As we approach the threshold of a new year, most of us generally look at the new year as an opportunity to start over, pick up where we left off, overcome a bad habit, start something new, become better at what we currently do, change a bad habit, be a better spouse, parent, lose weight (which may be the number one resolution), better time managers, ultimately becoming a better person.
“New Year resolutions” become the buzz phrase for at least the first three months but unfortunately most of these resolutions are broken in a matter of weeks, or months. Cosmetic surgeon Dr. Maxwell Maltz, wrote a book called “Psycho Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life," revealed the results of a study that eventually coined the phrase “It takes 21 days to form a habit”. There was also a spin on it that said the breaking of the habit, could take as little as three days (not scientifically proven), but this pattern can be seen as true when we study human behavior. It is easier for us to do what is familiar, than what is new (change), hence in most instances there is an early bail out from a resolution.
Forbes 2013 article: “JUST 8% Of People Achieve Their New Years Resolutions” — http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/
Most resolutions are open ended, which leaves room to easily acquit oneself from change. There are at times, high levels of pessimism about the making resolutions and rightly so, because so many good intentions are followed by a history of bad habits, practices and climaxed with the familiar bad taste of failure. The feeling of apprehension or anxiety to commitment to a resolution generally comes from having the incorrect approach i.e: Based upon where we are now (current state), and where we need to be (future state), there is not a full appreciation as to how large or small the gap is, and what needs to be done to fill it.
A consultant takes an approach of looking at the present and then the future. This approach gives a snapshot into where the organization or individual is, and what needs to be done to get them where they need to be. The same should happen with anyone making a resolution.
Here are some of the questions, that one should ask themselves, when making resolutions;
SELF ASSESSMENT QUESTIONS:
• Who am I really?
• What am I doing presently that is good?
• What am I doing presently that I can do better?
• Am I happy with my current state? If no (see next bullet)
• Where would I like to be?
• What is required of me to get there?
• Where am I devoting most of my time, thinking of SUCCESS, or of FAILURE? Not thinking of any at all?
• Have I developed over the last year? If so, how and in what way?
• What’s the next step?
These are just a few primary questions that will do one of two things about our resolutions. They can make us feel really good, empowered, optimistic and driven about ourselves / direction. Or they can make us feel extremely bad, scared, dejected, worthless, etc. Whatever the outcome, these questions are very relevant in relation to your development and next step.
The next step to making that change, is setting GOALS and taking action. Goals define or redefine the purpose and set things in the right direction. Without them we are a rudderless ship, knowing where we would “like” to be, but no planned direction as to how and when that destination will be reached. This is not something that should be rushed, but it is vital to the success of whatever is to be achieved.
Lastly, the main ingredient to any resolution is COMMITMENT. Without commitment the purpose of the resolution and goal would be baseless. This is consider this to be one of the hardest steps to any change toward improvement. Commitment challenges our very being and puts us sometimes in a place of uncertainty. This uncertainty creates a crippling fear and drives us to a halt. Human nature will always gravitate to anything that we are most comfortable with and as a result some run away from their resolutions, easily reverting to what was familiar and sometimes unproductive, while consciously knowing we need to move from that place of comfort.
One of my favorite quotes from Albert Einstein says "The significant problems we face today, cannot be solved at the same level of thinking from when they were first created”. Everything mentioned here has one thing in common, and that is it requires the mind to be tested. Resolutions, Goals and Commitment are all intangibles, but once properly approached and executed can make a large tangible difference in our lives and the lives of others.
Credit Resource - Statistic Brain: http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/
About the Author: Lyndon is the founder and managing director of OPAAT-SWY Consulting Ltd. His areas of expertise are sales, customer service coaching, leadership and motivational speaking. He has also contributed to Culture Pulse Magazine
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