Do you know the problem with New Year’s resolutions?
They’re so exciting and new at the beginning of the year. But according to research from the University of Scranton, by the end of February only about 8% of the people who made resolutions are still working on them and will see them through to completion.
Because of this, resolutions have become laughable, fodder for comedians. Resolutions carry with them a fair share of eye rolls whereas the term “goals” sounds a lot more convincing from a business perspective. But since it’s the beginning of the year, let’s talk about what we might do as chamber pros to ensure we stick to our resolutions/meet our goals.
Why Resolve to Do Anything?
According to information from YouGovAmerica, about 20% of the US population makes New Year’s resolutions. The younger the person, the more optimistic they are about their ability to see them through and accomplish what they intended. The most popular resolutions (nearly 75%) are geared toward self-improvement and getting healthier while 16% of people resolve to meet some sort of career or job-oriented goals.
A resolution is the equivalent of telling someone you love them on Valentine’s Day or giving thanks on Thanksgiving. If you do those things throughout the year–being romantic on Valentine’s Day or thankful on Thanksgiving–those actions are less important because they’re part of your daily (or weekly) undertakings. However, if you’re not loving and regularly showing appreciation for those in your life, or being thankful for what you have, those holidays are a great reminder of the things you should be doing. The same is true of the new year.
4 Professional Reasons to Make New Year’s Resolutions
The new year is an excellent time to reevaluate what you want to accomplish and where you want to go. It is a natural time to assess your path and make needed corrections. And, according to Forbes, there are four reasons you should set them even if you don’t want to. We’ve taken those four reasons and applied them to the life of a chamber professional:
Setting New Year’s resolutions requires you to assess the current situation and chart a course for where you want to go. As a chamber pro, you likely have a Strategic Plan in place that helps with that. If you don’t, take some time to map out a few goals that are time-based, relevant, and achievable. Even if you do have a Strategic Plan for the Chamber, decide what you might work on professionally that will help you meet chamber goals.
For instance, maybe you have an audacious retention goal that requires a lot more member engagement and interaction than the previous year. You have to find time in your day to do that or set up a group that will help you. That may take making some switches to your productivity or saying “no” to things that are not helping you accomplish the engagement. The chamber goal may be increased retention, but to be successful, you will need your own resolution to work on your productivity or manage distractions.
Think of your resolution the way an athlete would train. The athlete can have a goal to run a marathon, but they have to work on themselves to be able to do it. That’s where your resolution fits in.
Making a resolution is a hopeful and optimistic activity. It involves recognizing that you are not where you want to be but you can achieve what you want. As a chamber pro, there are many times when we get discouraged by the amount of work required or the disgruntled people we deal with. It’s a grueling job. Taking a few moments to imagine a better course can be very uplifting.
Tracy Brower, Ph.D. author of “The Secrets to Happiness at Work” says, “This positive view of the future, in turn, tends to motivate action.” Believing tomorrow can be better, will motivate you to take steps to improve yourself and your community. And that can be contagious.
Everything we do to improve ourselves or the chamber has obvious ripple effects on the community (and individuals). It makes us better people or employees, and that in turn, strengthens the organization, its reputation, and its standing in the community. If you think of the effect your resolution has on others, it may be harder for you to give up on it.
Often it is easier for us to do things that we perceive to be for others than it is to set aside time to do things for ourselves. Unfortunately, many of us were conditioned to think doing for ourselves is selfish but when you look at each of us being part of a community, doing something for ourselves–improving ourselves and taking time for ourselves–contributes to the lives of others as well.
Your actions and sharing your progress toward your goals can inspire others to do the same. Whether your resolution is professional or personal, there’s likely someone in your community who is struggling with the same thing. Sharing your experiences, setbacks, and wins can inspire and create a connection between you and your audience. Think about all the older celebrities who share their weight loss journeys.
It creates a new way to get to know you and build that relationship. That type of sharing can build bridges even if the audience is passively consuming your content. But it also provides a way to learn more about them as well as they may feel inspired to share.
If you’re like 80% of the population, you might think New Year’s resolutions aren’t worth your time. But there is a lot of value in them. They cause you to evaluate what is and is not working whether that’s personally or professionally. Resolutions can also help you be in a better position to attain your chamber goals. They inspire others and may help you connect with your community in a more engaging way.
Whether you resolve to make positive changes in your life through a resolution or stay the course, is up to you. But one thing is certain–and something we learned the hard way over the past few years–change is inevitable. And it’s a whole lot more enjoyable when you’re the one orchestrating it for your personal fulfillment.