Keep That Resolution

A successful goal requires metrics, a firm plan and something more

We’re only one month into 2019 and, chances are, many people have already given up on their new year’s resolutions. In fact, research tells us a very high percentage of people (as high as 92% in some studies) fail to keep their resolutions. From what our consultants have seen in O.D. practices, it’s similarly high. What can we do about this?


Let’s first look at why most weight loss resolutions fail. Is it just (if at all) lack of willpower? I contend that the resolution itself is inherently flawed and, therefore, failure is the most likely option. Instead of setting a resolution of “I want to lose weight in 2019,” what if it was “I want to lose 14 pounds in the next three months? I know from past attempts that most of my weight loss happens when I start a diet, and then it slows down. So, I want to lose 6 pounds in January, 5 pounds in February, and 3 pounds in March. I’ll do this by increasing (or starting) my exercise regimen from 20 minutes every other day, to 25 minutes, then to 30 minutes by March. Also, I’ll cut out 100 calories per day for each month. So by March, I’ll be eating 300 calories less per day.”

That type of resolution has a much higher likelihood of succeeding for three key reasons. First, the resolution (goal) is clearly defined with specific milestones and metrics. “Lose weight” is more granular. Next, the resolution is easily measured. Finally, it isn’t an all or none proposition. You might only make it to 25 minutes of exercise, 200 fewer calories and 11 lost pounds, but you still accomplished a win!


However, even with the above plan, you still might fail. Most of us don’t want to increase our level of exercise or eat less. If it were easy, the country wouldn’t be on the verge of an obesity epidemic. We don’t lose weight because it’s hard, and we don’t like doing it! Recognizing that helps us understand how we should set up practice-building resolutions or goals. Why shoot for an office goal involving something you really don’t like doing? For example, if you’re trying to increase second pair sales of eyeglasses and the very thought of doing that is inherently distasteful, (it shouldn’t be, but that’s a topic for another time), than why bother? If you succeed, which it’s doubtful you will if you don’t like putting a focus on second pair sales, you’ll be torn between thoughts of “success” and “am I doing the right thing?”


Focus your goal on something you like doing that you’re already much better at, in this example, selling the first pair of glasses! As above, set concrete goals and have a firm plan in place to achieve them. Accurate metrics and a means to measure them (just like a scale to lose weight) are essential for this to work:

“Last year, 81% of patients getting an eye exam needed new eyeglasses. Of those, 52% got them from us within seven days of their examinations. This year, we’ll assume the 81% will stay the same, and our goal is to get from 52% to 62% by June. We’ll do this by freshening up our optical area, changing our inventory to include frame brands patients have been asking for and going deeper in those brands. We will also have a discussion about those new frames with 75% of clinically appropriate patients before they reach the optical. Each of the metrics will be recorded along the patient’s journey.”

That is an optical resolution with a very high likelihood of success! OM