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  • Writer's pictureMike Hanna

3 Tips for Sticking to Your New Year's Resolutions

January is almost over...are you still sticking with your New Year’s Resolutions? While as many as one out of every two people make a New Year’s Resolution, around 80% of them abandon it by the end of February. And when it comes to professional goals, New Year’s resolutions don’t often stick, either. In fact, one study found that only 15% of employees believe that their goals will help them accomplish big things. These numbers don’t sound so good, especially if you’re in a field like software sales, where success (professionally and monetarily) is often defined by meeting or surpassing tangible benchmarks. So what can you do to make 2021 better than 2020?

Aim high.

The same study we indicated earlier also had some interesting findings about setting the bar high. That study uncovered that individuals who set difficult goals are 34% more likely to enjoy their jobs. Moreover, top execs who set difficult goals for themselves were 91% more likely to enjoy leaving their comfort zone. But sadly, only 43% of people polled set difficult goals. It seems like common sense, but if you aim high and fall short, at least you’ll fall higher than you would have fallen if your bar was lower. Moreover, setting difficult goals is often more motivating because we naturally tend to stay inside our comfort zones. You can also see from these numbers that people at the top are often the ones who are willing to be bold, daring, and dream big. Reflect on what might be a difficult goal for yourself in terms of software sales in 2021, and see what you can accomplish by December 31st.

Look at your goals...literally.

The aforementioned study also found that people who used visuals were 52% more likely to enjoy their work. What’s that all about? To keep it shortly summarized, our brains are wired to think a certain way. As we move through life, we often look for cues that corroborate our belief about the way things should be. This is a primal safety mechanism that worked well in times past. But if you’re hunting new leads instead of sabretooth tigers, this wiring can keep you locked into old patterns of behavior, some of which might be setting yourself up for failure. Here’s a very simple thing you can do to rewire your own brain: make visuals of your goals. Create a vision board of your professional and personal goals. You can use magazine cutouts or even a graphic design program. Put the vision board somewhere you’ll see it every day. You may even want to put a picture as the backdrop on your phone or computer. This simple practice is literally going to rewire your brain for success, as the small decisions you make will reflect your newfound bigger-picture positive thinking.

Do it for you.

Goals that you set for other people are short lived. If you’re doing this for your boss or because your spouse made you, you may end up abandoning the goal at the first opportunity, especially if the other person gives up on them. Goals that stick are goals that matter to you, whether they have to do with your software sales career or your personal life. You really want to take a trip to Aruba next fall? You’ll be more likely to sock away a few hundred dollars every month, which means more motivation to perform better and close more deals. Your manager is making vague threats about where he or she will send you (probably not Aruba) if you don’t close more deals? That may seem more motivating on the surface, and it may be pretty motivating in the short term, but it will not stick. In fact, you can pretty much place bets on which holidays will pass before that goal loses its motivating import (Valentine’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day…). Goals that last through the year relate to things you truly, deeply care about or want to do, for you.

A final word on New Year’s Resolutions

Goals and resolutions are important in life and especially in software sales. There are plenty of careers where an employee (or even a manager) can show up to work and do the same thing day in and day out. But software sales requires a sales rep to always be growing, getting new clients, and/or deepening the relationships with current clients. Sales reps live and die by their numbers (not literally...that would probably result in a whole lot of dramatic Shakespearean deaths and awe-inspiring resurrections).

Honestly, sometimes your work environment can prevent you from being happy at what you do. Many times, when a person changes their location and/or the people around them, they can change their destiny. Maybe 2021 is the year where you look for something a little better for you and what you’d like to achieve. Or perhaps you’re a software sales manager with bigger and better goals for your team (and that means you need to assemble your team). Either way, whether you're a software sales rep or software sales manager or exec, I’ve got you covered with over 35 years of experience as a software sales recruiter. Send an email to and let’s discuss what 2021 might bring for you.

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