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Happy New Year! Is Your New Year’s Resolution already on fire in your shredder?

Posted 11 days ago

Is Your New Year’s Resolution already on fire in your shredder?

(it’s best not to have evidence, right?)

Don’t worry; you aren’t alone.

A whopping 9% of people keep a New Year’s Resolution. According to a study of Australian and UK citizens, 64% abandoned their resolution after the first month. Never fear, we did not develop our current neuropathways and skill sets overnight. It took practice and repetition, and the same goes for creating our new goals. My theory is our tendency to give up before we have reached a goal is not related to how badly we want the goal. It's largely because we make the process too complicated- we try to do too much all at once. If you wish to lose 20 pounds, achieve a new work milestone, or land a new job- here are some tips you can start today.

Define your Why - it is vital.

As Simon Sinek has said, start with why- and make that why meaningful. Keep asking yourself why until you can’t possibly think of another one. Try to get at least 5. The deepest why is your ultimate why and it is what is driving your desire to change. Put your why where you can see it.

Example: "I want to improve my employee engagement scores..."

  • Why? Because I want to improve the culture
  • Why? So, people enjoy working here
  • Why? So we retain good employees
  • Why? Engaged employees have better patient outcomes.

Break your goal into phases and steps.

What steps do you need to take to get to your goal? List them all out. These are your mini-goals. Smaller milestones you need to conquer to reach your overarching goal.

Example: "Large Goal - Engaged Employee Culture - what steps do I need to take?" 

  • Discover my employee’s strengths
  • Communicate transparently
  • Intentional rounding
  • Meaningful recognition
  • Offer professional development

Triage your mini-goals.

Next, narrow the list of min-goals into the two or three most important to your long-term success. Narrow that list into the one goal that is easiest to tackle or least stressful in your life. This is where you will start -with one goal that will help you on your long-term journey and is least stressful.

Example: "From the list above, I think that communicating transparently, offering professional development, and intentional rounding are going to lead to long-term employee engagement. Purposeful rounding seems the least stressful given my current workload."

Engage in Habit Stacking

According to James Clear, author of the bestseller Atomic Habits, habit stacking is a way to make new neuropathways. Add your new mini-goal to something you already do daily without fail. Write it down. (The writing it down part is important).

Example for a manager: "I will block 15 minutes to round intentionally on at least one employee after my morning huddle. Or I will round on one person before I open my desktop to check my email daily."

Example for a Director or Executive: "I will come in early one day a week on the night shift to round in the ED intentionally. Or after my team meeting on Wednesdays, I will round on one staff nurse in the clinic before grabbing my lunch in the cafeteria."

Extra Credit- Get an accountability Buddy.

Share your mini-goal, frequency, and timing with a friend or coworker to keep you accountable. If you are brave, share it with your direct reports so they can help hold you accountable. Check-in and let them know how you are doing at regular agreed-upon intervals.

Finally - Celebrate success.

Before moving on to the next mini-task, celebrate accomplishing your goal. Were you able to round 3/5 days this week? Nice! Did you make it 4 weeks in a row? Amazing! Celebrate not only mini-goal completion but also what you learned along the way. Share what you learned with your mentor, boss, or accountability buddy.

Start now- don’t wait until next year! You have got this! This week is a great week for new beginnings.


Board President, NWONL

Great Reads for Inspiration as you tackle new Goals:

Atomic Habits: An Easy and Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones - by James Clear
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action - by Simon Sinek
Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan. For Achieving your Most Important Goals - by Michael Hyatt
Hardwiring Excellence: Purpose, Worthwhile Work, Making a Difference - by Quint Studor