New Year, New Leader

Happy New Year!

Each year on January 1st millions of people across the world decide it is time to make a change. A new beginning to set goals and to create lofty and ambitious resolutions. Some common personal resolutions individuals will set in 2023 include losing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, and stopping drinking. In addition to personal resolutions, law firm leaders often use January 1 to create business and professional goals, as well as begin working on strategic planning and/or financial planning. Yes, it is a brand-new year time for a “new year, new me.”

However, unfortunately, by the time you read this article, you might need to mentally change your New Year’s Resolutions start date to improve your goal-setting success rate.

According to a 42-year-old research study performed by John C. Norcross, a professor of psychology at the University of Scranton, 75% of individuals who make New Year’s resolutions are successful in keeping them by January 15. By January 31, that percentage drops to 64%. This number sharply decreases by early summer, when only 46% of individuals are maintaining their New Year’s resolutions.

What is the point, one might ask? Why even bother creating New Year’s resolutions if the odds of success are so low? Well, before we to let go of this tradition and try to forget it about it, let us briefly understand why the success rate of maintaining and attaining New Year’s resolutions is not higher, and what you can do to improve your odds of accomplishing your goals and 2023 New Year’s resolutions.

A resolution is practice of doing a desired thing often by changing behaviors and undesired traits. Therefore, you must yearn to make that change. Here are four simple steps to improve your resolution success rate.

  1. Create SMART Goals

For resolutions to be successful, a change in behavior is required. One cannot realistically lose weight by continuing to eat fast food and binge-watching Netflix every day. You need to develop goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound) before you can attain the desired change of your behavior. Creating SMART goals is all about clarity and perseverance. For example, if you resolve in 2023 to lose five to 12 pounds, you might want to start by calculating your BMI (body mass index). Proper nutrition and exercise over time can change your body composition, if not the numbers on scale. Therefore, maintain proper perspective.

  1. Write It Down

An effortless way to maintain focus on your 2023 resolutions is to write them down. By writing down your goals, you are 42% more likely to achieve them. Yes, it might be easier to use an app, or add your goals to your Outlook or iCal as a daily reminder. However, this does not replace the importance of pulling out a pen and paper or a journal and writing down what it is you are seeking to resolve for 2023. Writing things down activates a deeper level of focus. It not only can improve your focus but can help reduce your stress levels and allow for a ‘true’ digital detox.

  1. Let’s Talk About It

Communicating your resolutions and reasoning for wanting to accomplish your goals to a trusted friend, family member, mentor, or life/ business coach helps keep you accountable and stay on track. If no one knows about your goals and resolutions, and you choose not to write them down, just like the old adage out of sight out of mind, you are more likely to fail to reach your goals.

  1. Make a Plan

We all hear the saying ‘by failing to plan, you are preparing to fail.’ As a lawyer and law firm leader, the success rate of any goals you set for your firm will dramatically increase by creating a well-defined strategic plan. For example, if you are looking to obtain more clients and increase revenue, a simple strategic plan will help in:

  • Establishing your intentions on your mission (obtain more clients and increase revenue).
  • Assessing where you are (one client and zero marketing budget).
  • Determining your objectives (brand awareness).
  • Defining your responsibilities (create a social media marketing campaign posting monthly).
  • Measuring and evaluating results (SEO, “likes) and reposts).

Finally, to truly be a successful law firm leader, it is important to reevaluate both your personal professional goals not just on January 1 of each year. Rather, review, assess and fine tune your resolutions at least every three months. By periodically reflecting, reviewing your process, seeing your progress, and immediately implementing changes as needed help you obtain your goals and resolve all that your set out to accomplish in 2023. Let’s make 2023 the year of new leaders who are forward-thinking leaders who lead by example, do what they set out to do, communicate changes when appropriate and always be flexible when necessary.

About the Author

Cynthia Thomas is owner of PLMC & Associates, a law firm management consulting company which provides best practices in human resource and financial/operations management to small and midsize firms.

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