It's that time of year again. But rather than waste your energy and money with gym memberships and fad diets that inevitably languish or grow tiresome, consider plying this New Year's resolution toward growing your business.
Between getting organized and exploring new partnerships and projects, there's a myriad of different goals and milestones to set for your business in 2013. The trick is how to make them stick.
Here's how to follow through all year long with the goals you set today:
Look back before looking forward.
Before you make your resolutions, look back at the last year and make an assessment of what you've accomplished. Be honest with yourself. How many of last year's resolutions did you keep? If you neglected something or went off track, put that at the top of your list this year. Prioritize your weak points.
Offer detailed resolutions.
In your list of resolutions, include plenty of detail. Something like "make more money" is vague and you're likely to neglect it due to lack of focus. Instead, give yourself clear targets. If your goals are of a financial nature, pick a realistic but challenging number and a time frame during which you'll go for the gold. If your resolutions are qualitative, set mile markers to help you tick off along the way. There's nothing like feeling like you're on track even when your ultimate goal is still a ways off.
Use this momentum to your advantage. When sprinters compete, the slowest part of the race is always the acceleration. Utilize Newton's laws and get your body out of rest. Create movement through action. Come March, you should see your efforts -- if you're really serious about accomplishing them, of course -- starting to pan out. If by this point, you've made progress in several of your resolutions, you're definitely on track.
Note that it's also helpful to articulate your resolutions to those around you. Letting people know about your goals is a good way to ensure accountability.
Some advice from Gary Gygax.
Who? If you recognize the name, you've revealed your nerdish tendencies. Gary Gygax is the creator of the role-playing phenomenon Dungeons and Dragons. What does a high-level mage equipped with an enchanted staff have to do with New Year's resolutions, you may ask? Well, the structure of role-playing games lies in creating unique characters with skill points in different attributes, and then "leveling up" to increase those skill points. Identify individual skills and resolve to increase your capacity for each one.
Related: 7 Steps to Regaining Your Focus
Formulating this kind of structure around your resolutions makes it easier to implement them. For instance, you may resolve to increase your level in health and fitness, traveling and world knowledge and networking opportunities. Every day, or every week if you prefer, devote some time to increasing your skills in each category you desire to build. Put a check on your list, assuring you that you're indeed following through.
What about you? What are your resolutions? What skill s would you like to increase? Let us know in the comments section below.
The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.