At the start of the new year, many decide it is the perfect place to reinvent themselves. Flip the calendar and flip the bad habits you fell into during the past year. New Year’s resolutions are so popular that many industries know that they will make the bulk of their profits for the entire year during the first three months of the new year. None are more familiar with this yearly phenomenon than those in the fitness, health and wellness industry. When I worked in the fitness industry, we all knew this huge push in business was both a blessing and a curse. Yes, we would meet and exceed our sales goals, but we also knew that in a few short months we would be back to our regular grind. Our regulars –who came faithfully every day to workout throughout the year – were always annoyed at the “gympocalypse” that happened from January through early March. We often had to remind them that navigating around the rookies was temporary, because we knew this would die off after just a few short months and we did not want to diminish their loyalty.
Why New Year’s resolutions (NYR) Don’t Work.
The “out-with-the-old – in-with-the–new” attitude is often not successful on a personal or professional level, especially when the changes are made frivolously. Mostly because knee jerk changes based on what everyone else is doing often does not solve a problem or change bad habits. Those participating in NYR typically do not look at the “why” – so they don’t stick. The changes need to be thoughtful, strategic and make sense. They need to answer a “why.” They need to meet a goal. They need to solve a problem. If they do not, they will not be successful.
Is Change Positive or Negative?
Many cultures think of change as desirable and positive. With these change lovers, “new” is usually thought to be better than the “old.” Many times in advertising, “new” means better products and services – out with the old – in with the new. To many, change means moving forward towards a desirable achievement. When change is a high priority, many express optimism about the future – hence the popularity of NYRs. On the flip side, some cultures view change the completely opposite way. This group would never participate in NYR. They consider change in a negative way and as a disruption. They often do not trust new products, have a pessimistic view towards the future and think that those who do a NYR but do not believe in change ultimately fail, give up or go back to their old ways.
Food for Thought
It is inevitable that most circles, groups, or companies will fall into one of these two categories– those who embrace change and those who never want to see anything changed. Here is some food for thought to help you:
- Younger-minded cultures often become impatient with those who cling to the “old ways,” and cannot understand why others balk at adopting something new.
- The big change pushers can be great assets, but sometimes may need to be reined in. Be sure the changes they have in mind are strategic, solve a problem and can answer the “why.”
- Don’t make a change just because everyone else is. If the big change pushers are just requesting changes to fulfill some checklist or give you busy work – it can actually end up being a complete waste of time and resources. Change is always hard, but done without a strategic plan or goal in mind, may cause even more issues for you.
- Some are firm believers in “this is the way we have always done it,” “if it isn’t broke don’t fix it” and change is bad. Don’t expect them to move from that space easily. This group will be overly sensitive to the timing, and might push back even harder than normal. Being prepared with your data, your answers to “why” and what problem this change will solve will only help your position.
- Sometimes you have to take a risk and push forward with change whether you have complete buy in or not. When you do, you will need to put on your “change-agent cape” and push on. Once that goal is achieved, be sure to communicate that clearly, so those who were uncomfortable will see it was justified.
New Year – New You!
I hope you have taken the time you needed over the holidays to really rejuvenate yourself so you are fresh and ready to tackle the new year. If you didn’t, I challenge you to do so. Walking away for a bit even when things are time sensitive will give you a new fresh wave of energy and life to put forth, and the reward will be more successful results. My charge to you is to take a look at how you can make changes. Can you answer “why?” Do they solve a problem and meet your strategic goals? Be sensitive to the cultural differences concerning change around you; take note and make strategic adjustments to your approach when proposing change.
One of my favorite quotes is, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.” This saying has been credited to various people, but regardless of who you give tribute to, what really matters is the point it makes.
If you need help deciding whether to make a change or in setting goals, let us know. We have a change agent support group waiting for you.