to cancel the gym membership by August... to then renew it again in January of the next year.

In the book “FREE: The Future of Radical Price” the author gives an interesting example of the gym in Europe that offers 100% free membership, as long as you show up three times each week. Otherwise, you pay a membership fee. Obviously, they calculated how many people fail.

Why do we fail?

In Smart Flow, we use a project management software called 'Asana'. This tool helps us to create our own goal lists, similar to your New Years resolutions. The difference is: every time we assign a task to someone we determine the due date and set a reminder. Otherwise, the task would sit on that list forever and would be at “the bottom of the to do list”.

This was when I realized that with the “New Year resolutions” we create a STARTING date January 1st, but not a DUE DATE!

In Smart Flow, when we want to make sure that we have happy customers - we do not set a goal to “make customers happy”, we set the goal: call ten customers per day and engage in conversation about their Smart Flow usage.

By doing so, we measure how many people are using a particular feature and whether we should send more information or to hold a free weekly webinar on this functionality.

This gives us an opportunity to measure our customer satisfaction.

My experiment 

This year I tried something different: I set my New Year resolutions to be actually resolved before Jan 1st.

Instead of traditionally sitting on the couch after a huge meal on New Years eve and talk about how nice it would be to lose weight in the next year I sat down with my check list and crossed off:

  • Lose 10lbs before Xmas - ✔️ Done
  • Build a 10-minute response support team - ✔️ Done
  • Build Inbound platform - ✔️ Done
  • Hire a head of Marketing - ✔️ Done

This way it became a gratitude list of what I ACTUALLY accomplished.

Now I can feast on turkey, but feel much better about myself!


What is your list of things “to do” what is the "due date" and how do you “measure the success”?


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