It’s 2014, legal marketers! Do you have resolutions? How about law firm goals? Is there a difference? 

Yes. 

Resolutions are usually one-time statements of what you wish would happen for the new year, without much thought or weight behind them. Goals are your intentions for what you want to make happen throughout the year (or however long you designate them to be for).

Goals are written down (they should be!), with action steps to achieve them. Resolutions are rarely remembered after February. When was the last time you talked about resolutions? This time last year? Exactly.

Goals are about intention backed up with action. Step by step, you know what needs to be done to accomplish each goal. A resolution is what you hope will happen or will change in the new year.

We all know that hope is not a strategy for anything (well, you do now), so hoping you accomplish something by the end of next year is not setting and working toward a goal. Resolving to do something is OK, but if you back into a resolution with real daily action steps, paired with accountability, it becomes a goal with intention and weight behind it. Commit to your goals by writing them down and looking over them on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

For solid goals, make them SMART: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Risky (at least a little) and Time-sensitive. Share your goals with someone you completely trust and whom you know will help you accomplish them. This individual is your accountability partner – the person who will call you on every little excuse you try to give yourself when you don’t want to do the work to reach your goals. This will also be the one to tell you when you should be thinking bigger than you are and when to get out of your own way. I love this person. We all need at least one in our lives at all times – whether they’re called coach, accountability partner or mastermind partner makes no difference. 

See if you can identify law firm goals versus law firm resolutions:

  • “I will bring in more business this year” versus “I will reach out to one new contact or lead per week.”
  • “I will better organize our law firm marketing activities” versus “I will create a binder and organize it with tabs to manage our various law firm marketing initiatives.” 
  • “I will update our law firm CRM” versus “I will spend an hour every Friday updating our law firm CRM until it’s up to date.”

So I urge you this year to do one thing differently: Turn your resolutions into real goals on behalf of your law firm. It will make all the difference in the world. Now, go ROCK 2014!