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Rules for Resolutionaries

I’m a big fan of writing New Year’s resolutions. I enjoy the fresh start. I also enjoy contemplating what can be done over the next year. Sometimes I’m successful in meeting my goals and other times, not so much. I have found that I have been much more successful when I followed certain rules and I am going to share them with you.

As we begin a new year, I’d like to share a strategy that I have used to enhance my ability to meet my New Year’s resolutions. It doesn’t really matter what your goals are. The following rules should help you get there faster.

  1. Strategy
    You will not accomplish any significant goal unless you continually focus on that goal. Don’t diffuse your effectiveness with too many priorities. Create a long-term plan and then, work that plan. Work backwards from the end and break your ideas down into chunks. Think in terms of quarters or months. Then, track your progress toward your goals.One of the best books to help you get there is The 12 Week Year by Morgan & Lennington. They tell you how to do it. If you want to be inspired by someone who does this masterfully, read Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect. Hardy is the editor of Success magazine. This book is worth reading even if you only read the few pages on how Hardy starts his day.
  2. Habits
    If you get yourself into the habit of starting your day like Darren Hardy, you’ll be halfway to your goals in no time. I’m convinced that our success or failure largely depends on the habits that we form. The good news is that we can change these habits. The bad news is that changing habits takes a lot of work.To understand how habits work, read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. To automate your habits, read Atomic Habits by James Clear.
  3. Synergy
    I first encountered the term synergy in Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While I understood that the concept was valuable, it didn’t really sink in until I read What’s Best Next by Perman.Now I realize that I’ll be far more productive if my goals are aligned in such a way that working on one goal helps me make progress toward another. If my activities complement each other, I will get more done faster. I have since structured my life around the concept of synergy. I try not to engage in activities that do not amplify the effects of others. The result is amazing efficiency.
  4. Upside
    As I studied successful people, I found that they think about things differently. They’re constantly looking at their work-to-reward ratio. They taught me that I should try to engage in activities where the inputs are low but the rewards are outsized.I picked up this concept from various sources, but if you want to develop this mindset, read Trump’s 1987 classic, The Art of the Deal or watch the Discovery Channel’s Undercover Billionaire TV series.
  5. Track
    Drucker wrote, “What gets measured gets managed.” I have found this to be true. If you want to lose weight, track your calories. If you want to get rich, track your cash flow. If you want to achieve a large objective, track your progress toward that objective.To understand this concept more fully, read The Effective Executive by Peter F Drucker. To structure this, read the 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling.

Apply these rules to your resolutions this year. Think about how each resolution 1) affects your overall strategic plan, 2) can be habitualized, 3) works together with other resolutions, 4) provides maximum return for minimal effort, and 5) can be tracked and managed.

To aid you in accomplishing your goals, I have provided your 2021 reading list. I wish you a productive 2021.

Your 2020 Resolution Reading List:

  • The Art of the Deal – Donald Trump
  • Atomic Habits – James Clear
  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution – Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, & Jim Huling
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  • The 12-Week Year – Brian Morgan & Michael Lennington
  • The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy
  • The Effective Executive – Peter F. Drucker
  • The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
  • Undercover Billionaire – Discovery Channel TV Series
  • What’s Best Next – Matt Perman

Written by Dr. Darin Gerdes If you enjoy this article, don’t forget to check out our compilation of the World’s Richest Race Car Drivers, Richest Musicians, Richest Models, and Richest Rappers Richest Hockey Players Richest Film Directors. Richest Comedians, Richest Basketball Players.

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Dr. Darin Gerdes
Dr. Darin Gerdes is a Management Professor in the College of Business at Charleston Southern University. He is the host of the Leadersmith Podcast. He lives in North Charleston, SC with his wife and 6 children. Dr. Darin Gerdes is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow him on LinkedIn.