New Year’s Resolution… Oh Yea, I Made One of Those

new years resolution

You made a New Year’s resolution, right? No, I am not talking about the one about your weight loss. I am talking about the resolution you made for your company.

I know the year has barely started, but I am going to make a bet with you.

Drum roll please…You’ve already failed to achieve your New Year’s resolution!

That’s right, although the year just started, I can confidently say that you have already failed. Now, it doesn’t mean you can’t change this, but the changes you’ll have to make will have to be pretty drastic.

Step 1: Figure out what your goal really is

So, what’s your goal for 2010? If you are like me, you probably came up with a goal that has very little meaning. For example, mine was to make more money in 2010.

The problem with my goal, and probably yours too, is that it’s generic. So, what do you have to do? Refine it to make it something more tangible.

For example, the way my company can make more money is to release more products on the market. And the way we can increase the number of products we have on the market is to get our team to move faster.

So, what’s my real resolution for 2010? It’s to make my team more agile.

For the next few minutes, I want you to figure out your real resolution like I did.

Step 2: Get everyone on board

Your whole team has to be on board with your resolution. You can’t just expect to achieve it without having your team behind it.

Set up a brainstorming call with your team to come up with some unique ways to achieve your goal.

Once everyone is on board, plaster your resolution throughout your office. Change your desktop wallpaper to be your resolution. Have everyone write down the resolution on a piece of paper, and have them place that piece of paper on their fridge(s).

The reason you want to do this is because otherwise you and your team will forget about it. If you’re reminded about it on a regular basis, you’re more likely to work at achieving it.

Step 3: Break up your resolution

The main reason you’ve already failed to complete your resolution is because it’s too large. 78% of the people who make resolutions fail because their goals are too large. If you break your resolution into 12 smaller goals (one goal a month), that will help you accomplish your New Year’s resolution.

As I stated above, my goal was to make our company more agile. So, here is how we broke that up into 12 smaller goals:

  • January: Begin utilizing the lean startup methodology across our whole organization.
  • February: Figure out what we can do, without utilizing additional time from the “makers” in our company, so we can make a significant impact on our business today.
  • March: Sign up for a better project management system. Good project management systems can help you complete projects on time.
  • April: Work on fewer things by identifying and focusing on the few important things that will have the greatest impact on our business. By doing multiple things at once instead of focusing, we prevent ourselves from moving as quickly as we would like to.
  • May: Keep our daily calls to no longer than five minutes. This way everyone will be on the same page, and we won’t waste time on things that not everyone believes in.
  • June: Get customer feedback on a weekly, if not daily, basis. By doing this we will build stuff that our customers want and not waste time building things that no one wants.
  • July: Learn to live with releasing products that aren’t perfect. At the end of the day, nothing will ever be perfect, so we have to stop being perfectionists.
  • August: Make it a requirement that all company decisions have to be based around metrics and customer feedback.
  • September: Give team members ownership over specific projects. If people feel that they own something, they’ll be eager to put in more effort.
  • October: Have everyone spend a little more time communicating. Unlike most businesses, we rarely have meetings with each other, so this year we want to facilitate more communication to reduce the number of mistakes.
  • November: Get everyone in the habit of running RescueTime on their computers. This isn’t so we can see what people are doing. It’s so that team members can monitor their own behavior and cut out the things that are wasting time.
  • December: Bring our team together once a year. Because we have team members that live all around the world, it would be nice if everyone could be in one place for a few days. Bonding will help our company run more like a well-oiled machine.

When you look at the 12 goals above, you’ll notice that taken together, they’ll help make my company more nimble. Each one is very realistic, and many of them are dead simple.

You don’t have to create anything complex. The purpose of such plans is to create realistic goals that you’ll have the chance of achieving.

And most importantly, they all have to be goals that don’t take much time. You already have a busy day. If you add more time-consuming things, sooner or later you’ll make up an excuse and stop doing them.


Just because you’ve already failed to achieve your New Year’s resolution doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it still. You just have to change your approach and the way you are thinking about it.

