It’s that time of year again – the time of year when we make resolutions to change our lives, relationships, and leadership for the better. Unfortunately, this time is often followed by the annual failure known as the “breaking of the resolution”. This yearly “rite of passage” likely causes you to ask a couple of very important questions:
Are New Years’ Resolutions really important?
If so, how can I break the trend and create change that lasts?
Let’s acknowledge from the start that change is inevitable. If we can agree on that, it only makes sense that we are either responding to change, or we are creating our own. Response change is thrust into our lives causing disruption, and created change is under our control. I am confident, if you are taking the time to read this post, you either already are, or have determined to be a catalyst for change in your own life.
Timing is essential, and there may be no worse time to make resolutions than at New Years. The reality is that we have all fallen short so many times in our New Years’ resolutions that we have created a habit of failure. I personally know that can be a hard habit to break. Even so, every year I set goals related to my personal and professional wellbeing. After all, even if I come up short, three days of positive change is better than a whole year of the same old – same old.
Now let’s be brutally honest with each other, if you are reading this, there is a good chance you have already failed in at least one of your resolutions. With that in mind, here is the question: “Will you stay down, or get back up?” What if we stopped creating New Years’ Resolutions and instead focused on New You Resolutions – ones that can be implemented throughout the year – yes, even after a failed attempt to change.
If you are still asking, “Can change be made to last?”, according to research, the answer is a resounding YES! Surprisingly, the 3 simple steps to get there are common sense – but they aren’t common practice.
Step 1 – Determine your goals by asking these questions:
Why do I want to make this change? Are you making the change for you or to satisfy someone else? Change made solely for others is almost always doomed to fail.
How important is it to me? If the proposed change is low in importance, so is the likelihood that you will stick with it long enough to create a habit – most researchers believe it takes 17-21 days to create a habit.
What will be the short and long-term benefit to me personally and to those with whom I interact? The greater the immediate and long-term reward, the more likely you are willing to commit to the change.
Step 2 – Write them down
A national survey found that 27% of all people have given no thought at all to the future. 60% have given some thought to the future (usually only in the area of finances). 10% have a fairly good idea of where they are headed. Only 3% of the population has made the time and effort to write down their goals.
Amazingly, the same survey found that 27% of our population is currently relying on some form of government assistance to survive. 60% are barely making ends meet. 10% of our population is well off. But only 3% of our population is considered highly successful – the exact same numbers. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Write it down!
Step 3 – Be accountable to others
Private attempts at change rarely succeed. Share with others so they can hold you accountable to stay true to your goals. Pick people you trust – those with your best interest at heart. Then encourage them to give you feedback and encouragement.
If you will follow these three simple steps, you can and will break the chain of failed resolutions and find yourself on the path to a better you – personally and professionally.