So let me ask you, have you made your “New Year’s Resolutions”?  I have a recommendation for you– STOP IT.  But why, for you make new resolutions every year.  There is part of the problem, it becomes a vicious cycle. So stop making New Year’s Resolutions that just don’t work.

A former client that owned several health club facilities said that he sells more memberships in the months of December and January than the rest of the year.  Why is this?  This is due to our human desire to get in shape and change our body image.  He said is that you will find his facility packed to capacity during the month of January and February- with long lines at the machines and the classes full of people.  But, wait until March or April– 70% of the people that started working-out in January just QUIT!!

The problem with making New Year’s Resolution is that it sets you up for failure.  The best test for you is to determine if have S.M.A.R.T goals.  S.M.A.R.T. refers to goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Framed.

Specific: Goals need to be specific. Often we set goals that are so loose, therefore it’s nearly impossible to judge whether you achieve these goals or not. For example, a statement like “I wish I will lose weight” is too vague. How will you know if and when you’ve reached your goal? Setting a goal like, “I will lose two pounds each and every week for this year”, is more specific. At the end of each week and month it will be a simple matter of weights and measures: take your measurements and get on the scale.

Measurable: Goals need to be measurable. For example, many of us want to increase our number of contacts. But, “meeting new clients” is an ambiguous statement. A clearer objective is “I will meet three new prospects each week, and at least one of each of these prospects will become a client.”  It’s a simple, concrete goal. This makes it easy to see if you hit your target.

Achievable: Goals need to be reasonable and achievable. Nearly everyone has tried to drop a few pounds at one time or another. Often their success or failure depends on setting practical goals. Losing 15 pounds in 30 days is unrealistic (unless you’re planning a medical procedure). Losing two pounds per week is reasonable and achievable. So in order to lose just two pounds per week, you decrease your caloric intake by 7000 calories per week (a reduction of 3500 calories equals one pound of weigh loss) and you can do this by reducing your daily intake by just 1000 calories and increasing your activity. Make it easy, enjoyable, and achievable; however don’t set yourself up for failure by setting goals that are out of reach.

Realistic: Goals need to be realistic. Guess what, we are not 18 years old anymore, so stop thinking you can still do everything as you once did. As adults, we learn that while we can achieve a great deal, you can’t have it all at once– the point here is to reasonably pace yourself.  It’s important to honestly assess yourself and your personal and physical limitations. Also, do you have the ability and commitment to make your dream come true?  For example, you may love to play tennis, but do you have the time, ability, talent and commitment to become a pro? So be honest with yourself.

Time Framed (and Tested): Goals need to have a specific time frame. Having a set amount of time will give your goals structure. For example, many of us want to find a new job or start their own business. Some people spend a lot of time talking about what they want to do, someday. But, without a specific goal and date there is no sense of urgency, no reason to take any action today. Having a specific time frame gives you the motivation to start today.  It also helps you monitor your progress during the process.

I devised a quick and simple 2014 Personal Goal Setting Exercise . . . .

1-  Write down your ‘magical’ and memorable moments for the past year.  Identify those moments that will live with you the rest of your life.  It may be something simple as having a ‘belly laugh’ with an old friend.  For example, seeing your newborn grandson or granddaughter for the first time.  It might be getting that promotion you worked so hard the past 5 years. ______________________________________________________________________



2-   So what didn’t work in 2012?  Now this is a tough one.  What will you do differently?  What will you NEVER do again?  What do you need to change? ______________________________________________________________________



3-   So what are you committed to changing this year?  This is a tough one.  You need to get very specific and detailed- remember these must be S.M.A.R.T. goals.   The bigger the goal, the more commitment and measurement needs to take place.  So, break these goals into smaller manageable goals, or KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators).  But also clearly identify the consequences if you don’t achieve your goal and ultimate cost in your life?  Put these goals in front of your ‘nose’, so they are seen on a daily basis.  One client puts the S.M.A.R.T. goals above the bathroom toilet, so they are seen each and every day. ______________________________________________________________________



4-   Set up a Daily Ritual.  An example of a Daily Ritual is, “When I wake up every morning, the first thing I will do is go for a 45 minute run”.  Another might be, “I set 5 hours every weekend that I can read one book per week”.  What you need to do is clearly identify what you need to change, and make the change.  Changes start with Your Daily Ritual.  ______________________________________________________________________



5-   Make a list of every person that you will share your S.M.A.R.T. goals with, including key persons within your organization, your spouse or partner, your friends, and your Business Mentor.  Keep in mind that your ’accountability partner’ will agree to hold you to the goal, and ask that you supply regular accountability, and also keep you accountable to making the necessary changes in your life or business to attain these  S.M.A.R.T. goals ______________________________________________________________________





Are rich people just good with money or is there something a little deeper contributing to their success? Most people would agree that certain lifestyle choices and daily habits are as valuable in the quest for wealth as a sound understanding of finances.

A recent study indicated that a whopping 21 percent of Americans see winning the lottery as an important wealth-building strategy. A similar study of Canadians showed that about 12 percent were counting on winning a big lottery so they could have enough retirement income to retire in style.

There are many things you should never do if financial security is one of your main goals.  So what do the rich do every day that the poor don’t do?  Tom Corley,, outlines a few of the differences between the habits of the rich and the poor.

