The 6 Saving Graces of New Year’s Resolutions

On the one hand, I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, urging whoever will give me their ear to choose values instead.

On the other hand, and in light of how many people craving a fresh
start ignore me and make New Year’s resolutions anyway, I am a big fan
of talking about them
–especially with people you care about. Early January is a terrific
time for talking story, or to be more accurate, for getting someone else to start talking story, and then listening very carefully to the goldmine of information they are about to give you.

New Year’s Resolutions throw open the shutters, giving you a wide open window into what people want. That’s great information to have, especially if you are in a position to help them get what they are hoping for.

When you listen to others talk about their resolutions, think of them
as fond wishes, beautiful dreams and heartfelt desires, and you’ll
discover what hot button currently
motivates them. Even that old standby, "I want to finally lose these
extra 10 pounds this year, and keep them off"
usually means things
like, "I want to be fitter, trimmer, and healthier, easily able to keep
up with anyone ten years my junior, and looking just as young and
And this is coming from the one guy or gal you thought would
complain like crazy if you asked them to head up the Visitor Industry
Charity Walk
or Great Aloha Run this year.


There are 6 pretty cool ways that New Year’s Resolutions differ from most goals in the workplace:

  • Resolutions are individual and personal. Resolutions are about personal it’s all me behavior. What people say is, "This year, I resolve to…" not "I want the company to" or "I want my peers, my boss, and my team to…"
  • Resolutions own up to personal responsibility.
    Because of this personal factor, resolutions are about the
    responsibility someone is more than willing to take on, not
    responsibility someone else has asked them to assume. Therefore,
  • Resolutions are about free will. Resolutions are voluntary, whereas goals tend to be team or departmental objectives you
    enroll in at work. People feel they have a choice with their
    resolutions, and that they are making the decision – no one else is
    making it for them, and no one is twisting their arm
  • Resolutions are immediate plans. With resolutions, people are resolving to do something right now, and for
    the most part, they are ready to hit the ground running with it. There
    are usually few caveats or "but first…" statements attached to
    resolutions. People have worked out the possibilities before they state
    their intent
  • And that’s such a beautiful word! Resolutions are about intention,
    whereas goals are more about strategic planning. Strategy is deliberate
    and calculating, but intention is passionate and purposeful. Therefore,
    you will often find that
  • Resolutions are meaningful to people.
    If they pull it off and achieve them, it will be satisfying, personally
    rewarding, and one of the biggest incentives they have to do it all
    over again with another resolution – or even a company goal :)

Now who do you think is aching for you to listen to their New Year’s Resolutions right now? Go on, talk story.

“No siren did ever so charm the ear of the listener as the listening ear has charmed the soul of the siren”
~ British Author Henry Taylor 1800-1866