Coffee and Book with Pen by Swimming Pool Travel Background“Happy New Year.” It is a well-used – and well-worn – greeting as December ends and January begins.

The language of this greeting is telling – it indicates hope and optimism for a better life and a better world.

A recent University of Scranton (PA) study found that 45% of Americans to craft New Year’s resolutions. Admittedly, 38% of Americans never make New Year’s resolutions – and only 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions.

The same study makes a vital point, though: people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to attain their goals than people who do not explicitly make resolutions.

So, making resolutions is a proven means to help us grow, serve, and contribute – at home, at work, and in our communities – better. IF we deliver on those resolutions, that is!

As you consider your resolutions for 2015, I’ve got one suggestion for us all (including myself).

This single suggestion has a number of important applications – AND it will boost the percentage of people who are successful in achieving their goals and resolutions. The suggestion?

Be intentional.

Setting goals or resolutions is one thing. Delivering on those promises is clearly a different requirement. Which is more important and impactful – setting goals or delivering on them? Which builds trust and credibility?

Delivering does.

Just as with culture refinement, delivering on resolutions requires three steps – define, align, and refine.

Being intentional about what (your goals and resolutions) defines the target; that is about ten percent of the whole process. Being intentional about how – aligning and refining behaviors and interactions so you attain your goals and resolutions – is where the real work happens! This is where ninety percent of your effort is required.

Intention begins with defining the goals and resolutions you desire. You need to ask yourself not only what refinements you wish to make – being nicer, exercising more, eating healthier foods, keeping your commitments, whatever – but also what investment of time, energy, and focus you’re willing to make to ensure you exceed those targets.

As you craft each resolution, note down the specific behaviors required to ensure you will align to your promises. How will you measure progress? How will you remind yourself daily about your targets and required behaviors? How will you celebrate goal traction along the way?

Here are some practices that have worked for me.

  • Share your resolutions with family, friends, and co-workers. By “socializing” your desired changes, you involve others that can give you feedback, encouragement, and re-direction to keep you on track.
  • Monitor your day-to-day behaviors. Use tools that keep tabs of key metrics and review those metrics daily. For example, I use a fabulous to-do app, Nozbe, to set reminders and tasks related to my commitments and the behaviors I have specified. I also use a Fitbit fitness tracker and dashboard to ensure I’m eating right, exercising right, and sleeping well. These tools were not the first ones I tried but they are the ones that have served me well for two years running. Experiment until you find tools that work for you.
  • Measure progress. By tracking your progress towards goals and resolutions, you will know if you are getting better, staying the same, or regressing on key metrics and behaviors. Reviewing your progress enables you to refine your behaviors, systems, feedback, etc. so you can stay on track with your promises.

What practices have helped you keep on track with goals, resolutions, and promises? Share your comments, suggestions, and insights in the comments section below.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

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S. Chris Edmonds

Chris helps leaders create purposeful, positive, productive work cultures. He's a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He blogs, podcasts, and video casts. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: Good Comes First (2021) and The Culture Engine (2014).
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Reader Interactions


  1. John Thurlbeck says

    Hi Chris

    I found your post interesting and I loved that phrase, “Be Intentional’. I tend not to do resolutions, rather preferring to address three key action words, which describe underlying behaviors I would like to pursue more diligently.

    This past year they were focused, direct and relentless. I gave myself a mixed report this week when reflecting on how effective I have been in pursuing them through 2014.

    Besides that, I gave myself a better report on my reflective practice. I reflect on each and every day and write 5-5-5 pieces of reflection, less so on a weekend, as I tend to try and live a little harder then. The 5-5-5 are 5 personal wins, 5 points of gratitude and 5 work wins. It takes some discipline and perseverance, although I am getting there. What I’ve found is, when I look back over a week or a month or more, it provides me with a great resource for improving my practice as a coach/consultant, helping others and becoming a better person. I have a richness of learning that is wonderful, which, most of all, enables me to value myself and those around me so much more.

    So I was pleased to see your three steps … and think to myself I’m doing just that, though in a somewhat different way. Thanks for all your support, inspiration and encouragement in 2014. Long may that prosper!

    Have a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year!

    Kind regards


    PS Coming this week is your review – I hope you like it!

    • S. Chris Edmonds says

      Thanks for your insights, John! I love your approach. The 5-5-5 reflection is a fabulous way of keeping our hearts and minds on track with our desired purpose, founded on serving others.

      I’m delighted to call you friend – and am excited to see your review of #TheCultureEngine on Amazon!



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