Benchmarks are better than resolutions, and get better results.

Post Date: January 12th, 2012

Just days after New Year’s, my daughter and I were talking about making and breaking resolutions. She said hers would be easy to keep. She wanted to cook-in more. Kelsey is in her last semester of graduate school and races between school, internship, work and the gym, eating or munching on the run, or standing at the kitchen counter in her apartment.

I took a deep breath, pondering whether I should just say, “That’s a good one, sweetie,” wearing my Mommy Hat, or tell her what I really thought, wearing my Business Hat.

I managed both. “That’s a good one, sweetie. You’re such a good cook, and you’ll probably save money, too.” Pause. “And, you know what I tell people in my audiences–to put a number on it and create a benchmark. Otherwise it’s not going to happen.”

“It’s cooking, Mom, not accounting,” she sighed. “But what’s a benchmark, again?”

I told her this, essentially.

Fancy definition: it’s a number that measures an activity or result. Real world example: whether you want to cook-in, play tennis, exercise, read, write, walk, run, dance, speak, consult, sell or save more, put a number on it. How many times a MONTH will you make it happen? 1? 4? 8? 16? 20? 30?

Don’t say 10. I mean, you could say you’re going to do something 10 times a month, but it gives me a brain cramp. Yoga 10 times a month? Is that 2 times one week, 3 times the next week, then 2 and 3 again? Make the math easily divisible by 4, as in weeks in a month. Dial it down to 8 or crank it up to 12.

Forget the annual goal. Think monthly, and then at the end of the month it’s like New Year’s Eve again. Mark LeBlanc of Small Business Success calls it “re-setting your counters to zero.” And why have that wonderful clear-the-slate, fresh start New Year’s feeling once a year when you can get it 12?!

Here are some categories you might want to benchmark every month. This is a blended list of both personal and professional benchmarks:

-Optimistic # (Revenue)
-Salary or draw
-Donate (time or money)

-Phone calls
-Direct mail
-Email Blast (this one!)

-Meaningful Conversations
-Discussion Documents

-Exercise (Break-A-Sweat Days for me)
-Diet (Dairy-free for me; cooking-in for Kelsey)

Fun (Work/Life Balance!)
-Tennis (or whatever sport you enjoy)
-Entertaining (inviting people over for dinner)
-Finish a novel (If I’m reading a novel I’m not working.)

-Date night
-Movie/dinner with Mom (my Mom)
-Bailey (Skype my granddaughter)


If it’s worth doing or having, it’s worth measuring! What do YOU want more of this MONTH and next? Post your comments here, and make it happen!


One Response to “Benchmarks are better than resolutions, and get better results.”

  1. Tony Rossell says:

    Hi Terri — For the benefit of your readers who may work for membership organizations, they are welcome to download the 2011 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report to help them benchmark their program against 650 other associations. Here is the link for a copy of the report:


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Terri Langhans

Terri Langhans, CSP, COE
Certified Speaking Professional
Chief of Everything
Blah Blah Blah Etc., Inc.



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