To Resolution or Not to Resolution? - By Andrew Chambers

It’s that time of the year. We all recognize the symptoms. Someone in the elevator, the office and the coffee shop, will ask: “Did you make a resolution?”

Many of us craft resolutions around health and fitness, which are often forgotten by the end of January. Some are now taking up the “Dry January” trend to avoid alcohol throughout the month in an effort to contradict the effects of the “wet” holidays. Whatever the choice is, the new year brings an opportunity to instill new habits that we hope will be long-lasting.

Ultimately the new year for many is an opportunity to review habits, and determine which are healthy, which are less-so, and how starting with a fresh slate can help build better habits. It’s not unlike a business. The beginning of the year for many of us is budget time – an opportunity to review our habits as a business, and determine which positive aspects we’d like to cultivate and which unhealthy ones we’d like to strike from our repertoire.

A few years ago, I would have said I was firmly an anti-resolutioner. The idea of using the calendar to spur “being nicer to people” or “going to the gym more” seemed doomed from the start for me. However, two years ago I decided that I wanted to add breakfast to my daily routine. I used January as my starting date, and now two years later I haven’t missed my morning meal (before I was the cup-of-coffee-and-run-out-the-door type). For me, it was about a daily goal that I could accomplish with a defined start date for my experiment. This year I’ve similarly added a morning crunch routine.

I don’t know and don’t believe that each year I’ll have something like this. I certainly am not going to think of ideas simply to have a resolution to stick to.  Rather as the year progresses, if there is a daily activity I’d like to incorporate, I’ll think about starting in January. Similarly in business, I think we can view this time period at the beginning of the year as a way of incorporating little daily improvements to the culture of our firm.

As leaders, think about reaching out to one employee each day that you might not normally communicate with. Maybe try one small act of kindness each day: replacing the coffee filter in the kitchen or removing your own trash bucket. These little things are easy to replicate and soon become habit, ultimately improving the culture of any organization, your own well-being and your co-workers.

Additionally, you can bring this attitude to your budget discussions - maybe forcing yourself or the organization to try something different when it comes to planning and success. Maybe it’s a bigger risk or maybe it’s a small change, but by changing your own habits, you open yourself and the organization up for the ability to change.

Enjoy your 2018.