New Year Resolutions for Leaders
Updated: Oct 7
Happy new year! It’s a time for resolutions, new starts, new goals - in with the new and out with the old!
I have never been big on resolutions. I remember having to write a short paragraph on what my new year's resolutions were when I was a kid, but I have no idea what I might have written.
But I do remember, as I celebrated the new year of 1998, my cousin Kieve asked me what my new year’s resolutions were. I proudly told her my resolutions were:
- Get a scholarship for college
- Get accepted to Washington University in St. Louis
- Graduate from high school
Kieve, being more experienced and wiser than me, burst my bubble and informed me those were not resolutions.
What? Why not? I resolved to accomplish all of those things, why wouldn’t they be resolutions?
She said they were goals, the end state of something I worked toward. She also pointed out they were all goals I'd been working toward for years. “So what are your resolutions?”
Yeah. I didn't really have any.
What are Resolutions?
According to the National Eating Disorders Association a resolution is something you resolve to do or not to do. In other words, establish new habits.
So back in 1998, I could have declared a resolution to eat four servings of vegetables every day, or a resolution to walk for thirty minutes a day. Or a resolution my mom would have whole-heartedly supported - make my bed every day.
But I didn’t.
I achieved all three of my goals that year and continued to live a resolution-less life for years afterwards.
Learning the Difference Between Resolutions and Goals
Yes, I prefer goals over resolutions. Maybe it’s just an easier concept for me to wrap my head around. I’m a goal-oriented person and have no problems taking the steps necessary to achieve those goals.
But resolutions have their place. They’re great for implementing new habits and if you do them enough, they become second nature. Plus, how do you think goals are achieved in the first place?
I've always believed the best time to start something new is the moment you decide to make that change, whether it's April 29th, August 3rd or January 1st.
There's nothing wrong with associating a resolution with the first of the year. It's a great starting point to make changes in your life. (After all, I did start this new blog on January 1st.)
But it's not the only time of year to start something new. If you want to make change, the best time to start is when you decide to make that change. The important thing is that you do start that resolution and you keep doing it.
Many goals are achieved through multi-step processes, and many of those steps require resolutions or new habits.
For example, if you have a goal of losing 10 pounds by the end of February, you’re going to have to resolve to eat and work out differently than what you’re doing now. Perhaps it’s a resolution to stop consuming carbohydrates and resolving to run three miles each day.
What Kinds of Resolutions and Goals Can Leaders Make?
As leaders, we are responsible for the growth and development of ourselves and our team members, therefore, our resolutions and goals can be centered on leadership and personal development. John C. Maxwell says in his book Leadership Gold, “The secret to success can be found in people’s daily agendas. If they do something intentional to grow every day, they move closer to reaching their potential.”
With this in mind, here are some ideas for resolutions leaders can make for this year:
1. Pick a leadership skill that you’ve always wanted to improve and work on doing it better each day. For example, if you’re not good at walking around and visiting your team members, resolve to carve an hour per day to do just this.
2. Read a chapter each day from a book focused on leadership development or personal growth. Take time after reading each chapter to examine how you might employ any of the leadership tips discussed, or if you already do, how you can do it better.
3. Set aside time each day for meditation or self-reflection. Perhaps this means at the end of each day you analyze something you did and determine what went well and what didn’t and how it could it have been accomplished better.
4. Deliberately seek feedback from team members on a regular basis to assess how you’re doing as a leader. This can be done once a week or every other week. Use this feedback for self-improvement.
5. Share a short article on a leadership topic each week with your team members. After everyone has read the article, you can lead a quick discussion on this topic.
Ultimately, if your goal is to become a better leader, you must make the little changes each day to reach your goal. What better way to do this than with a resolution?
Comment below: What are your leadership resolutions and goals?