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Don’t ditch resolutions, set (and keep) them as a team

Alex McMurray

December 6, 2021

Don’t ditch resolutions, set (and keep) them as a team

Only 8% of Americans who set New Year’s resolutions keep them. A measly 8%. Most resolutions seem set to fail from the get go.

Yet, failure isn’t inevitable. 

One of the reason’s resolutions fail is they tend to be solo missions, and often ones that don’t affect or impact others. No one else is invested in our success, nor are they there to do the hard work alongside us. When things get hard, it’s easy to slip.

But when we set resolutions as teams, we all shoulder the weight of that commitment together. 

Humans are inherently social creatures. We learn better together. We achieve more together. And we make changes better together. If we know something is important to others, it’s easier to commit (and stay committed); we’re hardwired not to let our friends and teammates down. 

What’s more, it’s energizing to contribute to building momentum and to see how we’re making progress together.

So why capitalize on this New Year?

Symbols matter. Few moments symbolize resets and blank slates as powerfully as the new year. Sure, teams can come together any time to commit to new habits and ways of working. But that January 1energy is palpable and has most people feeling open and excited for potential change.

After nearly two years of fragmented and fractured work environments and tumultuous business results, teams are exhausted, depleted and for the most part, in auto pilot. If you’re feeling that, give your teams a fresh start by having them reimagine what they want their work experience to be in 2022. 

At a time when people are leaving their jobs in search of meaning and belonging, this is the perfect opportunity to help everyone in your team feel part of something bigger than themselves and take ownership over the experience they want.

Resolutions that matter are more likely to stick

I like to set the stage with my team by asking:

     - How will we show up for each other? 
     - What will it mean to deliver as a collective rather than a group of individuals?
     - What do we need from one another to feel supported and valued?
     - How will we challenge each other?

Sure, the questions will be nuanced team by team. The trick is to shift the focus from the big quantitative goals you’ll hit this year (things like sales targets, revenue goals, product delivery, etc.), and instead explore who you will be as a collective when you work towards those goals.

It’s important to then move the conversation down from the broad to the concrete, identifying 1-3 specific resolutions or new habits you’ll collectively work toward in 2022.

For the greatest chance of success, tease out resolutions that:

     - Focus on changing something in the now 
     - Have clear milestones and small step changes
     - Are grounded in something everyone cares about 

Throughout the year check in on your progress, celebrate the wins, and support each other when you fall short. A miss doesn’t mean the resolution failed; instead it provides moments to recommit and cheer each other on. 

New Year's resolutions get a lot of flack. But if done right, this January can be a powerful moment for your team to reset, recommit, reconnect and re-energize for an exceptional 2022.