To recap, here are the things you need to do:

  1. Figure out what your real goal is. What’s the thing you have to do to achieve it?
  2. Get your team pumped up! If your team isn’t on board, you’ll never achieve your goals.
  3. Break up your resolution into 12 small goals. It’s hard to tackle a big problem, but it’s easy to tackle 12 tiny problems.

P.S. Do you have some business goals for your New Years Resolution? For help reaching themclick here.


  1. Neil,

    Made my resolution and already broke it.. This is not going to be a good year LOL.

    • lol…. well that’s okay, don’t quit yet, get back into the mix.

    • Kevin Chong Kok Sing :

      No, I don’t think so and not agree with you. Reversely, I am agree with Neil Patel point out must break up my resolution into 12 small resolution achieve it by month and more realistic to me to call action myself.

    • The year has just begun…You have all the time to accomplish your resolution.

      • Well it’s been 1 month now, but yes you still have all year to do it. However, with that type of mindset, chances of you actually doing it and not procrastinating are low.

  2. anshul agrawal :

    Hi Neil,

    Wonderful post and wish you a very happy new year! My new year resolution was not to take one, but after reading your post I have decided to break it! This means I will now make a resolution for the year 2010!


  3. Yesterday I just finish to read “Eat the frog” by Brian Tracy , a small but powerful book about time management. My wishes for this is year are: to speak less and to do more, working more, improve myself.
    Baby steps 🙂 .

  4. scott edward walker :

    Great post, Neil – and Happy New Year (Decade). Last week, I wrote a post for VentureHacks re 5 New Year’s resolutions for entrepreneurs: I thought you might find it interesting. My favorite is “work your balls off.” Take care, Scott

  5. This is a great post! I specifically like August’s where decisions are based on metrics, something measurable. This is a great idea because if I was part of your team, I would know what to expect because there is consistency in the decision making – take the variables of politics and human nature out of the system of the business.

    I have a question regarding June’s: how do you plan on getting customer feedback on a specific time frame? It would seem that you wouldn’t have control over their feedback response time.

    • Well the feedback would be based on what had happened up until that point you see. By that time, we would make the appropriate changes.

    • I think it’s a very good plan. In June you will be focusing only on getting customer feedback and this way you can find out how the business evolved until that point and make the necessary adjustments if it’s the case.

      • Right, making adjustments are perfectly normal… don’t ever get upset at yourself if you see yourself altering your goals.

  6. Hi Neil. Happy New Year, may it sprout quick and green 🙂

    I think part of the reason why New Year Resolutions fail is because we wait until the new year to make them and of course, expect ourselves to fail; some self-fulfilling prophesy of modern times.

    I liked the part about breaking it all down to small, achievable and manageable objectives. I think I’ll get to drafting something along these lines and see what I can come up with..

  7. So far so good for me, I can honestly say I am on track for both my business goals as well as my personal goals, for now. But I definitely see the benefits in your advice and well use it to keep course.

    • Well that’s good to hear… you’re probably 1 of the few people that have actually followed through with what you have committed to.

  8. Ryan Waggoner :

    Regarding the issue of keeping the goal in mind, I find that just posting the goal somewhere can actually have the opposite effect, because it blends in and you don’t notice it anymore. In both my personal and professional life, I find it easy to zoom through months of hard work and suddenly realize that I’ve gone weeks without thinking of my carefully-created goal plan that’s hanging on my wall. I now specifically review my short-term (monthly and 90 day) goals every day, and I review my longer-term goals on a weekly or monthly basis. We’re implementing a similar strategy at our startup to ensure we all stay on the same page and keep our eye on the target.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Perfect! You doing what you’re doing is definitely a powerful way for you to take action on succeeding at a high level. If your opinion is that…that format of goal creating doesn’t work for you, then by all means change it. If you’ve discovered something that has worked at a high level… do it!

  9. Kevin Donaldson :

    Nice post! And to be truly agile: reassess you plan each month – it is possible you may want to re-prioritize these based on learning’s from the previous month. Also – you could think of these goals as a prioritized list of impediments to increasing your agility – if you are ahead of schedule – don’t wait for the next month – pull in the next goal/impediment to work on. The faster you remove your impediments to being agile the more quickly it will happen.

