This is the time of year when people are trying to turn over a new leaf. The beginning of the year marks a point where people make New Year’s Resolutions. Unfortunately, many fail to keep those resolutions. In fact, 81 percent of resolution's fail within two years. The top New Year's resolutions rarely change year to year. The most popular typically revolve around losing weight, managing stress, getting out of debt, quitting smoking, and learning a new skill.
Setting the right type of New Year’s resolutions is a great way to plan the New Year. But setting resolutions is only the first part. If you are serious about keeping your resolutions there is something you can do about it.
The solution is to have a process that you follow when you need to make a change or solve a problem; A process that will ensure you plan, test and incorporate feedback before you commit to implementation.
A popular tool for doing just this is the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. This is often referred to as the Deming Cycle or the Deming Wheel after its proponent, W Edwards Deming. A closed loop system, it emphasizes four repetitive steps:
First, start with an idea and create a PLAN to make it happen.
Then, DO adhere to the plan, and take corrective action when necessary.
Next, analyze and CHECK progress toward your goal and identify the root causes of obstacles.
Finally, take appropriate ACTion. If the outcome matches expectations, then standardize the process to maintain the gains. If the results were disappointing, then modify the process to eliminate the root cause of remaining problems. In either case, repeat the process starting again with PLAN.
While these steps appear in a linear sequence, when implemented the phases are best thought of as concurrent processes that can continually be improved. This is the key to seeing your resolution through to the end.
Keeping your resolution isn't easy but, following the PDCA cycle will yield better results and sustained improvements. Taking the time to plan, check, and act will pay dividends.
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