New year, new goals! For many managers, the start of the year is a perfect opportunity to revisit processes, team responsibilities, and initiatives. However… according to a study conducted by psychology professor Richard Wiseman at the University of Hertfordshire:

While over half of individuals surveyed who made New Year’s resolutions were confident of success, in reality only around 12% actually achieved their goal.”

Steve Martin, Harvard Business Review Contributor. 

Let’s learn how to overcome the 88% fail rate of achieving your New Year’s resolutions for your team to have an even better year and conquer more, together!

How are New Year’s resolutions different from goals?

Oftentimes teams set weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. And while that is very important to do, resolutions differ from these goals. The biggest distinction between goals and resolutions is that goals and typically quantitative metrics, for example creating X amount of content for the month, while resolutions are typically more qualitative, for example increasing the monthly content created. So, while goals have a concrete date or number that is meant to be hit, resolutions are more of a concept that your team wants to work towards. 

A great way to keep your goals and resolutions separate and on track is by keeping a shared stream via Fellow. On Fellow, managers can create a shared stream where team members can add resolutions that they hope to achieve to a checklist and check them off as the year progresses. This is beneficial because it allows teams to work together to achieve these resolutions. Further, this is helpful because if someone is ever ahead of work and wondering what you can do to help, referring to your team’s resolutions can prompt more work, keeping everyone busy! 

8 New Year’s resolutions for your team

Don’t stress about trying to come up with productive and efficient New Year’s resolutions because we’ve got you covered! Check out these 8 resolutions for your team to try out (and achieve!)

1 Create a more psychologically safe environment

A psychologically safe environment is an environment where everyone feels safe to share their ideas. According to Dr. Soracha Cashman, a Cognitive Neuropsychologist and coach, 

“Psychological safety is a capacity to feel safe to express your boundaries, trust others to recognize your legitimate concerns, speak up about your fears, issues and what needs to change – all without the risk of being shamed, undermined, or penalized.”

2 Ask and give feedback

It is important to both ask and give feedback if you want to grow. Oftentimes, we get into a routine doing the same thing daily. And while routine can be good, it can also hinder us from growing by repeating the same mistakes. So, to avoid repeating mistakes and learning to grow it is important to ask your coworkers and managers for constructive feedback.

It is also important to give feedback when something doesn’t work. Again, if you want your team and company to grow, voicing your opinions will go a long way. It can be scary and uncomfortable voicing an opinion when it goes against everyone else’s, but sometimes that opposing view opens everyone’s minds up to what was missed, so don’t hold back!

Pro tip

Use a feedback tool like Fellow to easily ask, give, and document any feedback throughout the year!

3 Forget the blame game

While it is easy to blame yourself or somebody else for mistakes, this is not something that is good to do. Blaming yourself only puts more pressure on yourself and deters you. Rather, learn how to recognize your mistakes and learn from them.

It is also important not to blame others. If something doesn’t get done, rather than blaming them, consider offering a helping hand. You never know what other people are dealing with outside work so when you see a co-worker struggling, don’t blame, help.

4 Be reliable and foster trust

One of the best qualities in a team member is reliability. If your team can rely on you to get things done, they will trust you more. And as we know, trust in the workplace is crucial. 

“By fostering organizational trust, you can increase employees’ productivity and energy levels, improve collaboration, and cultivate a happier, more loyal workforce.”

Paul J. Zak, Harvard Business Review Contributor.

Being a reliable employee will also benefit you because when big projects emerge that you want to work on, your manager is more likely to assign it to someone they can rely on and trust (hence, you). 

5 Know when to say no

While doing lots of work shows your commitment to the company, taking on more than you can handle can affect your mental health and quality of work. So, let’s learn 6 ways to say “no” when our bandwidth is stretched to its max:

  • Assess the request
  • Know your priorities
  • Be straightforward and authentic
  • Bring up an alternative solution
  • Build trust with your bosses and colleagues
  • Practice before the conversation 

“When you say no, you are only saying no to one option. When you say yes, you are saying no to every other option. No is a decision. Yes is a responsibility.”

James Clear, author of NYT bestseller Atomic Habits.

6 Discuss issues that hinder performance

Earlier we talked about how people get into routines that can hinder change and growth. Well, companies can make the same mistake. When a company begins, there are ways of doing things that are established. And as your company grows, these processes improve. But it is important to recognize when a process is no longer benefiting the company.

Look at this scenario for example: when your company started, it was established that each week, your team had an hour-long check-in meeting at the beginning of the week. And, while the check-in meeting has evolved over time (for example, a better meeting agenda) it has started to take valuable time away from coworkers. So, in this case, you may consider switching to an asynchronous check-in meeting to save time and benefit the company. 

7 Foster better teamwork

Building relationships with team members in remote workplaces can be difficult because the distance between colleagues is increased. So, to foster better teamwork and communication, try implementing ice-breaker questions, company social events, and coffee chats.

