We’re just a little over 50 days into 2012, and I’ve already forgotten my New Year’s resolutions. I wrote them down, but that scrap of paper is now buried somewhere in a giant pile in my home office. “Get organized” is likely scrawled on it — or at least should have been.

I doubt I’m alone. Most experts say this is typically the time of year when people stop going to the gym, ditch the Nicotrol and start letting the mail pile up again. The trail by my house was packed with newly minted runners on New Year’s Day; when I was on it this weekend, I saw approximately two people.

The problem, according to goal-setting pros, is that most people need to set mini challenges throughout the year in order to achieve real improvement. But instead, we spend one day making grandiose plans that we forget about by the time those Jenny Craig ads are replaced by Super Bowl pizza deal commercials.

It’s a concept that applies to the life insurance business, isn’t it? Some businesses, a restaurant in a hot area, say, or a doctor’s office, are lucky enough to simply hang out an open sign and watch customers stream in. But rare is the new agent who can simply say, “I sell insurance,” and automatically sign up hundreds of clients.

This is a business based on incremental improvement, with each victory building to another. You serviced 10 clients this month and did a good job, so now you’ve garnered 12 referrals for the next. Keep at it, and eventually you’ll have a pretty great business. But succumb to instant gratification-itis, and you’ll go nowhere.

Maybe that’s why the industry has had such a hard time recruiting young agents. There’s no shortage of experts who say that my generation — the Millenials — doesn’t have the longest attention span. (Thanks, texting.) Or maybe it’s just our overall Digital Age, give-it-to-me-now culture.

So how do we help new agents make it? Mentoring helps, of course. Or what about support groups? Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous, SparkPeople — they’ve helped millions stick to their goals, New Year’s resolutions or otherwise. Professional organizations fill this role, to an extent, but maybe we need to be doing more. Would young people be more willing to stick with insurance if they could share tips and commiserate with other local pros on a weekly basis, maybe while sipping Hawaiian Punch and eating crusty cookies?

What are you doing in your area? Could you use a support group? Do you already have one?

 

Corey Dahl is life channel and social media editor for LifeHealthPro.com and managing editor of Life Insurance Selling.