Failed resolutions beginning to snowball?

Well, well, well. It’s been a few weeks since the beginning of the new year. All full of promise and intrigue.

We were really going to change some stuff this year, weren’t we? Really put our mark on things. Come out of the gates with both guns blazing and whatnot.

Boy, it was going to be good.

Yeah. I’m sure.

If you’re anything like me, you start the new year with a list of resolutions to which you are definitely going to stick this year. It probably looked something like this:

  • Lose weight
  • Exercise more
  • Eat healthy
  • Read more
  • Blog more
  • Write the great American novel
  • Write the great insightful business book
  • Land 5 new accounts/get a promotion
  • Finish those efforts lingering from 2006
  • Mentor inner city youth
  • Mentor suburban youth
  • Care for the elderly
  • Find a solution to world hunger
  • Finish time machine (with guidance from Mr. Peabody)

We all build them. They’re all completely unobtainable and rife with the potential for failure. In fact, I’ve failed so miserably at a number of them that I’ve already given up on them for this year. Heck, I’m already well into next year’s list.

But here’s what I’m doing with next year’s list. And it’s going to make things different. Trust me. No, I’m serious. Try this. (You may still have time to rescue this year’s list with this technique.)

Treat your resolutions like a product manager treats a product roadmap.

You see, we all get wound up on shoving lofty goals onto a list. Goals with no metrics and no dates. But, if we begin to focus on exactly “when” and “how” and “to what extent” we will increase our personal features and functions, things would be much easier.

So, like a product roadmap, give your resolutions some tweaks:

  1. Don’t try to do everything at once.
  2. Break features into manageable chunks.
  3. Set a reasonable timeline for delivery.
  4. Set metrics for success.
  5. Group like features for implementation at the same time. (Maybe you’re one of those freaks who can read without falling off the treadmill, so more reading and exercise could go together.)
  6. Sunset some unnecessary features that you’ve been supporting.
  7. Pad your time for development, QA, and release.
  8. Understand that there are unknowns that are going to derail development. (Plan for this and be prepared to compensate.)
  9. Know when to build and when to buy. (Some of the features you’re implementing may be unobtainable without outside help.)
  10. Solve the actual problems. Don’t just toss features at them. (The features you’re choosing may actually be addressing symptoms instead of the problem.)
  11. Listen to your target market, but understand that you know the product better than anyone.

I could go on and on and on. And I have. Quite often in fact. “Embrace brevity” will never make the resolution list for me. Sorry, Hemingway.

Where was I? Ah, yes. Does this spark some ideas? Give you some inspiration? Cause your blood to boil? I’d love to hear about it.

About Rick Turoczy

More than mildly obsessed with the Portland startup community. Founder and editor at Silicon Florist. Cofounder and general manager at PIE. Follow me on Twitter: @turoczy
This entry was posted in Failure, Goals, Growth, Happiness, Product management, Resolutions. Bookmark the permalink.

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