Why Your New Year's Resolutions Are Setting You Up For Failure

The start of a New Year is as good a time as any to make resolutions. Every business leader uses the holiday as an annual opportunity to identify new goals to achieve and review existing priorities. It gives us the chance to reflect on everything in our lives for which we can be grateful and to make new commitments for the year ahead.

My first piece of advice is simple: Don't do it. Don't make resolutions, unless you are absolutely determined to keep them. Research shows that while 45 percent of Americans make resolutions, only eight percent actually succeeds in keeping them. That's a really small percentage. But when you think about it, perhaps the statistic is a true reflection of the number of people who are winners in life, those who have the strength of their convictions. So if you're going to make resolutions, first resolve to keep them!

As a goal-oriented person, I believe in making resolutions. Not the generic resolutions that many people make, like losing weight, getting fit, spending less and making more. I'm talking about resolutions that will help you steer your enterprise to greater success while maintaining some balance in your life; resolutions that you can stand behind, that are in harmony with your family values and faith.

Remember, too, that resolutions should be much more than fixing or getting something. They should be more than thinking about doing something out of a sense of duty or obligation. Resolutions should be something you want from the bottom of your heart. There has to be a deep meaning -- born out of deep meaning is the motivation to succeed. Resolutions should also be about pushing beyond your comfort zone.

Some suggestions:

Resolve not to make too many resolutions.

Resolutions aren't about quantity, but more so about quality. If you create a laundry list of resolutions, you'll haphazardly bounce from one to the next. You won't have the focus you need and you won't get anything done. Don't make resolutions unrealistic -- it's great to have big dreams and reach for the stars as long as you're sure you can get there.

Resolve to not make the same mistakes you made in 2013.

Admit it: You made a few mistakes. We all do. The secret is to learn from those mistakes and not repeat them. Perhaps you trusted someone you shouldn't have. Perhaps you made ill-fated business decisions.

Maybe you allowed unnecessary negativity into your life. Celebrate your mistakes because they're part of life's great journey -- many of the positive developments over the past year may not have manifested had you not made certain poor choices. Be honest with yourself and compile a list -- even if it's a short list -- of things you did wrong in 2013 that you won't repeat in 2014.

Resolve to let the world know about your accomplishments.

Don't hide your success. Communicate often, effectively and truthfully. Don't let falsities muddle the truth and always correct misconceptions. Get the word out about your successes, like the growth of your company. If you don't personally take the lead in promoting your good fortune, why should anyone else? For entrepreneurs, news of your achievements will attract more investors and more talented employees.

Resolve to learn something new.

The world is changing quickly. What you learned in the classroom may not line up with the skills you need for success. Technology, of course, is a major driving force behind this change. You should never stop learning if you want to keep up with the changing world. Cherish every opportunity you come across to improve your mind and business.

Resolve to take time for yourself.

Many ambitious entrepreneurs fall into the trap of working morning, noon and night. I totally understand why, but it's important to carve out some personal time to recharge your batteries. Exercise is a good example of a solo activity. It rejuvenates your spirit, strengthens your body and refreshes your brain. But don't make a vague commitment to exercise; incorporate it into your daily schedule.

Resolve to give back.

Helping others, especially those less fortunate, is an essential part of life -- particularly so if you have been blessed with success. Donate to a cause you care about in any way you can. Give financially, and if possible, give your time, as well. Mentor someone; volunteer; make an effort to channel your talents and energy into giving back to your community and society.