By now, most people who've made resolutions for the New Year have already stopped pursuing them. New Year's resolutions are notoriously difficult to stick to, and there are several good reasons why. Setting unrealistic goals within an unrealistic timeline, for instance.

In your personal life, a failed resolution can be disappointing and sap your motivation to meet other goals. In business, failing to meet the goals you set can have more serious and resounding consequences for the entire company. With these few tips, you can regain your motivation and disrupt the cycle of making and breaking business resolutions by learning to set and stick with more realistic goals.

Set yourself up for success.

We're rarely as motivated to achieve a goal as the day we set it. If your resolutions have already fallen by the wayside, then regaining that motivation will be the first step to getting back on track. For instance, surround yourself with positive people, write down why the resolution is important to you and read it first thing every morning.

However, if the goals you've set are unrealistic, then no amount of motivation will help you achieve them. You'll have to break down what should be a long-term goal into smaller, more realistic (but still challenging) resolutions. As Tony Robbins says, "The problem isn't making resolutions, but rather the resolutions we make. They require too much growth and, often, too much pressure for us to handle in a short period of time."

That problem is a significant one, too. About 90 percent of people are unsuccessful in accomplishing their resolutions. Next, to weight loss and self-improvement, better business decisions are among the most common resolutions made. It's important to remember that even if your business goals are realistic, you can still easily veer off track without the right motivation and plan of attack.

Setting realistic goals and setting your business up to achieve them are nontrivial challenges, but they needn't be impossible. These three tips can steer you back toward accomplishing your resolutions and help you avoid getting off track with future ones:

1. Have a process for being better.

A well-implemented process can not only lead to success in business, but it can also help you meet your New Year's resolutions. Develop a process for success that ensures every smaller goal is being met, even on days when you aren't particularly motivated to go after that goal.

Growth technology company Ladder has a process that focuses on getting better -- or "creating your own luck," as the company puts it. For each project or goal, Ladder has a series of steps: analysis, strategy, approval, execution, and learning.

A process that includes time to reflect and learn is especially important when your goal is growth. In that case, your marketing team should play a significant role in these processes. Jon Brody, CEO at Ladder, explains that "marketing is becoming increasingly synonymous with growth ... which every company needs all the time." He argues that a good marketing team can accomplish things that used to require several different teams of experts, such as data analysts and product developers.

2. Keep your goals private.

When you boast about your goals before you've even accomplished them, you sabotage yourself in two ways: You trick your brain into thinking you've already won, and you set expectations in people's minds that you may not be able to meet.

Instead of sharing your goals as they come to you, Dan Wesley, founder of CreditLoan.com, recommends being your own hype man and impressing yourself first. He advises taking a page from Beyoncé and other artists who release full studio albums seemingly out of nowhere. "Put in the work to achieve [your goals]," he says, "then broadcast your achievements to your fan club of one until the full project is complete."

You wouldn't tell everyone about every time you've failed, and you shouldn't tell everyone about the goals you haven't achieved yet, either.

3. Break bad habits while building good ones.

With challenging but realistic goals set and a process in place for achieving them, your final hurdle may be overcoming the bad habits that can still hinder your success. The problem with habits is that, once we develop them, we are rarely able to break them. It's possible though, and you'll need to identify the habits that interrupt your goal-reaching process.

Determine what prompts the habit and what reward it provides. Then, hack the cycle by concentrating on the reward that comes with achieving your goals (i.e., higher profits, faster innovation, and happier customers). In time, you'll come to expect those rewards instead, and you'll automatically engage in the better business habits that generate them.

Nine out of 10 people may abandon their resolutions, but that doesn't mean you should stop making them. Every business thrives on strengthening its operation and growing stronger. That growth requires coming up with and implementing new ideas. You just have to make sure you're that 10th person by setting better resolutions and being more adept at accomplishing them.

Published on: Feb 26, 2018
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