New Year’s Resolutions and What To Do Next
This week, I want to talk about New Year’s resolutions, and what to do next. First of all, forget about New Year’s resolutions. They don’t work. Don’t waste your time. Setting goals is very different from setting New Year’s resolutions, and of course, we talk about how to set goals all the time on this blog. But anyway, Happy New Year and welcome to 2019. I hope you’re already off to a fast start.
This year, I encourage you, every 90 days, to sit down and make commitments to yourselves. Ideally, we encourage you to do this in a peer group situation, so that your peers can hold you accountable. Ask yourself: “What am I going to do in the next 90 days?” One of the things that we always recommend you do is something we call a CLEANUP. I think this is a really, amazingly valuable tool.
For me, this cleanup is usually regarding some kind of a physical mess. I tend to be pretty neat and anal about stuff in my office. But every 90 days, I sit there and go, “What do I really need to clean up?” It isn’t usually anything big, like the relationship with my spouse. It’s more like, “The garage is a mess. Every time I go to get in my car, it just creeps me out, and I have a mental block about it. I just feel bad every time I leave the garage.” I’ll say, “Okay, I’m going to go clean up the garage.” It’s always something practical, or physical like that, it seems like. But it could be anything that you think is blocking you, or holding you back psychologically.
Maybe your office is a mess, and you’ve got magazines from 10 years ago clogging up the top of your desk. Maybe you’ve got a personnel problem in your organization, that’s been troublesome for some time that you know in your heart you need to clean up, but you’ve kind of let it go. Maybe that’s getting you down. Maybe there’s a family relationship. Or maybe there is an issue with your marriage. Maybe there’s an issue with a sibling, or a son or daughter, that you need to clean up.
Maybe you want to clean yourself up, physically speaking. Nutrition, exercise, rest and relaxation, recharging, getting away from the business, taking more time off. That’s a cleanup that I think a lot of people could benefit from.
Succession is always on people’s minds, too. Remember, there’s two kinds. Most people focus on ownership succession, “Who’s going to own the company when I die?” There’s a much more important component, and that’s management succession, “Who is going to run the company? Not when I die necessarily, but next year, five years from now, 10 years from now?” Because we’re all going to be different people. Obviously, we can’t be the number one MVP for our entire careers. Eventually, we have to age into retirement. Think about cleaning up your succession plan.
Train your future leaders. Your business is going to be different five years from now than it is today, and 10 years, and 15. What do they need to know to run a different business in a different future? There again, maybe we have blind spots that we don’t see. But if we send them to classes, or training, or put them into a network with other young people, maybe they’ll see things that we don’t, and they’ll be ahead of that curve.
Maybe your cleanup involves coming to grips with the fact that your son, or your daughter, or your niece, or your nephew, doesn’t have what it takes, and they’re not going to be able to take over the family business. That’s a cleanup. If you come to that realization, and in your heart of hearts, you know that that’s the case, then the cleanup is, “Okay, what do I do about it? How do I go out and find talented young people that do have what it takes?” That’s an important cleanup in your family business.
Give some attention to decisions that you’ve tabled. You’ve heard me talk about how often, business owners, especially those in partnerships, decide not to decide. When there are controversial or challenging decisions that they face, they just say, “You know what, we’re gonna table it.” Look, quit doing that. Decide to decide. Deciding not to decide is not a decision – it’s just a waste of everybody’s time and emotion. Move on with these things, and clean them up.
Clean up your compensation plans. People are always asking, “How do I incentivize my employees to do more of this and less of that?” Think about what your employees want, how to get them to stick around, etc. Clean up your company culture.
You can’t do more than a handful of things at a time, no matter how good of a multi-tasker you are. As you rise in your business organization, you can do less and less things really well. If you are the CEO, you might really need to focus on one to three things at a time. Maybe that’s your clean up, just cleaning up your schedule. Cleaning up the number of things that you’re involved in, the number of decisions you have to make, the number of things you delegate. You’ll feel better.
Now all that said, just pick one item for each cleanup you do. Pick one item in your life that’s troubling you, and bogging you down mentally. Resolve that for the next 90 days, you’re going to clean it up. So what’s the first thing you do? You schedule it. You schedule time to clean this thing up – whether it’s for you, for your house, for you business, etc. For you maybe, it’s firing a troublesome employee you should’ve fired three years ago. Schedule it. Put it on the calendar. Just get it done. You won’t believe, psychologically, what a lift you get. It’s really quite amazing.
Take this cleanup advice. It makes a huge difference in your life. Just knock out these things, and you’ll be surprised. We put all this emotional energy into worrying about how nasty our garage is. Then once you get it cleaned up, which takes half a day, you go, “Oh gosh, that wasn’t so bad.” It’s a great mental benefit, and it won’t be as bad as you think it is.
What do you plan to clean up first? We’d love to hear your responses in the comments.