New Year's Resolutions are Good for Organizations Too

Dr. Joe Aller, DHA, MBA, CPA
Director, Analytics and Research, IBI

2021 was a challenging year for most of us, not just personally, but also professionally in the workplace. This new year marks a time for us to reflect on the past and adjust our course for the future. Resolutions are not just for your personal life, they can be applied to organizations too! Personal resolutions tend to focus on getting fit, managing debt, helping others or embracing being eco-friendly. Why not expand those to an organization? Focus on financial well-being, employee health and wellness, professional development programs, expanding green initiatives or revisit policies to make the workplace more inclusive. As you progress on your journey to success, ask yourself: am I proceeding in the right direction? Am I making progress? Do I keep my resolutions in mind as I make decisions?

Fortunately, there is guidance based on research to help us stay on track. Joanne Dickson, Associate Professor of Psychology, Edith Cowan University, offers nine tips for sticking to your resolutions. These can apply both to individuals as well as organizations:

  1. Set resolutions that meet your deeper values – Aligning with personal values, corporate culture, and other existing corporate policies and guidelines will help keep your resolutions sustainable and you personally motivated. A resolution alone without an emotional tie is more difficult to achieve.
  2. Try to set “new” resolutions – Setting the same resolution year after year having minimal success is not a good strategy for setting yourself up for a different outcome. Viewing success as a journey may help but starting out fresh may also put you on a better trajectory for success.
  3. Set resolutions as specific plans – For an individual this could mean to get fit, I will walk 20 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. For an organization, this could mean to get fit, I will examine my STD and LTD leaves by condition to implement 2 new targeted interventions.
  4. Identify and imagine your desired positive outcome – This clarifies how to define success. What does success look like and what benefits will I obtain once I am there?
  5. Reward small gains along the way – This will help maintain motivation, remind folks of the commitment you are making to move forward, and recognize measurable, demonstrable progress.
  6. Set resolutions you want to pursue, rather than those you think you should – As a professor of psychology, Dr. Dickson, reminds us it is sometimes better to be intrinsically motivated to achieve success.
  7. Be flexible – If the resolution is not working or if circumstances have changed and direction needs to as well, have the ability to redirect activities as needed while remaining positive.
  8. Be realistic – Success is a journey and often measured in steps showing positive direction and energy. Set yourself up for success while including appropriate stretch.
  9. Learn from past failures

Looking at the new year as a time for personal, professional, and organizational development is a positive step in making the most of your year. Having a robust set of resolutions as a guide can help show yourself, your employees, and your other stakeholders, you are focused on moving ahead and even improving.

Happy New Year!!

Dickson, J. (2021). 9 tips to give yourself the best shot at sticking to new year’s resolutions. The Conversation.