    • Exactly…. the sooner you remove challenges like those from creating resistance in your life, the easier it will be for you to make it happen.

  10. Nice post Neil

    I inspired from you post & now I will set my goals for New Year.

  11. I’ve set a ton of goals for 2010. I think it’s great advice to constantly look and see how you are doing. I think too many people set goals, then stop looking at them until Dec 31st. It’s hard to achieve the goals when you forget them a few days after the year starts.

    • Not only do they stop looking at them till Dec. 31st…they stop looking at them after January 2nd… People need to make small commitments so they can take little gains compared to trying to take massive leaps.

  12. evden eve nakliyat :

    I liked the part about breaking it all down to small, achievable and manageable objectives. I think I’ll get to drafting something along these lines and see what I can come up with..

  13. We’re implementing a similar strategy at our startup to ensure we all stay on the same page and keep our eye on the target.

  14. Chris Peterson :

    Neil Patel, I liked your resolution in 2010 also you’ve wisely explain how the people fail to achieve their resolution. I’m appreciating your post. In case of company, it is necessary to build strong team to achieve our resolution.
    I can say if we have patience and faith then we can achieve our resolution

    • Patience is something that almost every human being wishes they had… with patience, you’ll be able to create self discipline.

      • You’re right Neil. Patience does create self-discipline. One way to learn patience is to not be so emotional. That way you can think clearer and realize what’s good for you and what’s not instead of making decision based on how you feel “at that moment”.

  15. Hi Neil,

    I have not written or made resolutions for years. What I have done however is written 10 major goals I want to achieve. I have then broken those 10 goals down to smaller quarterly goals on the steps that need to be done to achieve the bigger goals. And finally I have then broken down the quarterly goals to daily, weekly and monthly goals in order to take the baby steps needed to reach the bigger goals.

    I found this technique from reading Brian Tracey’s “Goals” book. Over the years I have found that by the end of the year I have achieved about half of what I have wanted. This I celebrate as it is always better than not achieving at all and I can always improve.

    Great Article.

    See you back here soon!

    Jacinta 😀

    • Perfect!!! You’re doing a great job at what you’re supposed to be doing. Breaking them down in that fashion is exactly how you will achieve most of what you put your mind to.

  16. Great post. I fear that I’ve made goals that are actionable but I won’t have time to do them. They’re not necessarily to do with my business model or form, they’re more to do with my output and what I do for income.

    Hopefully everything will work out.

    You can read about my plans here: Planning for 2010.

    • Thanks for sharing that with us Luke… I just read them. Good luck to you in following through with everything this year!

  17. I made only one resolution, going to study Computer engineering ( last year i was studing medicine and broke it 🙂 )

    • lol…. Well that’s fantastic… just break it up into smaller goals so you can better help yourself accomplish them.

  18. Kevin Cimring :

    Hi Neil, once again – great advice. In our startup we also have people on different sides on the globe, so your point about keeping the team together and on the same page resonates. Everyone needs to be pulling the cart in the same direction and aware of what the objectives are.

    We make good use of tools like Google docs, GoToMeeting and Skype in order to keep work efforts tightly integrated.

    Best wishes for 2010.

  19. I actually never thought of breaking it all up into 12, so silly of me, but I think it will work better that way with less to do and a check on whats happening, rather then procasinating.

  20. On a personal level the problem with New Year resolutions is the word year. That scares many people off. Start by doing New Day resolutions.

    • New day resolutions will be boring.. at least there is something new about new year resolutions..

    • Lol…. that’s a good though Roy… change it from new years resolution to new resolutions for that day (week, month)

      I like it!

    • I don’t see any problem in the world year. People should think about their goals and try to realize them one by one.

      • Yes, but they should also break them down to make them a lot less intimating than they would be without being broken down.

  21. Neil, your Escape Poverty link at the top of your blog returns a bad request.

  22. David Hutchison :

    Thanks for this great article. Of course many people have suggested goals be measurable, and time sensitive and so on – all much better than a generic “I want to be a better athlete” or “I want to make more money.”

    This article though lays out a much better, more specific way of looking at things. What are the micro-goals that will get me to my significant goal. I great new way of thinking about things.

