Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

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Turn Your New Year’s Resolutions into Habits

January 2, 2014

Keeping those annual promises to yourself is easier if you start thinking about them differently.

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Whether or not you sit down and write official New Year’s Resolutions, we all have a feeling of new beginnings when the calendar turns to January. Maybe you looked at your 2013 sales totals and simply vowed to do better. Or you looked at your sales team and decided that better training and motivational tools were in order. Or perhaps you told yourself you would tackle that dream client that has continued to elude you.

Making resolutions and being determined to keep them isn’t enough. Think of this annual ritual, rather, as developing new habits and responding differently when you slip.

Enjoy your efforts

Some researchers, in fact, recommend that you not even think of these changes as goals. In one study, the participants who were goal-driven didn’t succeed as well as those who just focused on the process and the experience and the tasks needed to reach a particular point.

The latter group, of course, had identified what they were trying to accomplish, but, contrary to what we’re always told to do, they didn’t keep their eye on the prize. They immersed themselves in the steps required to succeed. They weren’t just running a race to finish it. They were learning new, better ways to pace themselves and conserve breath and minimize injuries. Then they turned those into habits.

Make it manageable

“Steps” is the operative word there. You know what end you’re trying to achieve.  But there are numerous, smaller milestones that you can set for yourself along the way, which accelerates the whole process and makes your overall goal more attainable.Todd Martin 010214 image 2

Let’s say you’ve decided you need to come up with five new leads every month. You don’t necessarily have to close sales with them, but they have to be well-qualified prospects that might eventually be converted to new customers. Here is a simple series of bite-sized actions you might take to find them:

  • Find three LinkedIn Groups that focus on your industry and start answering questions to establish your credentials.
  • Visit five competitors’ sites to see how they’re building their contact lists.
  • Offer your services as a guest blogger on at least two blog sites.
  • Send a handwritten note to five current customers that you have an ongoing relationship with. Thank them for their past business and offer them a discount, premium, etc., for providing a referral that pans out.
  • Not using CRM software? Start. These applications can help you manage the life cycle of a lead and keep you focused.

You may feel like you’re going through the motions at first, but these activities can become habits that you do as automatically as turning in expense reports.

Pick your cliché

Todd Martin 010214 image 3In the immortal words of Tigger, It’s not how high or how far you jump. It’s how well you bounce.

Keeping resolutions and achieving goals and creating habits have something in common. They all require that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Get back on the horse. If at first you don’t succeed…well, you get it. Any sentiment that has that many related clichés must have some truth to it. So make three more “resolutions” (I call them the “3 Re’s) if you waver from your path:

  1. Re-frame your original goal if necessary
  2. Re-move any obstacles to success, and
  3. Re-double your efforts.

Stock images courtesy of

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