Here is a list of example ice-breaker questions to help you get started:

  • What are your hobbies outside of work?
  • What does your perfect day off look like?
  • Who is your favourite artist?
  • What is your favourite genre of music?
  • Do you like to travel?
  • Where have you travelled to?
  • If you could meet any historical figure, who would you meet?
  • If you could live in another generation, which one would you choose?
  • What is your favourite restaurant?
  • What is your least favourite restaurant?
  • Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?
  • Would you rather be able to teleport or time travel?
  • What has been your favourite project to work on?
  • What is your favourite part about your job?

8 Improve communication

Learning good communication skills is very important. According to Lauren Landry, Harvard Business Review contributor, there are 8 essential communication skills for leaders:

  1. Be willing to adapt your style of communication
  2. Become an active listener
  3. Be transparent 
  4. Be clear
  5. Ask open-ended questions
  6. Communicate with empathy
  7. Use open body language
  8. Give and receive feedback

How to avoid failure with your New Year’s resolutions

Now that we’ve helped you formulate some New Year’s resolutions, let’s help you learn how to achieve them. Remember, we don’t want to fall into the 88% of people who fail to achieve their resolutions each year!

1 Create (and celebrate) milestones

Although we told you that resolutions are more qualitative achievements, that doesn’t mean that you can’t create milestones. For example, every 3 months you can reflect on how you have been working towards your resolutions and celebrate that 3-month milestone. And, even if you haven’t been working towards it as much as you hoped you would by the 3-month milestone, it can also serve as a reminder to work harder at achieving your resolutions.

2 Make your resolutions public

Sharing your New Year’s resolutions with your team will help foster teamwork. Rather than trying to achieve these resolutions on your own, you will have a team backing you up and helping you along the way. 

This will help you stay in the 12% of people who follow through with their resolutions because when you get busy and forget about them, your team can pick up the slack until you are ready to prioritize them again. 

3 Make it official

I’m sure we’ve all said to ourselves “this year, I’m going to …”. But did we really mean it? Rather than brainstorming some resolutions and forgetting about them a month into the year, make your resolutions official. What we mean by this is write them down, create a plan to achieve them, tell your team about them, etc. 

Creating a plan to achieve your resolutions will keep you on track. This could be simply reflecting on your progress or setting aside time each week to work on your resolutions. We are all busy but using that as an excuse will get you nowhere… so make time!

4 Set (realistic) expectations and don’t overcommit

Setting realistic expectations will ensure that you don’t overwhelm yourself. Sometimes when the New Year starts, our motivation causes overcommitment. And while it’s great to have this motivation to commit to new resolutions, overcommitting to resolutions or committing to unrealistic resolutions will result in more stress and sometimes failure to achieve them.

So, it’s important to only take on what you can handle. Each person’s bandwidth is different, and you need to understand which resolutions are realistic for you to achieve before overcommitting yourself.

5 Use Fellow to keep track of progress

Rather than constantly wondering how much work you need to do to achieve your resolution, use Fellow to keep track of your progress. Also, updating your progress via Fellow will serve as motivation. When you can visually see the progress that you are making, it is easier to stay determined and feel a sense of accomplishment.

6 Keep asking why

Asking why you want to achieve your resolutions will also serve as motivation. Oftentimes we go into a New Year with a lot of determination and drive. However, naturally, that drive and determination begin to decline as we get busier and busier. So, asking why you set these resolutions will remind you of that drive and determination that you had and help motivate you to achieve them.

7 Don’t prioritize work over your well-being

Although it is easy to let work consume you, it is very important to remind yourself that your well-being is most important; Remember, you are no good if you are burnt out. So, use the parking lot method to prioritize. 

This method involves prioritizing important work while putting less important work in the “parking lot” for another time. This ensures that the extra work placed in the parking lot doesn’t get forgotten about but gets pushed to another time when you are less busy. So, if you have a really busy week and feel too busy to work on your resolutions, put your resolutions in the “parking lot” and focus on them when your load is less heavy. 

8 Don’t be afraid of change

Sometimes we fear change because it makes us uncomfortable, which is a completely natural reaction to have. But in order to grow, there needs to be change. So, learning how to alter your ways and cope with change will help you achieve your resolutions and better your team. 

“While it may not feel like it at the moment, a little bit of discomfort goes a long way in terms of personal development. Sure, no one likes feeling uncomfortable, but it’s a big part of improving your performance, creativity and learning in the long run.”

Sujan Patel, Forbes Contributor. 

Parting advice

Remember that 12% is a small number. So, while it is important to try to hit this goal, as long as you learned from it and grew, you still won! If you didn’t accomplish as much as you wanted to this year, learn what went wrong to help you achieve your resolutions the following year. 

For example, maybe you took on too much or set unrealistic resolutions. Whatever the case may be, don’t beat yourself up over it but rather learn from the experience. 

The New Year is just around the corner and what better way to start 2022 than by setting New Year’s resolutions for you and your team!