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Reece: Work your plan to achieve your goals

“Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them – every day begin the task anew.”

– St. Francis de Sales, French Bishop (1567–1622)

As we begin 2013, a lot of people make annual resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking, get a handle on the finances or spend more time with the kids. Resolutions are great, but how successful are we when we make them?

Well, around 45 percent of American adults who make one or more resolutions each year eventually do break them, but the research shows that making resolutions is useful. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions.

The following statistics show how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:

• Past the first week: 75 percent

• Past two weeks: 71 percent

• After one month: 64 percent

• After six months: 46 percent

So resolutions are great for what most people see them as, that being resolving to do something with firm determination. I would add having a very goal-like resolution – specific and measurable – is much better than saying you just want to increase your sales by the end of 2013.

In Dan Waldschmidt’s blog “Edgy Conversations” Dec. 28, 2012, post “Forget About Resolutions, Make a Plan,” he writes: “You don’t make more money or have fewer problems simply because you decide in your head that that’s the way it should be. Your resolution is just wishful thinking. Good ideas and hopeful fantasies. And there is nothing wrong with big dreams and wild goals. But wanting more for yourself doesn’t mean your life will ever change. You need to have plan. And you need to get serious about the details:

• Your plan needs to include deadlines and milestones.

• You need to take into account “backup options.”

• You should include a reward for completing progress.

• You might need to involve other people in helping you with your plan.

Remember that every day, not just at the turn of the New Year, gives us an opportunity to do better, to even re-work, if need be, that we have set in motion. The only way to truly succeed on purpose in business is by outperforming your competition. You can do this. Frankly, you have to because at the very least one of your competitors is trying (maybe even succeeding) to do it to you.

Make a plan, work your plan and you will achieve your goals. If you do, you won’t have to then simply settle for rising and falling with them wherever your industry situation currently finds itself in 2013 and beyond.

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Join us Jan. 15 for an after-hour’s mixer at Querhammer & Flagg Funeral Home 500 W. Terra Cotta Ave., Crystal Lake. Then on Jan. 22 join the Crystal Lake Dawnbreakers Rotary as they host a mixer supporting their Western Auction at Lakeside Legacy Arts Park, 401 Country Club Road, Crystal Lake. Mixers are from 5 to 7 p.m. and all Crystal Lake chamber members as well as their guests are invited to attend.

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How would you like to showcase your business in front of 5,000 potential customers? The 2013 Crystal Lake Home & Business EXPO on March 23 and 24 is one of the best, most cost-effective ways to do just that. Booths are now 75 percent sold out so don’t wait any longer to sign up.

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The Crystal Lake Chamber’s annual “State of the Community” luncheon is Feb. 8. Crystal Lake Mayor Aaron Shepley, Lakewood President Erin Smith and Prairie Grove President Stanley Duda are scheduled to speak on their forecasts for their communities and the current state of plans within their towns. The entire community is invited to attend this luncheon and be "in the know" about what's happening locally.

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To learn more about or to sign up for any Crystal Lake Chamber event call 815-459-1300, go to www.clchamber.com or download our mobile app on your smartphone at clchamber.com/mobile.

• Gary Reece is president of the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce. Email garyreece@clchamber.com.

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