Welcome to 2014! Hard to believe another year has passed us by. If you're like … well, just about anybody, you spent at least part of the month of December thinking about how your 2014 is going to be different from your 2013. Maybe you've even got a list of resolutions you're planning to tackle over the next few months.
The most popular resolutions, year after year, include things like eating healthier, getting fit/losing weight, drinking less, managing debt, managing stress, quitting smoking, saving money and volunteering, among others.
According to a study from the University of Scranton published in 2012 in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year's Resolutions, but only 8 percent of people are successful in achieving those resolutions. Statistics like this might make you think twice about bothering to resolve on anything in future new years. But don't let the numbers stop you. Or, before you let yourself be influenced, read this statistic: According to the same study, those who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't.
Failure might be likely, but it is not inevitable.
Now, let's talk a little bit about some smart resolutions for 2014.
I don't know about you, but this year I'm throwing out the tired, old clichéd resolutions. At 41 years old, if I haven't gotten around to eating an apple a day yet, maybe it's just not going to happen. Why not join me? Instead of boring resolutions, what if we made a list of traits we wanted to embody—especially in our professional lives—over the coming year?
For starters, how about if we all try to embrace a little humility? If you read the guest column authored by Michelle Smith, you'll find plenty of reasons why humility is a smart trait to embody in your professional life, and you'll also find some suggestions on how to go about becoming more humble, if you're not already.
How about a second professional personality trait? I'd name respect for yourself and others as key. Think of it this way: You want to motivate your employees to do their best, you want to motivate your customers to give you more business—if you approach both audiences with respect and humility, you're more likely to succeed.
Let's add one more: curiosity. Sure, curiosity kills the cat, but people with no curiosity are, let's face it, tremendously boring. And curiosity will help you improve business results, even in small ways.
If you are curious about what drives your program participants, rather than assuming you already know it all, you will approach them differently. For an example of how that might play out, read Joe Zanone's guest column. The column is about why luxury matters in incentive programs, but hidden within that broader theme is the idea that we're all different. Our ideas of what luxury means will vary, depending on a number of factors. Because of this variation, what I see as a luxurious reward could be vastly different from your view. By embracing curiosity and seeking out the ideas and opinions of others, you diversify your own views, and your knowledge of how to motivate and reward—and with what—will improve.
Humility, respect for others and curiosity. Three traits that might not make the top of most people's lists of aspirations and resolutions, but laudable goals for the year to come.