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As one year winds down and a fresh, new year blooms, it is traditional to create a set of New Year’s resolutions. It is also traditional to work very hard on those resolutions for a few weeks or months, then let those things go by the wayside. If you Google “how often do people keep New Year’s resolutions?” you will find several studies showing only about eight percent of people who set a New Year’s resolution actually accomplish those goals.  

A couple of years ago, I read a news article about people who were ditching resolutions and instead listing things they were either going to double-down on (keep doing, but more often) or give less attention to (stop doing as much as possible). I was skeptical at first, not wanting to be someone who was looking for a way to feel better about not having the resolve to follow through on their New Year’s resolutions. After many debates with my friends and attempts on my own, I became convinced that this approach was a brilliant way of achieving long-term goals and moving more iteratively toward the loftier resolutions I had set and failed to meet in the past. “Live healthier each day” has replaced “Lose 10 pounds” in my personal goals. This approach creates goals that are more flexible as conditions evolve, instead of being forced to restart the goal-setting process when something major changes (pandemic, anyone?).   

Whether you use New Year’s resolutions or the “double down/do it less” strategy, it is critical to set goals both professionally and personally. Without a goal or destination in mind, your efforts will lack organization and likely motivation, too. Imagine shooting an arrow with no target, for example. Where do you aim? What’s the point? 

Creating an achievable goal requires one to evaluate the current state before envisioning the future in order to move forward with both intent and ambition. I could not set a weight goal, for example, without standing on a scale to see where I am starting from. The same thing applies to setting business goals—you need to know exactly where you are before you can go anywhere. Before you set your new goals, first take a thorough inventory of where you are now.  

When setting business or professional goals, consider multiple angles. A sales/profit goal is a great start but will not address the qualitative aspects of the business that must be in place to assure sustained results. If you are a business owner or manager, consider goals around customer retention, response time and employee productivity. If you are in sales, consider including goals related to prospecting and where you invest your valuable time.  

As an industry association, we have the same need to set realistic, multi-faceted goals as a means of moving toward a more ideal future. Like most businesses and individuals, the PPAI board and staff were very financially focused during the first several months of the pandemic. Considering new products or services was not part of the goal-setting for many organizations during that time, including your Association. In the past several months, the PPAI board and staff have turned the corner and have been working hard on a new strategy plan that is both ambitious and practical. We’ll have more to report on this plan in the coming months, as details are finalized. Stay tuned for more.

I’m looking forward to serving all of you over the next 12 months as PPAI chair of the board. This industry has the brightest of futures and a terrific Association staff to support us along the way. Let’s resolve in this fresh, new year to be the best colleagues, business partners and sources for inspiration that we can be, so we can achieve that bright future together.  


Dawn Olds, MAS, begins her one-year term as PPAI chair following The PPAI Expo, January 10-13.