Every year I can count on one thing: New Year’s resolutions drive sales of GoalMind™, our goal planning software. Sales spike sharply from mid-December through mid-January. While interest in our website, goal setting how to, coaching and business mentoring grows year over year, and it’s fairly consistent and “smooth” from a statistical point-of-view, the same is NOT true during the annual “New Year’s Resolution” mania.
From December 20th of one year and on through January 17th of the next – people get the goal setting bug. They get convicted. Motivated to change their lives. They paint a “new me” in their mind’s eye, determine they’re really going to do it this time. They do a little research on “New Year’s Resolutions”, “goal setting”, “goals”, “objectives”, “personal improvement”, “personal growth”, “goal setting how to”, “goal planning software” or any of hundreds of other searches and some of them go on to buy goal planning software…. Shortly thereafter (I suspect) they put it on their hard drive in their “New Year’s Resolution” or “Self-Improvement Stuff” folder and forget about it until about the same time next year.
“Why?” you may ask yourself.
Whether it’s the liquor, family joy or disappointment, the holiday spirit, a judgmental glance in the mirror, the natural result of healthy introspection, or something else – It all falls into what I call the “New Year’s Resolutions” syndrome.
If a goal gets made; it’s quickly forgotten and seldom realized.
Another year gone and a new one coming drives interest in goals and goal planning software. It’s our peak selling season. And while I’m grateful for the revenue – I’m much more interested in helping people set the goals and stay the course to their completion. If, that is, the goals are Godly ones set within a framework of genuine core values, a sense of high mission and hig purpose. I genuinely wish sales were spread evenly throughout the year. Not for selfish reasons, rather because I see a sad pattern: Not always, but too often – people who buy GoalMind™ around the new year too seem to think the software will somehow magically produce different results in their lives all by itself. The purchase is just another transaction at the quick fix store…. Not surprisingly, folks who buy at other times of the year, often make real progress on goals and in life. Many become personal friends.
The folks who purchase GoalMind™, try it for a while and begin asking (me and themselves) lots of questions seem more willing to think about the why behind their goals. They tend to do more with GoalMind™ and experience measurably greater goal achievement success than “peak” season buyers. For these people who “get it” – somewhere along the way – our relationship changes. We stop being a vendor or consultant, and become a partners in success.
Therein lies the double win: You get closer to your purposes and I get closer to mine.
If it weren’t for economic reality and the fact I know how much GoalMind, properly used, can do for people – I’d seriously consider halting sales of the tool during the Christmas, Chanukah and New Year seasons.
Somewhere in history, the notion of setting goals and goal planning at the beginning of a new year struck popular fancy. Ever since, people equate “New Year’s Resolutions” with effective goals. Then when things don’t change, resolutions don’t happen (again) – goal setting becomes an exercise in futility and gets associated with frustration and failure.
Why set a New Year’s Resolution (goal) if you’re just going to fail?
All high achievers and most experienced goal planners know better. They understand – goals ≠ New Year’s resolutions. Commitments and personal promises get done.
People typically make New Year’s resolutions on the spur of the moment. They rarely write them down, make them for the wrong reasons and seldom plan their accomplishment. More often than not my students tell me they (used to) assign new year’s resolutions into the “should do” group instead of the “want to”, “will do” and “can do” categories. They learn that goals – at least effective goals – rarely get accomplished when “should do” is all that’s going for them. Doable goals require vision, passion, commitment, alignment, critical thinking, planning, deadlines, milestones, challenges, related task lists and a host of other things to help ensure they get accomplished. The term “should do” as one’s reason for resolve much tells me all I need to know about that New Year’s resolution.
It ain’t gonna happen.
If you really want to make something happen – you have to want it. it belongs on your “want to”, “can do”, “will do” and “I promise my self I will” lists.
When I mentor people through their personal goal setting process, I often find they’ve never thought deeply about what it takes to tackle a goal from start to finish. Unsuccessful goal setters rarely precede the goal setting and goal planning processes by asking and answering important questions like, “Why am I here?”, “What’s my purpose in life?”, “What are my most important values?”, “What are my strengths?”, “Skills”, “Weaknesses” and so on…. In fact, most beginners and some reasonably accomplished (lucky) goal achievers pluck their goals out of thin air in a moment of passion or guilt. They think effective goal setting can happen outside their core values, life’s purposes and sense of mission. Worse yet, I find more and more people who buy into the half-truths of “The Secret” and the oversimplified principle of “the law of attraction. While you may certainly stumble your way to success with simple goals by “attracting results to yourself” or selling yourself on the belief that “someday I’ll” is an effective deadline – Counting on just those notions is downright nuts for gnarly goals.
If I seem to be picking on you, I apologize. I don’t mean to. I’m pointing at the man in the mirror. I started my personal goal planning journey with some New Year’s resolutions. While I don’t recall many of them, I certainly recall feeling like a failure and a bumb for all those years until I figured out the keys to setting and achieving worthwhile goals.
Over the years, I’ve borrowed and developed a list of questions I now use to help me (and anyone else who’s interested) distinguish between a New Year’s resolution (Also known as “wish”, “good intention”, “woulda, coulda, shoulda”, “Maybe Isle” or “Someday Isle”) and a real goal. The list started simply enough with “SMART” goals and grew over the last thirty years to twenty-seven questions at last count. I call it the “acid test“. It’s definitely overkill for simple and even many intermediate goals, but it’s saved me countless days, weeks, months and years of frustration tackling “goals” that were really wishes on one end of a spectrum – terrible ideas born of Satan on the other extreme. As I’ve used the “acid test” over the years, I appreciate these questions more and more – not just for what they helped me accomplish, but for what they helped me avoid.
So… If you find this note while you’re searching for “goals”, “new year’s resolutions”, “set goal”, “goal objectives”, “goal setting help”, “goal setting how to” or “goal planning software” please give me a call. I’ll gladly share the “acid test” with you simply for the asking. It’s been a gift to me and I’d love to pass it along. If there’s enough interest, I may post it on our website. I like helping people get past talking about things and into getting them done.
OBTW – If you think you have a Kingdom purpose – plan on spending a little more time on the call. That’s one of my hot buttons.