New Year, New Results?

The first month of the year brings with it cold weather and a clean slate. Anything's possible, and the sky is the limit. Or is it?

For many people, the sky isn't the limit. Their mind is the limit. The boundaries of their perception of what's possible shrink back to the constricted thoughts of what they did last year and doubts floating in the unknown of the year ahead. And for most, they approach the new calendar with a cautious hope for marginal improvements this year. Realistic and yet, miserably, contemptibly inadequate.

Too often, we enter the new year clinging to the remnants of our past successes and attempt to do more of the same, hoping for pretty good results. But as Albert Einstein said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." We don't consider ourselves insane, but aren't we doing exactly what Einstein described?

To eliminate insanity this year, follow this formula: New growth comes from new thinking; New thinking causes new behaviors; New behaviors lead to new results. To prepare your business for new results this year, ask the following questions:

  1. What are top three goals we need to achieve this year?
  2. What are the strategies that will get us to these goals?
  3. What behaviors do we need to master to execute these strategies?
  4. What current behaviors don't support these strategies and need to be eliminated?
  5. What metrics can we use to track our progress on these behaviors?

It's easy to come up with lots of reasons to worry about how we'll do this year. Instead, focus on your goals, strategies and behaviors. Behaviors, whether they be good or bad, become habits. And in the rush of activities that usher in the new year, it's easy to forget what's truly important. Call me crazy, but not insane: your destiny is determined by your daily habits.

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Rich is the founder and CEO of the Strategic Thinking Institute, and has helped more than 50,000 managers around the world to develop their strategic thinking capabilities. A former Chief Strategy Officer and professor of strategy, he brings both real-world experience and practical expertise to help groups build their strategy skills. Rich is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author on strategy and has appeared on ABC, NBC and FOX TV. Sign-up to receive your free copy of Strategic Thinker by visiting