Give Your New Year’s Resolutions Some Teeth with Accountability

The end of December marks the time when many of us make commitments for the next year in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. New resolutions sound simple and easy to stick to in concept, but seeing them through is a much different proposition. In fact, according to Statistic Brain, only 8% of people follow-through on the resolutions they make in January.

While there are many tips and techniques to help adhere to our resolutions, I find there is one that stands out above the rest – adding a layer of accountability. Sound simple? Well, it is, but be sure to keep these tips in mind as you integrate accountability into your New Year’s Resolutions:

  • Create a New Year's Resolution Board of Advisors: During the annual goal setting process, I identify accountability partners who I will ask to hold me accountable throughout the year for various types of goals. For example, I’ll send my health & fitness goals to a jogging buddy or email my business and revenue goals to a fellow CEO or business owner.  Creating and enlisting a board of advisors works for both annual goals as well as New Year’s Resolutions (which are really just a type of goal, usually aimed at adopting better habits). In selecting possible advisors, be sure to match goals to people who already excel in that area.
  • Define Accountability: Another critical, but often overlooked step to ensure adherence to new resolutions, is to be clear in defining what you mean by accountability. For some people, it’s just simple and light encouragement throughout the year whereas for others it’s in your face boot camp style motivation. Be sure to define accountability when you reach out to ask a friend or colleague to hold you accountable to your goals.
  • Have Regular Check-Ins:  In order to ensure you stay on track in the weeks and months following New Year’s, be sure to conduct regular check-ins with your accountability partners. They don’t have to be long or even in person, as a simple text or direct message is a great way to check-in. Also, be sure to set check-in reminders on your phone or in Outlook as it’s easy for them to get passed over during the hectic, early days of the new year.
  • Connect to a Broader Community:  In addition to your board of advisors, who will else can you enlist to ensure you see your resolutions through this year? What affinity groups can you connect with or engage to support you? For example, connect with people at your gym and commit to holding one another accountable to regular workout sessions or attending Zumba classes on Saturday mornings. Also, consider using social media to connect to a broader set of accountability buddies. Try reaching out to your former basketball teammate or debate team member from high school to gain another layer of accountability. 

If you are not part of the 8% noted above, try adding an accountability system to help you achieve the goals you set out to accomplish in 2017. Good luck and Happy New Year!