  1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day.
  2. 23% of wealthy gamble versus 52% of poor people.
  3. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing a single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.
  4. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically four days a week. Only 23% of the poor exercise.
  5. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work versus 5% of poor people.
  6. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list versus 19% of poor.
  7. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read two or more non-fiction books a month versus 3% of poor.
  8. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month versus 3% of poor
  9. 80% of wealthy make Happy Birthday calls versus 11% of poor.
  10. 67% of wealthy write down their goals versus 17% of poor.
  11. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons versus 2% of poor.
  12. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind versus 69% of poor. (Are you a Victim or Victor?)13.
  13. 79% of wealthy network five hours or more each month versus 16% of poor.
  14. 67% of wealthy watch one hour or less of TV every day versus 23% of poor.
  15. 6% of wealthy watch reality TV versus 78% of poor.
  16. 44% of wealthy wake up three hours before work starts versus 3% of poor.
  17. 74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children versus 1% of poor.
  18. 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity versus 4% of poor.
  19. 76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck versus 9% of poor.
  20. 86% of wealthy believe in lifelong educational self-improvement versus 5% of poor.
  21. 86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% of poor.


  6. READ

There is a firm belief that a lot of poor people are simply too busy or disadvantaged one way or another to change their situation. Not everyone has the luxury of being able to pick themselves up. This is best explained from Dave Ramsey’s blog “Poornomore”:  “I was born poor, raised in poverty and watched my parents die that way. I worked hard, eliminated my bad habits, started doing what the wealthy did. Mostly, I stopped blaming others for my lack of wealth. Now I am wealthy, and help others who want to be helped.”


I was working away at my desk when the phone rang. It was the CEO of a medium-sized organization. He was looking for help with what he referred to as his “toxic” executive team.  I told him about our “flu shot for teams.” “Do you have a rabies shot?” he replied. Wow, I thought, could it really be that bad? I imagined a room full of executives foaming at the mouth.

It wasn’t quite that bad, but it was still pretty horrible.  Members of the team had stopped trusting each other and essentially stopped communicating. The organization used to be one of the area’s best employers but now employee engagement has suffered. Business wasn’t going well, either. Thanks to internal squabbles, the team couldn’t deliver the necessary tools the sales force needed to keep up with the increasingly tough competition. He also admitted that sales had been falling for three years. Therefore, there is no time to waste in getting this team back to health.

When we started, everyone was focused on their grievances. They felt wronged, and they wanted to see public trials for the offending teammates. Some had publicly accused their teammates of not knowing how to do their jobs. One Vice President had instructed her direct reports to ignore instructions from her executive peer. Another refused to share an important document with a colleague because she didn’t trust her with the sensitive material.

It was our third session with them before things started to improve. One member of the team, the CFO, realized that he was contributing to the problem.  He raised his hand and said, “I have to take ownership of my part in this.  I realize I’m grabbing the reins and not leaving you room to prove to me you’re capable. For my part, I promise to give you more room to do your jobs.” When everyone entered the room they fully expected that they would have a rockem-sockem no-holds-barred battle and here was the ‘bully’ CFO short-circuiting it all with an admission that he was a part of the problem.

The next person to speak quickly took on her share of the responsibility for what had gone wrong. It was the VP HR; one of the people who had been most affected by the CFO’s lack of confidence.  She replied. “I was hurt when you didn’t trust me to do that work, but I shouldn’t have responded by shutting you out.  I’m sorry.” One team member after another stepped up and took ownership for what they needed to change.

When things on teams go wrong, most people spend their time blaming everyone else for their predicament.  They have plenty of ideas and excuses for how their bosses and teammates can shape up. Seldom do I talk to a person who includes their own actions – or inactions — in the story of their team’s dysfunction. Instead, they wait for someone else to change their team.  If you’re waiting for someone else to change your team, you’re wasting your time.

Accountability for Your Team

Start by admitting that you are part of the problem and accept OAR (Ownership, Accountability and Responsibility). Few people are aware and honest enough to see the role they play in the dynamic of the team.  Instead, they focus on the aggressive behavior of a teammate or the lackluster leader.  Like any relationship, a bad team dynamic is never the result of only one person’s behavior. Think about how the things you have said and done have affected your team. But you can also be part of the solution. Everyone has an opportunity to change the dynamic of an unhealthy team.  Figure out what role you’ve been playing and change accordingly.

The ‘Sniper’

Some team members actively sabotage the team dynamic.  Their tactics can be overt; such as yelling, belittling, or interrupting.  They can also be covert; such as gossiping, negotiating through back channels, or just ignoring someone.  There is hope. With greater self-awareness and some coaching, you can change.  In my experience, this team member (who I call the ‘Sniper’) is actually the easiest to convert. Usually this is because they are smart and want to have an impact.  If you give them a way to make a more significant and positive contribution, they are willing and able to make the shift.

The ‘Victim’

When one finds a ‘Sniper’, the wounded are always close at hand.  You can identify the wronged by their below the line attitude BED (Blame, Excuses, Denial) and their inability or unwillingness to stand up for themselves.  At some point, the frustration tends to boil over and the ‘Victim’ goes on the attack.

It’s time to change how you show up.  You might be surprised to learn that, it’s more likely to be the ‘Victim’ who is voted off the island than the ‘Sniper’.  That is because the ‘Victim’ often lack the energy and resilience to make another earnest attempt at making the team better.

The ‘Bystander’

Not everyone on a dysfunctional team will be participating actively.  While cutting and insensitive remarks are lobbed across the table, some watch, just waiting for things to simmer down.  The ‘Bystander’ are the first to throw up their hands and say that life on the dysfunctional team is unbearable.  Unfortunately, commiserating does nothing to change the course of things, and their disengagement costs the team, too. It’s time to get them into the game.


Any one person can change a team, for better or worse. What will you do today to change your team for the better?

With parts from Harvard Business Review