5 New Years Resolutions you can use to take your Law Practice to the next level in 2014

new years resolutionsAs my wife and I were lying in bed last night (way before midnight, BTW), she leaned over to me and asked me what my resolutions were for the new year.

What a question! With all the goals that I have talked about, especially in last weeks podcast episode, this should have been a fairly simple question to respond to, right?

But it wasn’t. Why is that? Because I didn’t fully understand or appreciate the difference between a resolution and a goal.

What is the difference between a resolution and a goal?

According to Surbhi Chawla at lifehacker a goal is something specific that we want to achieve, like losing 5 lbs. or running a marathon. A resolution, on the other hand, is directed towards making more permanent change in your life by actually doing something different, everyday, and not just until you achieve a specific result.

Taking this a step further, Wikipedia defines a resolution as “a promise that you make to yourself to start doing something good or stop doing something bad on the first day of the year.”

So taking these two definitions in concert, a resolution could be defined as a promise that you make to yourself to make lasting, permanent, change in your life by either doing something good or stop doing something bad on a daily basis. This I can work with.

My goals, on the other hand, are much more specific and definite in nature. They are, after all, SMART goals.

So if a resolution is a more permanent (theoretically, anyway) promise to myself to do something good or stop doing something bad, and goals are specific actionable things that I want to accomplish this year, then my wife’s question seems a little easier to take now that I have the appropriate “parameters” for my response.

(Incidentally, why do us lawyers always have to define things like this? Why can’t we just answer the question? But that’s another topic for another day…)

5 New Years Resolutions that you can use to make 2014 the best ever for your law practice

Under this new definition, losing weight would not be an appropriate resolution. Eating healthier, on the other hand, would be a good resolution. Do you see the difference?

I think it is hard to make resolutions without knowing what your goals are for the year. It seems that goals are what you want to accomplish, and the resolutions are more of a how you are going to get there.

So what exactly are your resolutions for 2014? Since my goal with this blog is to help you build a better law practice for yourself through marketing a systems development, here are 5 recommendations of resolutions that you can use to help you on your journey:

  1. Spend more time outside. This would seem to have nothing to do with building a law practice, but in fact it does. Taking some time outside to meditate, enjoy nature, breathe fresh air, etc. can all have a lasting and positive effect on the work you do when you get back to the office.
  2. Watch less TV. There are a number of reasons that you should watch less television, but in terms of building a law practice, you just don’t have the time to watch TV. You will work long hours. When you are not working, your time is better spent with family, exercising, or sleeping. If you must watch TV, keep it to a ½ or less each night.
  3. Focus on helping others. I’ve alluded to the quote by Ivan Misner of BNI before – “Givers Gain”. The more you reach out to help others and provide value in your life, the faster you will become more successful in your law practice. Adopt the giver mentality and try to make the lives of those you come into contact with better.
  4. Be Proactive. This is actually the first habit listed in Stephen Covey’s classic book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. The most successful businesspeople take swift action, and are extremely proactive. They don’t wait for things to come to them, they go after what they want with determination.
  5. Sharpen the Saw. This is the last habit in Stephen Covey’s book. The idea of sharpening the saw is that you must be in a state of never-ending learning, always sharpening the saw of your mind. Always have a book that you are reading that will teach you something that you can put into practice with your law firm.

If you choose just one of these resolutions, you will see profound change in your law practice in 2014. Good luck to you, and Happy New Year to you and your family.

Have a resolution idea that I didn’t mention? Please feel free to comment below and let me know what I missed!