Lawyers and New Year Resolutions
January 9, 2015
I recently read an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about the best way to make your New Year’s resolutions stick. It got me to thinking about why so many lawyers struggle with their goals and what keeps them from making progress.
The article quoted an expert in cognitive behavior therapy who explained the benefits of a buddy system and why vague goals fail.
I believe lawyers must have an accountability system for implementing resolutions and goals. It is absolutely crucial to achieving them. If you don’t have someone or something holding you accountable to taking steps to achieve the goals you set forth, you are almost certain to fail. This includes goals for your practice and personal life.
The first accountability system every lawyer should start with is a time and focus management system. I won’t waste time with making recommendations on which one to use. There are several great software and cloud-based options for attorneys that are easily found with a simple search engine query. However, you will want something that allows you to block out a weekly or monthly template for times you should work on production, marketing, client appointments and projects. Don’t let your schedule or your focus be at the mercy of someone calling the office with “a quick question.”
The second accountability system you need is flesh and bone. If you don’t have a one-on-one coach or practice advisor working with you on attaining your goals, then consider joining a group coaching workshop. If neither of those things are possible for you because of constraints on time or money, then I encourage you to find a peer you would feel comfortable asking to talk with you on a weekly or monthly basis.
Ask this friend or colleague if he or she would be willing to hold you accountable to the things you’ve said you’re going to do. If you’re like most lawyers I’ve met, you’ll need this person to follow up with you on how you’re doing with your plan, so give him or her 100 percent permission to call you out on your excuses. Because you’ll make excuses. You know you will. They’ll be pretty lame ones, too.
“Oh gosh. Things are so busy right now. I haven’t had any time to do anything with this plan.”
“My staff has (insert scapegoat excuse) and that has really taken up my time.”
“One of my clients has (insert excuse), and I haven’t been able to focus on anything else.”
“Between everything going on at the office and what’s been happening at home, I couldn’t work on this.”
Another reason people fail to keep annual resolutions is because they’re making commitments to do something really big that they’ve been putting off. But the problem, according to the article, is that these “big” things are really hard to accomplish – “otherwise we would have done them already.”
Big goals sound impressive, but they’re often too much for us to take regular action on without a compelling reason – like say impending death. Nothing will make a person stick to a healthy diet or keep exercising like suffering a recent health scare. Resolutions without a “sticky” factor also are doomed.
There’s also the “no choice” category of resolutions, the article said. There are some new habits we employ without any struggle because we don’t give ourselves a choice. For some of us, these can be things like paying your bills as soon as they arrive in the mail or always wearing a bike helmet when you go riding. If you never give yourself the option to waver from this kind of habit, you don’t struggle to keep it.
For attorneys, I recommend a good place to start with a “no choice” resolution is only answering emails and returning phone calls at a specific hour during the workday – not as they come in, in between meetings, and definitely not on the weekends.
In closing: Have an accountability system. Tackle attainable goals. Give yourself no choice but to follow through with good habits.
I hope this has helped you. I’d love to hear what you’re using that has helped you make good on your New Year’s resolutions – or even your quarterly or annual goals.
We’re five weeks away from the return of the Double Your Revenue™ workshop. Registration has opened and the seats are filling. As a subscriber to my newsletter and blog, I would hate for you to miss out on getting into this exclusive workshop to a stranger I’ve never met – or worse, to one of your regional competitors.
As I mentioned in August, my partners and Atticus and I are hosting two separate one-day classes for this workshop in Dallas, Texas. We’re capping enrollment at 15 attorneys per class. The first session is set for Thursday Nov. 13. The second is set for Friday Nov. 14.
I’ll be teaching the program alongside Atticus co-founder Mark Powers. If you consider having both of us as instructors better than just one of us, then you should know that these two dates will be the only Double Your Revenue™ workshops that we will teach together, side-by-side. At the end of your session, you will have a written, step-by-step plan to implement the best and most effective ideas that you generated at the program.
