Resolutions & Disillusionment

Adapted for productivity thinking, the Gartner Hype Cycle explains all too well the typical patterns of resolution setting.

New Year's Resolution Cycles

But, how do we get past the trough of disillusionment? Here are a few ideas, but hit reply and tell us what works for you.

  1. Make and keep small commitmentsAfter studying thousands of business leaders, Stephen M. R. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust (read a 4-minute summary) suggests that making and keeping the smallest of commitments is the fundamental starting point to building trust and also to achieving goals.Covey warns against the dangers of inflated expectations. One year, when caught up in the excitement of goal setting, he committed to his family that he wouldn’t drink any sugary drinks for 12 months. That may have been the hardest goal he ever achieved.Our takeaway: Start with achievable goals and give yourself time to reason through the challenges of following through before committing.
  2. Reduce time horizons While some may have built a track record of success setting annual goals, for most of us, a 12-month time horizon is too long. Instead, consider starting with short-term goals like 4- or 12-week goals. Such goals give you a chance to evaluate, and make adjustments while giving you flexibility to handle the unexpected things that come up in life.
  3. Set both transactional and outcome goalsWhile results matter most, the daily, weekly and monthly ‘transactional’ actions we take are required to get outcomes. One without the other will lead to failed commitments. So, plan for ‘transactional’ effort that maps to the outcomes and measure yourself.Use a system like Todo Cloud to set recurring actions and reminders and then make notes in your tasks upon completion.

Good luck with your resolutions.