Making New Year’s resolutions is as much a part of American holiday tradition as trimming the tree or lighting the candles.

But while almost half of us make resolutions, only 8 percent of are successful in keeping them. This year, don’t overburden yourself with a lengthy list of goals — you’ll never accomplish them all! Keep it simple with one or two goals, and feel great when you achieve them.

We talked with some of our David Eccles School of Business Executive Education faculty and staff, and they offered up the following New Year’s resolution ideas for your personal and professional growth in 2017.


  1. Start saying “no”: Saying yes to everything is not the same as being reliable. If you’re overburdened and burnt out, you won’t be able to give anything 100 percent. Practice these techniques for saying “no” graciously and you’ll find that you are more successful in the long run.
  2. Start saying thank you: If you want to improve relationships with co-workers, heap on the praise — 74% of employees say that they need to feel appreciated by their boss. Is this an area you could improve in? Learn about this and other leadership skills in the Eccles School of Business’ five-module Executive Leadership Series in 2017.


  1. Don’t answer emails: Mike Gifford, Executive Education business development specialist, doesn’t answer emails for the first 30 minutes of his work day. Why? Studies show that it can increase productivity by more than 30 percent every week. Use that time to plan your day or get started on key things you need to accomplish that day.
  2. Look people in the eye: The pen might be mightier than the sword, but what about the eyes? If you feel your face-to-face interactions aren’t as effective as you’d like them to be, choose a simple goal to work on like looking people in the eye, using someone’s name in conversation, or consciously standing in a confident posture.


  1. Learn to negotiate: Want to know the secret to getting someone on your side? Ask them for advice. Read how to use this technique to win over an opponent. Need to build up this skill even more? The School of Business will be offering a two-day Negotiation Strategies certificate program in 2017.


  1. Go outside: School of Business Executive Adjunct Professor Joe Horton recently taught that work-life balance isn’t just a luxury – it’s imperative. There’s no better way to find balance than getting out in nature, so check out Visit Utah for places to hike, bike, climb, and more this new year.


  1. Find a new volunteer opportunity: Nothing makes us appreciate what we have more than serving those with less. Volunteering just an hour a month is enough to increase personal happiness. Read about our MBA students’ experience volunteering at some local charities.
  2. Eliminate waste: Look at your life — how are you wasting time, money or resources? Make it a project to become more efficient, whether it’s with how you brush your teeth or how you plan your budget. Consider enrolling in our Lean Six Sigma Green Belt program to help you achieve a process-oriented mindset for all aspects of your life.
  3. Reduce stress: Stay ahead of stress overload by setting a reminder to relax sometime during your day. Take deep breaths for 5 minutes. Meditate. Stretch. Find more stress-reducing ideas from the University of Utah Health Care’s HealthFeed website.


  1. Sleep better: Good sleep affects health, focus and everything in between. Johanna Adams, one of our Executive Education program coordinators, finds that meditating, listening to calming music or putting away her cell phone before bed helps her have a more restful night.

What resolutions have you made for 2017? Comment below!

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