    • Thanks for the great praise David. It ends up helping a lot when you break your goal down in smaller chunks. I just laid it out the way it worked best for me.

  23. Thanks for sharing the RescueTime link. I will try this software to stop wasting so much time.

  24. Alejandro Cabrera :

    Great advice,

    It’s like working with a living organism where every cell has to do their own job.

    Actually i had problems tackling one big problem but now that i now, i can tackle it in 12 small ones. Nice!

    Thanks brother.

  25. I feel new year resolutions at least for a business should anyways not be any different from what they keep doing. The focus of a business should always be to find good opportunity areas and they should always be breaking that into parts to achieve it. But I do admit, working on new year resolutions is fun and very exciting, at least till the time you keep it.

    • The cut off date when most people stop following their resolution is January 15… it is fun to make one, but unfortunately not so fun to keep one apparently 😉

      • Had some really fun and challenging resolutions for me and my business.. and still keeping them..its Jan 26th already 🙂 so I am doing better than the usual cut-offs. That’s a change 😉

  26. Psoriasis Ointment :

    I’m yet to write my resolution but just to add in what you said, we should understand that in making our goals for the year, we should make SMART goals. That is :

    Sounds like a cliche but it does apply also in our lives.

  27. I have made a resolution that no day in 2010 should be the same. It means there should be daily improvements in all.

  28. I also made a new year resolution. But struggling to keep it. It’s not easy to keep up the resolution.

    • It isn’t, which is exactly why you should try to break your resolutions into months or weeks or whatever works for you.

  29. That is a top post. Last time I made a new year resolution and nothing of it materialised. This time round, I’ve decided not to talk about any resolutions and just get whatever I want to do done. It’s the actions that count, isn’t it? Was really nice reading through though.

    • Thanks La Digue… you don’t have to NOT talk about a resolution because you know you want follow it…. instead talk about one and DO follow it.

  30. Neil, I noticed you mentioned Liquid Planner for project management, have you also looked into Basecamp?

  31. It is like eating that elephant — one bite at a time. I have to admit that my goals are too broad. Then I get myself into the details really deep.

    Good ideas here. My biggest take away was the customer feedback. Most important. Need to make that happen.

  32. Jose│Internet Marketing Coach :

    “If you break your resolution into 12 smaller goals (one goal a month) that will lead you to accomplishing your New Year’s resolution.”

    That’s SMART, Neil!



  33. Kevin Chong Kok Sing :

    Hi, Neil Patel.

    I am Kevin here. Good point out what to do separate into twelve months one years to achieve the goal and resolution.

    My 2010 new year resolution :

    1. Earn money online through ebooks, hyip, blog, website
    2. Grow member of my social bookmarking website
    3. Take travel to China to see my girlfriend
    4. Drink more water same as you
    5. Do execise when I am at free time or offday.
    6. Harworking in current jobs
    7. Take more vitamin to strong my body and bones.

  34. Making a New Year resolution and keeping it can only be as a result of including any changes into your daily routine.

  35. Hey Neil,

    Excellent post buddy. I think the clearer and more detailed the goal is, the easier it is too achieve. I also find it much easier to make plans when I really know what I want in detail.

    I like how you go from step 1, a large goal, and to step 3 where you break it down month to month. It really makes the goal more achievable.


  36. Satria Nugraha :

    Help and information useful for anyone who is making a resolution or resolutions confused what is right for this year. I saw with minify of resolution-makers can make a resolution to be focused and more easily in the achievement of key objectives.

    • a mini resolution maker? All you need to do Satria is commit to a goal. Then break it down into segments so that you aren’t intimidated by going after it.

  37. Olugbenga Aijotan :

    Ahhh….New year resolutions can sometimes be annoying. I made some this year myself…and i am already scared that i may not be able to achieve them.

    However, i think writing down our goals and also creating action plans can also help out in ensuring that the goals are achieved.

    In my own case, i use a mind mapping software that is quite useful…

    • It does help, but most importantly is breaking them down to so that you aren’t intimidated by what you ultimately want to achieve.

