Resolving to Change

Updated: Apr 7

If you’ve wavered on your new year resolutions, you’re not alone.

A Guardian article highlights the fact that 63% of the people surveyed in a Bupa opinion poll last year failed to keep their new year resolution and 43% of them had abandoned theirs within a month.

You may have resolved to change something at work or in your personal wellbeing, to improve your diet, take more exercise or spend more time with friends and family. But however much we may want to change old habits or introduce new ones, it’s easier said than done.

At the beginning of the second month of this new year, statistically, few of us are experiencing the change we wanted to see in our lives just over 4 weeks ago. Even fewer of us are prepared to persevere until we do.

So let’s take stock — again — and ask ourselves a few important questions:

- Why did we choose these particular resolutions?

- How realistic are the targets we set ourselves?

- What are we doing differently to support the change?

- When and where are we practising our new habit(s)?

- On a scale of 1–10 how do we rate our motivation?

This last question is key. Whether or not we keep a resolution is largely a function of our attitude. As Oprah Winfrey said: “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.”

Before making any resolution in life — whether it’s ‘new year’, ‘new month’, ‘new week’ or even ‘new day’ — it’s essential to take a step back and look objectively at how you’re going to integrate your desired change into what you currently do. A positive attitude is your first key enabler. A simple approach is your second.

I recommend you identify your first 3 steps towards making the change happen. If your resolution is “to manage effective meetings in the time scheduled”, you might:

1. Ahead of the meeting: take time to ensure the agenda is fit for purpose.

2. In the meeting: listen more, talk less, intervene when necessary.

3. After the meeting: reflect. Follow up on the actions.

Yes, it really can be that simple. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy and sometimes you may need to enlist the support of a skilled helper — such as a coach or mentor.

A new coaching client told me last week that she had made five new year resolutions and was struggling to keep any of them. “Why five?” I asked. “Isn’t just one enough to be going on with? And if just one, which is it going to be?”

Do you have your answer?


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