Why New Year's Resolutions Don't WorkPosted in : HR Updates on 9 January 2015
Paul Fieldhouse writes:
So you may be asking yourself what place New Year resolutions have in an article on Leadership, and it’s very simple really, whether you have made a resolution to get fit or you wish to develop your leadership or personal skills, the process to effect lasting change in yourself is the same.
Let’s begin with understanding why they don’t work, and I guess for some of the more disciplined individuals who do successfully implement change by the time you read this, you will understand why they work for some people but for the majority of people they don’t!
What Sank the Titanic
I guess it’s a bit like the story of the Titanic… You all know the Titanic Sank because of an Ice Berg; but most importantly it was the two thirds of the Ice Berg below the waterline that did the damage.
So, if you take a good look at yourself, the third that others see in you is the portion of you above the waterline and the other two thirds, below the waterline, is who you really are, what drives you and what makes you, the core that others can’t see! It’s the bit of a person ‘below the water line’ that sinks a New Year’s resolution.
Above the Water Line
Let’s explain a bit further, let’s say you decide to get fit, one of the most common New Year resolutions. You will make a decision to get fit, you will take some action, join the Gym, or buy running gear or perhaps join a fitness class. After about 6 weeks (on average), and less for many, you have reverted back to the same old life you were leading before you celebrated the New Year! So above the water line, the things people can see in you are the decisions, the actions and the results! Which together represent your behaviours.
Below the Water Line
So if you truly wanted to get fit then you need to get below the waterline. The biggest contributing factor to someone’s behaviors are their skills. You like to do things you’re good at, if I am great at cooking I will love to entertain and if I am bad at cooking I will go out to a restaurant.
However the biggest contributing factor to your Skills are your Beliefs. A Belief is something you hold to be true at the time, but not necessarily a fact. Example did you believe in Santa Claus as a child?
How to change, a significant emotional event in your life can wipe out even the strongest belief, or you can choose to change a belief. You will have to re-enforce, the choice, but this is extremely powerful.
And the biggest contributing factor to your beliefs are your values. If your highest value in life was success you would have a whole different range of belief’s than someone who’s highest value was love. Value is something you hold to be Important.
However, the biggest factor in your long term change is your Identity. How you see yourself and a result of your values, beliefs and skills. “I am” are two of the most powerful words in the English language, only superseded by “I can’t”, “I won’t”,”I don’t”.
For those of us who are parents remember when your identity changed to “I am a parent” what values, beliefs, skills and therefore behaviours and results changed? And did it happen overnight or did it take time?
Of course surrounding an Iceberg is water and surrounding every human being is our Environment. A Victim will let the Environment push them around and shape them, a Victor will shape the Environment to suit themselves, or not put themselves into the Environment.
Make Them Work
So, what is your new years resolution?
What do you need to do to change your identity, values, beliefs & skills and what actions will you take?
I want to get fit and loose weight, so I need to see myself as an athlete and start to believe in the value of the long term importance of fitness & health.
My current environment is going to the pub and partying at weekends, the people I surround myself with are those who enjoy the same things, am I a victim who will follow the crowd, or a victor who will join the running club and socialise more with other athletes – my environment.
If you’re not getting the results you want, what decision are or aren’t you taking (consciously or subconsciously) that are stopping you from taking the right actions?
And if your behaviour is not congruent with your desired results, but you have the skills the problem must lie deeper.
As you get down through beliefs, values and identity, it’s time to recognise and discard our blame culture or the excuses you make as to why you are not doing, if you are going to commit to achieving the results you need to be accountable to ourselves.
Therefore, it is whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or a leadership or personal development skill, once we have the understanding of how we work, we know have the ability to harness change! Of course get yourself an executive coach to help you understand and hold you accountable for this change will vastly speed up the process!This article is correct at 21/10/2015
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