Communication Essentials - My New Year’s resolution? to not have one.

Why do we make things hard on ourselves?

Think about New Year’s resolutions.

  • “I will drink less.”
  • “I will work out more.”
  • “I won’t swear as much.”
  • “I will be a better friend.”
  • “To set time aside for me.”

Now, imagine you established KPIs the same way.

  • “I will increase sales.”
  • “I’m going to be a better leader.”
  • “Write more.”
  • “To communicate better.”

You wouldn’t tackle any of the above without a plan. And without defining what those looked like.

So why do we use that approach in New Year’s resolutions? We are setting ourselves up for failure from day one because you can’t manage what you can’t measure.

But that’s just part of it. We also make it hard on ourselves because we speak in absolutes when making New Year’s resolutions.

(And if Star Wars taught us anything, only Siths deal in absolutes.)

So we commit to drinking less coffee.

We even assign a metric to it – I’ll only drink two cups instead of four.

On day nine we drink three cups.

Resolution over.

Why? Why not just start the next day with the same resolve?

Or better yet…maybe we live with intent instead of resolve.

That was the topic of a recent podcast from Greg McKeown when he tackled why humans weren’t designed for New Year’s resolutions. Instead, what if we identified the essential intent for this year? (Or day, week, month?)

We should think the same way about how we approach our work. We seem to be living in a world where we expect or demand perfection every day – when all we can do is intend to do the best job we can. Failing in that doesn’t mean we won’t. It means we try again tomorrow. And the day after that. We keep showing up with the same intent, every day.

Show up? Do your best? Put others in a position to do their best?

I intend to.