Only one week into the year. As you ate that fourth donut on December 29, your mid section muffin top and bubble over your head read that a diet starting January 1st was a must.

And you also decided that joining a gym was on the list. The 29th or 30th? Too soon. But the first week of January could be right, especially with all the reduced initiation fee offers clogging your mail and email.

The last one was that you definitely didn't want to keep putting off a discussion with one of your staff about technical performance or soft skills. Yep, after the holiday, you were going to lay it all out there in a frank discussion. Or, you're past that point and need to take definite action to move forward with a replacement.

REPEAL every one of these and REPLACE!

THE DIET

REPEAL the diet. Plans or grand ideas to lose, in three months, all the weight you gained in three years don't have a high likelihood of success. Success in this case being defined as keeping the weight off and a new you emerging for good. The changes are too drastic.

REPLACE with changing your habits a little at a time. Your food and beverage intake is a lifestyle. If you eat pasta three times per week now, try two times for a couple of weeks then once. Same with other breads. Or, if you eat fries or chips, don't go cold turkey, go warm, then lukewarm then cool - from one order, to half once in a while to just a few.

Or, if you plan to get some exercise on, you might not make any diet changes before a commitment to regular movement takes firm hold. Park farther out in the parking lot and walk in if you aren't working out at all now. When you see results, you will be quite motivated to make gradual diet changes that are easy to stay with. I just caught up with a CFO who excitedly said, "I lost one pound; I am so excited!" She's got that right....little changes are the way.

THE GYM

REPEAL the idea that the act and investment in joining a gym will cause desire and discipline about exercise. If you aren't already a member or haven't ever worked out regularly in the past, don't bother joining until you can test drive, you guessed it, really small changes.

REPLACE with super small do-able plans like this: walk a minute, jog a minute for 10 minutes every other day for two weeks. Who can't work that into a busy schedule? It certainly helps to find someone else to meet up with to keep you going, but it doesn't have to be a paid gym. Then increase to 20 minutes and increase the slow jog time. Hate running? What about 10 jumping jacks and 10 squats one day then work up from that. What about a bike ride. Cheap ones can be found on Craig's list! Just aim for 20 minutes of something 3 times a week to start. Everyone can find a way to move around more, not just on weekends.

THE UNCOMFORTABLE DISCUSSION

REPEAL your own ego that insists you have the power to "rehabilitate" someone whose performance or soft skills are not going to meet the productive standard your group depends on. You're only as strong as the weakest link on your team. Sounds stern. A person who does't bring you joy (by accomplishing goals and bringing positive energy) almost surely doesn't bring joy to others either. Could even be bringing a strong negative vibe that brings everyone down. How long can you let this go on? (See "The Magic of Tidying Up Your Staff" for more on the subject of what brings you "joy".)

REPLACE your reluctance to address this unpleasantry by setting a date and time for revisiting the job description and this year's specific goals with the person. Listen carefully to what the team member wants to do and how he or she thinks things are going.

Since company goals changes every year, it is perfectly reasonable that individual goals and jobs are dynamic and need to change from time to time.

REPLACE your lack of real time communication about what specific performance looks like for average and above average by getting specific. Over time, the more you communicate specific feedback of how goals were or weren't met, as it occurs, the easier it will be to take the action you are pretty sure is needed. And if rehab isn't working, call us, we'll help you with an objective view of what performance should look like and ideas should you need to coach the person out of the role. I wish I had $25 for every time someone called us to say, "We waiting too long to make this change."

Happy New Year. And the key is THINK SMALL to get to BIG. How about Small Manageable Realistic Goals instead of the BHAG that didn't get the detailed, small step plan support it needs?