There's a reason why everyone is talking about how we have a tendency to fall short of our New Years resolutions and as reasons go, well it's simply not good enough. We are hardwired to focus on the "why not" rather than the "why". The inference is that our chances of success are slim, so why set them in the first place? I'd like to think that we are all striving to better ourselves in one way or another and this is the premise for setting resolutions each year, but how best can we go about engineering this improvement?
First of all, we all have one 'keystone habit' that positively influences every other aspect of our lives. For me personally it's exercise, whereas for others it may be their morning routine or their recreational creativity. Whatever it is, you need to make sure you're doing that regularly. It will serve as the foundation, motivation and touchstone for your resolution.
Next, rather than focusing on the things that we would like to 'fix' about ourselves, we should aim to focus on the feelings we will engender through changing our behaviour. I'll give you an example: rather than 'eat healthier', think about how eating healthier will make you feel. Some examples could be 'energised', 'focused', 'happier', 'disciplined', 'sexy', 'strong' etc. How do you want eating healthier to make you feel? Now make that your resolution, with 'eat healthier' as one of the systems for obtaining that feeling. Other systems surrounding the feeling resolution could be around exercise, meditation, volunteering etc. According to James Clear, having systems that focus on daily processes rather than goals is better for both our mindset and our desired behaviour change.
Lastly is resolution tracking and accountability. If you're not holding yourself accountable, you're surely not going to get very far. Determine how you will measure your goal and a time-frame to regularly check-in on your resolution. This step is absolutely imperative to cultivating those feelings for which you are striving.
Resolutions are not a set-and-forget process, they call for nurturing, potential refining and regular reflection.
Behaviour change is simple, but it's not easy.
2020 is a new decade and an opportunity to truly focus on what matters most. How would you like to feel over the next 10 years?
Kirsten is a performance consultant who works with individuals, teams and organisations to develop potential and make things possible. Contact her today to build the discipline you need to both set and achieve your resolutions and perform at your best.