Be It Resolved…

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Let’s say you have the choice of billing your customers for a membership fee of $50 on the 1st of each month, or $350 for the year if they pay up front.

Which is a better deal for your members? Which is better for you?

At first glance, the obvious answer would be that the upfront annual payment (total $350) is better for your member, and the monthly arrangement (total $600) is better for you.

But if today is January 1st… which it is… and your business is involved in, let’s say, the fitness industry… then behavior suggests that the answers must be reversed.


Tomorrow millions of Americans will run right out to make good on their resolution to ‘get in shape’. They are motivated… by summer they’ll look like they did in their twenties.

Just one challenge. If history is any indicator… within several days, 90% will have over-exerted;
they will be tired, stressed, and in pain.

Next, old habits kick in… life and work and friends and responsibilities and challenges vie for time.

Two weeks later, despite the best of intentions, these folks will miss a day… then another.
And within 30 days… they will need to resolve all over again next year.

If they were on the monthly plan, you won’t be seeing the other $550… for the February bill, and those to follow… will go unpaid.

On the other hand, if they anted up for the year… they just lost $300. They will be very unsatisfied for sure… quite possibly angry.

Next time, they’ll go somewhere else… and you may be more popular than you want to be in their social network in the meantime.


So what’s with this annual ritual anyway?

I must admit, I happen to spend a lot of time with goals… though I’m not big on resolutions…
at least those of the ‘New Year’ variety.

Work harder… work less… more exercise… lose weight… be nicer… be greener… read more… relax more… earn more… drink less… whatever.

All too general… all too vague… no baselines or benchmarks… no clear target. These are well-intended wishes… but certainly not goals.

Goals have concrete plans for dealing with the inevitable distractions… precise details and deadlines… and consistent small steps that lead to changed behavior.

Goals specify significant rewards for success… and recognize the corresponding consequences for failure. They create new habits… good habits… habits that lead to achievement.

May I take this moment to wish you twelve incredible months in 2009… twelve months of great new habits and success and expectations and accomplishment… twelve months that become a turning point, or launching point, for the next three to five years of your life.


I look forward to hearing from you.



Most ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ can’t stand up to the daily challenges that compete for our attention.

Goals take these obstacles into consideration, and contain a step by step plan for success.

Good habits are created by small and consistent activities that result in positive changes in behavior.


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