  38. I also did in the same way and also sticked a paper in front of my seat.

  39. Please Tweet this message or email your subscribers.

    “Text the word “Haiti” to 90999. A $10 donation will be made to the American RED CROSS”

  40. Ahh..that was really a very awesome post and as it says that you might have broken your resolutions; i have. Even my blogging resolutions are broken :

    Will now get serious about it..:|

    • lol… blogging resolutions are kind of difficult but hey, that’s why you should choose something you’re really passionate about.

  41. My resolution was to blog at least once a week. Fortunately, I have been able to stick to it, but just barely.

    I actually have to post by today or else my new years resolution will be kaput. 😛

    • Hey even if you mess up once or twice… that’s just what happens. No big deal, don’t let it stop you from blogging.

  42. Rolland Castro :

    Hey Niel,

    I wanted to thank you for helping me out around New Years. Keep up the writing, its very inspirational in a “Let me tell you how it is…” sort of way.



  43. Darkmans Darkroom :

    Neil, was listening to your interview with Darren Rowse and decided to come check out your blog. I tried to do a search, and the thing keeps taking me to the Quick Sprout Pro sign-up page, which is not what I want. Id really like to peruse your blog but that search feature is annoying as hell.
    I actually had a couple questions about some things you said on SEO in the interview and wanted to search your blog to see if they were in here somewhere.
    aka Darkman

  44. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I do make goals, review them frequently, and update them at least quarterly, along with following action plans to achieve them.

    • Great! New years reslotuions aren’t necessary… especially since 80% of people stop following them after a few weeks. Good to hear that you’re on top of things though.

      • Pro Seo Blueprint :

        Enen, I think so. The new years resolution always be negotiable by people. The important things should be the goal of life to maintain it until successful.

  45. Making resolutions is a good way towards your goals. But we must stick to it.

  46. The same reason I like this post is the same reason I really don’t like ZenHabits type stuff, which offers more philosophy than actionable improvements. When a goal becomes extremely long-term, it can become essentially immeasurable, as we will inevitably become disconnected from the importance and rational of reaching the goal in the first place. By breaking down the goals as Neil does here, we can stay connected to the immediacy of the goal.

    Harvard Business Review’s recent motivation study noted that showing progress is the best way to motivate someone – moving towards conclusion and finishing a much shorter goal is a far superior path to doing this in comparison to the year-long journey “New Years Resolutions” require.

  47. Technology Blog :

    My resolution lasted 2 days too! And great resolutions you’ve got setup there, Neil. Wish you all success, this year! 🙂

  48. Pharmacy First :

    Thanks 🙂

  49. woohooo!! Good for you! Keep it up… I know it’s hard, but a little bit of pain is worth more years to live.

  50. visith the spa dude :

    i didnt make a new years resolution this year because i knew i wouldnt be able to do it hahaha

  51. Chase Cashwell :

    I havent made one in years…you just gotta make it happen

  52. I wonder why you put giving members ownership not before September. If they got it earlier, they would have time to put more effort. I like the idea of breaking the resolution into smaller goals because each achieved point can give satisfaction and drive to achieve the others.

  53. Web Marketing Company :

    These are really nice and creative new year ‘s resolution…………

  54. I made a bunch of resolutions. Now I’m needing to spend the time to define and detail each one of them.

  55. I love the idea of breaking it into 12 monthly, smaller, more achievable goals. Big goals can seem so daunting…

    Thanks for the idea!

  56. I think the key to your article is that most companies do not remind their employees what their goal is.

    Also if you ask the boss they will say “to make money of course” and you are right it is too generic.

    Good post

    • Yes, as a boss, you need to consistently motivate your employees and keep them going and focused on what’s important.

  57. Mid Mo Mortgage :

    My goal for 2010: stay mature in my relationship and work on it enough to eventually ask the girl to marry me.

    This might be a long year, haha.

  58. I seem to keep most of my work related New Year’s resolutions, but none of personal ones! Maybe I have to approach personal goals as systematically as work-related goals.

  59. I have a question regarding June’s: how do you plan on getting customer feedback on a specific time frame? It would seem that you wouldn’t have control over their feedback response time.

