Resolutions vs. Goals: Do They Even Make a Difference, Though?

As we start to come back to work after the festive season, we bring new hope, new resolutions and the anticipation of new plans.

The problem is, it also brings with it our old selves and the reality is, for us as leaders, the initial enthusiasm often gives way to professional and personal demands, and come February, many resolutions are left behind!

This year, we invite you to reconsider the traditional approach. Instead of setting resolutions that may fade away, we challenge you to reflect on what you truly want and what you need to do differently to set yourself up for success with the power of goal setting for 2024. In this blog, we will explore how we get it wrong and 7 questions to ask yourself when getting started with goal setting for you and your team.

Why is it so hard?

When it comes to leadership and culture, we’ve observed that many leaders have the best intentions of doing something different, something more, or finishing the year in a better place than when they started for their people. But often that is derailed because they don’t know what steps to take when workplace change hits, life intervenes, or let’s be honest, you can get bored or simply lose interest when nothing is working. No judgment here; we understand these hurdles from our own experience.

Here are our 7 questions to ask yourself when you are goal setting for you and your team to ensure you are set up for success.

1. Are my goals specific and measurable?

Tip: Clearly outline objectives such as improving team communication or exceeding weekly sales targets.

In the dynamic landscape of leadership, vague resolutions fall short. Strategic goals demand specificity and measurability. Kickstart the year by clearly outlining objectives that matter – from enhancing team communication by implementing 15-minute daily standups to surpassing weekly sales targets by a 15% increase, for example. These specific goals set the stage for tangible outcomes, steering away from wishy-washy aspirations.

2. Do my goals excite me and give me energy?

Tip: Instill passion by visualising the positive impact of achieved goals.

Effective leadership thrives on enthusiasm. Get on board with goals that ignite your energy or passion, both for yourself and your team. Visualise the positive impact of achieving these goals. Consider incorporating visual reminders – perhaps a prominent image on your desk or screensaver – to serve as constant inspiration for what lies ahead.

3. What steps do I need to take to achieve these goals?

Tip: Develop strategic roadmaps with manageable steps to achieve your organisational goals.

Leadership is about navigating the journey strategically. Break down organisational goals into smaller, doable steps. This not only simplifies the process but ensures focused efforts on immediate tasks. Strategic roadmaps guide your team through the complexities, making each milestone a steppingstone toward organisational success. For instance, when we want to improve our client satisfaction, we start by conducting client feedback surveys to identify pain points, then training the support team in specific areas, implementing a new ticketing system, and finally, regularly reviewing and refining client interactions. Each of these small steps has its respective mini goals which are manageable and clear. When your team concentrates on each task, it becomes simpler to remain aligned and move forward, gradually achieving the goal of creating an exceptional client relationship.

4. Are my goals realistic?

Tip: Assess resources, time, and capabilities to set realistic and achievable organisational goals.

Leadership vision must align with practical realities. While ambitious objectives are commendable, realistic goals are the foundation of sustainable success. We cannot just kick back and aim to increase the revenue by 200% in a week. Goal setting does not work like magic. Assess resources, time constraints, and organisational capabilities. Realistic goals set the stage for achievements within reach, fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

5. What are the deadlines?

Tip: Set timelines for your organisational goals to instill a sense of urgency and commitment.

Organisational goals without deadlines lack the impetus for commitment. As leaders, establish timelines that create urgency and drive consistent efforts. As deadlines provide a clear endpoint, it provides the team with a timeframe of what needs to be done, track the progress, and set priorities. A defined timeline not only propels the team forward but ensures that organisational aspirations transition from intention to accomplishment.

6. Who am I going to tell about my goals?

Tip: Share your organisational goals with your leadership team for shared accountability.

Leadership is a collective effort. Share your organisational goals with your leadership team. This shared accountability creates a support system, fostering motivation during challenges. Verbalising goals not only solidifies commitment but also invites encouragement and collaboration, enhancing the potential for organisational success.

7. How am I going to celebrate success?

Tip: Celebrate organisational achievements, no matter how incremental, to reinforce positive behaviours.

Leadership is about more than achieving grand milestones. Acknowledge and celebrate every organisational triumph, no matter how small. Celebrations not only boost team morale but also reinforce the positive behaviours that lead to success. A culture of celebrating achievements sets the tone for continuous improvement and sustained excellence.

In essence, goals possess the power to bridge the gap between resolutions and tangible achievements. They offer a clear pathway, fueled by passion, strategic planning, and a commitment to celebrating every milestone along the way. Remember, the difference lies not just in setting goals but in the intentional steps taken to bring them to fruition.

During January, make some time to set goals for your own personal and professional growth and encourage your teams to do so. Sure, you can keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing and hope for a different or better result, or you can choose a new plan and goals. Happy New Year!

Awareness Co. is committed to helping leaders create cultures of safety and care and to minimise psychosocial hazards in their workplace. Since 2017, our team of experienced Human Resources, Mental Health and Change professionals have been leading the way with practical solutions that support workplace wellbeing strategies and meet Work Health & Safety obligations.

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