Monday Mo: Beating 11%

Dan RalphsIn many circles, New Year’s Resolutions have become a punchline as much as a practice. Why? Because, the percentage of fulfillment is abysmally low. Of all the studies I’ve looked into, the highest completion rate was 11%.  Pitiful!  

However, businesses only grow to the degree that their business leaders grow. In almost every case, the CEO is the bottleneck and if they grow the company grows with them. As a result, resolutions and reinvention have to become common practice and we need to hit a much higher success rate than 11%. 

Here are three reasons resolutions usually fail and what you can do about it.  

  1. We set resolutions rather than chase dreams. Change requires a tremendous amount of ongoing motivation. Willpower alone will not give us the long-term energy required. Nobody is jumping out of bed for the next 365 mornings, saying, “I can’t wait to lose weight today!” We need something more. Dreams or passions allow us to align improvement with things that do get us out of bed in the morning. For example, instead of a goal to lose weight, consider a goal to walk a round of golf each week. Can you see how one would get you moving more than the other? Choose something that inspires you, that makes you feel giddy as a school girl. Choose something that you actually want to do! 
  2. We try to bite off too much at once. Too often, we fail at our resolutions because we try to change too much too quickly. Research by B.J. Fogg suggests that one key factor to new habit adoption is the ease of the new habit. Rather than a daily 60-minute jog, try a 5-minute walk. First establish the habit and then ratchet up the difficulty.  
  3. We fail to work on the mental game of change. I had a friend who was a personal trainer. At the start of each year, he could tell which of his new enrollees were going to succeed and which would fail. How could he tell?  By their mindsets. He would hear the group destined for an early exit whisper, “Look how skinny she is, she must be bulimic?” We are who we are in large part because of the way we think about ourselves and the world around us. It will be nearly impossible to lose weight carrying around a belief that skinny people are stuck up bulimics. As you are looking to transform yourself, consider what beliefs shaped those behaviors in the first place. Doing mental work can make all the difference. 

If you are leading a company that is trying to grow, personal growth is absolutely required. No exceptions. By aligning change with your passion, identifying simple changes and doing the mental work, you will undoubtedly be able to beat the 11% odds.  

From your favorite leadership coach, 

Dan Ralphs 


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