Don’t just take my words for it. Read these testimonials from past graduates:
I attended the spring 2006 Double Your Revenue workshop, and started working smarter. My practice in 2006 grew 60%, both billings and revenues, and without any net increase in staff. Of course some expenses increased, but I was able to pay the largest staff Christmas bonuses ever. We started having fun again. You guys ROCK!
Carl Dore’ Jr.
Dore & Associates, Attorneys, P.C.
When I first entered the room at the Double Your Revenue workshop … I was concerned about how this process would work. How was the coach, Steve, going to get us all on the same “plane,” take us on the same journey and land us each on an airport where we could disembark with an action plan to begin the process of doubling the revenue of our respective law firms? I didn’t believe it was possible. Steve exhibited a masterful way of encouraging us, guiding us and inspiring us. When we returned to our office, we did get the results of doubling our revenue over the next two years. I am enthusiastic about recommending Steve’s coaching services.
Rick L. Law
Law ElderLaw, LLP
The DYR program gave us a new perspective on our practice. It also gave us the opportunity to think through where we were, where we wanted to go and, most importantly, how we were going to get there. DYR was time well spent.
Jay C. Kaufman
Kaufman Law Group, LLC
I decided to work with Atticus in the Double Your Revenue workshop. We implemented better systems and began thinking in innovative ways, including Atticus concepts like exclusivity, client selection and the dash board. It is exciting to look at marketing in a new way. For me, it is not about making more money as much as it is providing better service and enjoying my life’s work. Atticus is worth every penny!
Balbi & Co.
My practice was controlling me vs. me controlling the practice. Because of Atticus, I can see my goals. Atticus gives you the tools. It is delightful to have my life again, while making more money without additional time.
Harris & Hunt, P.A.
Since starting the Double Your Revenue program, my net income has increased dramatically, and I see more growth potential ahead. I have gained control over my practice, and I have seen the benefits of applying DYR principles at home. It’s been a life changing experience.
Karen Brady, Attorney
I started the Double Your Revenue program, like most other participants, with the run-of-the-mill goals of more money, less time, more satisfaction. I reached these goals and many, many more. The unique paradigms and practice tools we learn in each session have given me such focus and clarity about what I want to achieve and how to achieve it that I can easily assess where to apply my time and money. The confidence this clarity produces is incredible; the support and inspiration the group gives one another is priceless, and it continues to help me grow and enrich my life.
Candace M. Pollock
Hahn & Pollock, LLC
I have had vision and drive since I started by practice. What the Double Your Revenue program has given me is the tools to turn my vision and drive into effective, as opposed to erratic, action. Tools to communicate with my team, to focus my energy, to pull me out of a slump! Interestingly, as a by-product, my vision is sharper than ever. Now my energy about my business and my future is more focused and excited than before.
Kevin D. Quinn
Steve Riley’s program has accelerated my practice and improved the quality of my life. The program provides specific and measurable tools to assist in thinking strategically. The group format also acts as an indispensable catalyst and motivating force to help implement the strategies that will work best for a particular practice. The Double Your Revenue program is not about “tips and techniques” (although you will get some good ones), it is really a system for analyzing your current reality and helping you create the one you really want.
Law Office of William A. Deitch, P.C.
What I wanted out of Double Your Revenue was the confidence to fully transition to estate planning. What I got out of the program was a devoted, visionary practice partner; a committed, energetic team; a multi-state estate planning practice; and a career that is fun, satisfying, and making a real difference in people’s lives.
Teresa Byrd Morgan
Bennett & Morgan, LLP
Lake City, FL
The Double Your Revenue program has been the key to the tremendous growth in my business and increased effectiveness in my life. I have tripled my revenue in the 3-1/2 years since joining Steve’s program while increasing my free time exponentially. A program I enrolled in to grow my business has transformed my life, my future, and my relationship with my family and business team members.
Vincent E. Bonazzoli, P.C.
What I wanted out of the workshop were tools to rebuild a law practice by design; what I got were tools to rebuild, transform, and live my life by design.
D. Bowen Loeffler
Loeffler & Wargo
Port Clinton, OH
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