Establishing New Year’s resolutions in the workplace is a great way for management to generate a team environment. Resolutions can increase productivity and generate a chain reaction of positive improvements in the office.

But as a business manager, how do you create realistic, achievable resolutions that everyone will enjoy reaching together? Here are a few ideas to help you out.

Resolutions or Goals?

If you haven’t heard the buzz about New Year’s resolutions, let me gently lower the boom for you; only 8% of people who set resolutions are able to stick to them the entire year. That means a whopping 92% of people aren’t able to maintain their resolve.

With statistics like this, it’s understandable to feel defeated before you even implement your resolutions. This is why it’s important to establish effective resolutions that will positively impact the entire workplace and not just individuals.

Let’s first define the word resolution.

Some people suggest treating your New Year’s resolution like you would treat a goal. But that might not be the best formula if you’re creating a resolution for a group.

Goals often come with deadlines and definitive details. If you were to approach your team with a statement like, “We’re aiming for a 5% increase in sales this quarter,” that would be a goal. It’s a clear and measurable objective with a fairly short deadline.

Resolutions, on the other hand, are usually more subjective and more personal.

For example, if you were to approach your team with this statement, “Let’s make the ordering process smoother,” you have just offered them a resolution. It’s a much more open concept and usually comes with a longer process than a definitive goal does.

If you’re familiar with the concept of OKRs, think of your resolution as the Objective and goals are more along the lines of the Key Results. These two concepts can of course go hand-in-hand. But keeping your resolution more of a quantitative statement, rather than a measurable goal, will provide more flexibility and a better chance of sustainability.

Implementing and Maintaining

Task List

Once you have established your team’s New Year’s resolution, how do you squeeze yourselves into that elite 8% of people who see it through?

Well, here’s where establishing a system is going to be your saving grace. In order to create longevity, you must make the resolution a part of your team’s daily routine. Put a simple system in place to help you manage your resolution.

Let’s run with the idea of “making the ordering process smoother.” Say you have a team of four employees and they each play an integral role in your business’s ordering process.

Often times, one person is waiting on another to complete a task before they can move forward with their own. And occasionally people assume everyone is on schedule so they surge forward, unaware that there have been unexpected delays or changes.

To make your resolution manageable, have each member of your team send daily morning updates to their teammates.

Even if no progress has been made on the matter at hand, it’s better to receive a note that simply reads, “Still waiting on a reply from the distributor,” than to feel left in the dark or to move forward without knowledge. And be sure that you are included in each chain of messages.

This small, but impactful, gesture will soon become old hat and your team will be grateful for the shared information. They will likely have a stronger understanding of just how much they rely on each other to be communicative and diligent, which can in turn create a feeling of community.

Making the New Year Last All Year

As I mentioned before, resolutions are more of an open concept, rather than a specified goal. This makes them a much more beneficial objective. A goal, by definition is set up to end in only one of two ways: success or failure. If you aim for a 5% sales increase and achieve 4.9%, you have failed to reach your goal. Resolutions shouldn’t carry this kind of stress.

In the ordering process scenario, the resolution was open ended and moldable. There are many ways it could have been addressed. Keeping your team’s resolution a light-weight concept will increase their chances of seeing it through to the end.

Employee recognition is another wonderful way to keep up the momentum!

Most people pledge their New Year’s resolution with a powerful sense of exuberance. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm often fizzles faster than their midnight bubbly. Keep the excitement flowing by continually celebrating your team’s efforts and achievements.

For example, the first time every member of your team remembers to send their daily memos for a full week, you can celebrate by buying coffee or movie tickets for everyone. You can also celebrate by doing something together. Plan a lunch outing or team bowling after work.

Delivering occasional rewards, or even kind acknowledgements, will keep the excitement thriving amongst your team, and increase the likelihood of maintaining the resolution.

Resolutions Don’t Have to Be Work Related to Improve the Workplace

If you’re not setting New Year’s resolutions specifically for the workplace, you can still be encouraging and show support for your employees by helping with their personal resolutions. Reach out to your employees individually and ask if they’ve established a resolution for themselves and if there is any way you can help them stay on track.

EncouragementFor instance, one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthier. If some of the employees in your office have decided to do so, you can help by paying more attention to the type of foods that are brought into the workplace by management.

If you provide vending machines with packaged snack food, consider putting a portion of the cost toward fresh fruit in the breakroom. Make sure to offer bottled or filtered water and low sugar drinks options to encourage your employees and keep their daily temptations at a minimum.

Instead of having events catered by companies that deliver rich indulgences, find companies that offer lighter more nutritious options. Just as you would cater to employees who have food allergies, you can support your employees who have pledged to make heathier eating a daily part of their life.

Maybe you won’t be able to help every employee with their personal resolution, but simply offering your support can make a world of difference. Letting your employees know that they are seen, heard and supported will likely increase their desire to excel at their job.

Lasting Resolutions Create Lasting Positivity

The bottom line is that New Year’s resolutions are tough to stick with. But they are usually made because some sort of positive change is needed.

Applying resolutions or simply recognizing them in the workplace can strengthen a team atmosphere and form a more sincere bond between you and your employees.

The most important thing to remember about resolutions, is that they can help generate and maintain an environment that supports a healthy work-life balance. And leaving out the “success or failure” dynamic will likely result in increased productivity and higher employee retention.