Resolved: What one small thing can you do better in 2011?

When I was a pre-teen and then a teenager, I was very serious about New Year’s resolutions. Every year, I would come up with 10 or so resolutions guaranteed to make me a better person. As years went by, I noticed that this high volume of resolutions was not making much of a difference so I started adopting just one big resolution per year. But that didn’t work either because the goals I set were usually too big or too difficult for me to make any real progress. So like most people, by the end of January, my New Year’s resolution was already just a memory.

Here’s the approach I use now, with significantly better results: I pick one small behavior to work on throughout the coming year – something that is achievable and very specific. As is the case with many people, this resolution usually is health related. For example, last year I resolved to eat at least one additional serving of fruit per day. This works much better than some large and vague goal, like vowing to eat better. I knew how much fruit I had been eating; all I needed to do was work in one more serving of fruit a day. Easy peasy!

Why not give this approach a try in your business for 2011? Instead of setting all-encompassing objectives that you may or may not be able to achieve, pick the function of your business that needs the most help and resolve to fix a very specific aspect of it.

Once you’ve mastered your original resolution, bite off another portion and work on that. After all, there is no rule that resolutions have to be limited to January 1st; consider making quarterly resolutions to work on some small but doable aspect of your business.  Put enough of these resolutions together and before you know it you’ll have made major progress!

I think this approach works because when we resolve to make a big change all in one fell swoop, it can be terribly daunting and we get easily discouraged when things don’t quickly fall into place. Also, change is scary to many people, but if you ask employees to change a little something here and then a little something there, you’re more likely to get good results.

Of course, I don’t want to overlook the fact that some times big changes are needed. If a business is in dire straits, fixing things gradually will not do the trick. You’ll have to bite the bullet and go for it.

May 2011 bring you prosperity and happiness! I look forward to sharing information to support your small business success in the coming year.


  1. Mike Coon says:

    You're right about adding up the little steps. I find that if I am not working on something every week, I can easily find myself idling. Each enabling step toward a larger goal is its own victory.

    Keep writing.

  2. Jeanne Yocum says:

    Mike, for some reason I didn't notice your comment until just now. Glad you liked the post. I often see clients get that deer in the headlights look when they are talking about making chance happen in their business, but if they just took it step by step, it wouldn't seem so overwhelming.

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