  60. Mac data recovery :

    What I do keep up to my new year resolution is to tell about the resolution to someone who hates me a lot like for e.g. my boss. What it results in is when ever I tend to relax a bit in the resolution he sarcastically reminds me of the resolution and it really helps me a lot

  61. Home Water Dispensers :

    Great post again Neil!! For the first time I have seen breaking the big New Year resolution into small chunks of monthly resolutions! I don’t know why I have’nt applied this planning these many years!

    • Well you probably just weren’t aware… and that’s perfectly fine. Just be sure to actually use this strategy with goals you set from now on.

  62. WeightLifting Workout Routines :

    I dont make new years resolutions. I never do them so what i do is i focus my time on one thing and until i finish that thing i will not move on. For instance my job right now is to make alot money internet marketing.

    • You need to be CLEAR with exactly what you want to accomplish. You don’t have to make a NYR to become successful so good for you for having something already in tact.

  63. CNA Training USA :

    Thanks for this useful info

  64. Good idea. Breaking the resolution into smaller chunks is definitely the way to go.

  65. Imrozz Web Design :

    New year resolution is to stop smoking. Lol, many says that but they never do it in practise.

    • If you’re still on your resolution, you’re actually doing something most people aren’t. … since most people stop following it by the second week of the year.

  66. From experience, the best way to make sure you don’t fail your resolution is to set a realistic but not too easy goal and then to be able to break it down into smaller goals. Once you are done with that, draw out a step but step plan on how to achieve those smaller goals. Of course, a timeline must be set for those goals too otherwise you will never get around to doing it. That’s how I was able to achieve the goals of my resolution last year. 🙂

    • The reason why people forget about their goals is because it’s either not important enough,or they’re not committed to their timeline.

    • senior homes :

      @Detox Guru

      I agree to you. Setting up a goal with a step by step pattern is the best. Then gradually achieve it. 🙂 This is another great topic by Neil. 🙂

      Till then,

  67. Bağlama Büyüsü :

    The reason why people forget about their goals is because it’s either not important enough,or they’re not committed to their timeline.

    • Sometimes the goals just lose some value and it’s time for the person to revisit what they want and further clarify.

  68. Hi Neil, my resolution for this year was to improve my time management . I’ve set this target in order to help me with my college work and, ultimately, to try and achieve better grades. Am I on the right lines with my target setting?

  69. resources for teachers :

    Resolutions are good but only if we really succeed in achieving them. If we have a resolution and nothing works out it can make us give up, stop believing in ourselves and generally make us feel down. So I try not to promise myself something that is unavailable, a smaller goal which is easier to achieve is something we should go for.

    • Well you don’t know if you don’t put yourself out there. If you don’t see yourself achieving the goals you set, you may have to re-evaluate what they are and what you’re doing to achieve them.

  70. My time management has improved and, hopefully, I will reap the rewards in my summer examinations. I’m now at the stage of planning practically everything I do and this means I can allocate time appropriately to different tasks. I was keen to ensure that I’d got the right structure to my target setting – i.e. I have a main goal, though within that I’ve identified a specific area to work on.

    • You will absolutely reap the rewards. With time management, it’s all about your discipline. Keep doing what you’re doing consistently.

  71. i have heard that a good way is to have instead of resolutions, something like time commitmants , so its like , in november i will weight x kilos, if you have a time limit its easier to do stuff

  72. Yea splitting your goals into smaller achievable goals I think is a great way so you can get success. Everyone makes the goal. Lose weight.

    Instead how about – 3 time a week I will Jog on the treadmill
    Add a healthy snack to your week. Like fruit or something.

    I see what you are saying and it all depends on how healthy you are already. Seeing those are my goals I am not too healthy. lol

  73. elektronik terazi :

    My new year resolution was not to take one, but after reading your post I have

  74. For instance my job right now is to make alot money internet marketing.

  75. Wow I am glad I cam and looked around in the archives. The business I am in now is just taking off, and this has given me a lot to think about. Not only to make an attainable goal but one that isn’t so limiting. To also take it one month at a time as to overwhelm.

  76. This is a great idea because if I was part of your team, I would know what to expect because there is consistency in the decision making – take the variables of politics and human nature out of the system of the business.

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