As we enter the phase of New Year's resolutions, I started thinking about success or failure. Why are we wildly more successful on some goals and yet, on others, time after time, really struggle?
Much is written on this topic and there are many academic studies that really do help us understand this area. Having coached many teams and individuals over the years, there were some factors that really seem to affect success that I suggest require greater consideration:-
The definition of a resolution is "a firm decision to do or not to do something." The definition of a wish "a desire or hope for something to happen". A wish is built on a lot of hope whereas a resolution or goal is firmly formed on what the end looks like and the steps to get there. A resolution involves thinking and planning on what, how, and when, and is quite specific. A wish involves dreaming, imagination and a blurred, somewhat detached view of the end. So our resolution need to be clear, specific and focused. Thinking needs to happen on exactly what the end looks, feels and is. This is area that is often rushed, but in fact needs just as much thought as the next phases. Otherwise what we have is a wish.
I am a great believer in action planning. Begin at the end and work backwards. Sort out the big chunks of work that needs to happen to make the change. Much has been written about how our strengths, when overused, can become an issue - this can be the case with action planning - if you over-plan, you lose flexibility, if you micro-plan, you get tied up in knots. So the trick is, at this stage, just work out the big steps that need to happen - and resist the urge to plan further than that.
Now with a clear, specific resolution and an outline plan - it's time to move it forward! Take the first big chunk of work and figure out the FIRST step (only the first step!) and then go do it! Once it is done, celebrate it. Then figure out the next step and go do it!
I do think our approach to goal setting and success is deeply personal - so different techniques will work for different people. in the next weeks, I will share some alternative thoughts that have caught my eye or worked for me.
Key point - don't over-think your planning and balance it with a very specific goal.
And remember, we are mere humans - so go for it and if you falter or fail - just keep trying to move that one step forward.
So, which have you selected for the New Year - Resolutions or Wishes?
Wishing you a wonderful 2018.....
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