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Business, STEM

It’s 2017: Resolutions, Goals and Opportunities

henry-ford_quote_failure-n-opportunityFor this first week of Calendar Year 2017, I’ve listened to or participated in at least one conversation each day that relates in some way to New Year’s resolutions. Actually, discussions of these resolutions, which often prove hard to keep, started in December if not sooner.

A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior. [Source: Wikipedia] Statistics tell us that only 8% of individuals that make New Year’s resolutions keep them. [Ref 1, 2]

Survey data from 1,562 persons indicated that about 41% of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions, and about that same number (42%) never make New Year’s resolutions. This sampling of the U.S. population produced the top 5 New Year’s resolutions for 2017 [Ref 2]:new-year-resolutions_top-5. One quick review of these resolutions should indicate why they are hard to keep.

I shared in a previous post that I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I used to, but stopped over 20 years ago if not longer. Why? First, I didn’t see the rationale for waiting until a new calendar year to set a goal or to resolve to do or be better at some action or task. In one form or another, a resolution is a goal. What more people may be interested in knowing is how to be more successful at keeping their resolutions or meeting their stated goals?

Dr. Paul Marciano, a psychologist and leading expert in behavior change, suggests to achieve your goals: Make your goals specific. People proclaim, “I’m finally going to get in shape.” But what does that actually mean? Do you intend to reach a certain weight? Or body-fat percentage? Do you want to run three miles without rest? Maybe be able to do 10 pull-ups? Dr. Marciano is a fan of the classic goal system that makes goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). [Ref 1] Marciano gives six other keys to achieve your goals in the post authored by Kevin Kruse.

“Achieving your goals isn’t about willpower. It’s about developing the right skills, executing strategies, and having the patience that inevitably lead to success,” says Mariciano.

Another success factor for goal achievement is opportunity. Ask 10 people what an opportunity is? You’ll probably get 10 different answers. Here’s a definition I like: Opportunity is a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.

Here’s a problem with opportunity: too many people wouldn’t recognize one if it hit them in the face.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas A. Edison

Perhaps we have an opportunity awareness deficit in this country.

One of those famous opportunities that crossed my desk within the last two weeks is a brief summary of the details behind the creation of the social media giant, FaceBook:

Ten (10) years ago, a student at Harvard invited 5 people over to his dorm room to discuss a business opportunity. Only 2 of the 5 people showed up. Today those two people are billionaires: Dustin Moskovitz, $9.9 Billion, and Eduardo Saverin, $5.8 Billion. And the guy they met that night? None other than Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of FaceBook, whose current net worth is: $35.7 Billion. There’s nothing more expensive than a missed opportunity.

One of those persons who missed out on the above opportunity is Mark Zuckerberg’s college roommate, Joe Green. On the advice of Green’s father, he decided to stay enrolled in Harvard instead of dropping out to help Zuck launch FaceBook.

However, all was not lost. The Daily Mail reports that even though Green missed $400 million dollars via the initial public offering (IPO), he’s done well for himself because he loaded up early on FaceBook stock. [Ref 3] Perhaps Green learned a thing or two about opportunity since his days at Harvard:

“Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat.” Napoleon Hill

Opportunity awareness appears to be one of those flowers that does not grow in everyone’s garden. We’ll talk more about opportunities in future posts.

 Sources Cited:

  1.  7 Secrets Of People Who Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions, by Kevin Kruse in Forbes Magazine, December 26, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinkruse/2016/12/26/7-secrets-of-people-who-keep-their-new-years-resolutions/#726809cf7f7f
  1. New Year’s Resolutions Statistics, Source: Statistics Brain, http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
  1. The Zuckerberg roommate who said no to Facebook and missed out on $400million, by Meghan Keneally for The Daily Mail, January 30, 2012, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2093894/The-Zuckerberg-roommate-said-Facebook-missed-400million.html#ixzz4UuxkaFUA

About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.

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