This is the time of year when many of us make resolutions for the New Year. One look at our bank account, the number that appears when we step on the scale or the guy across the table with whom we are having dinner, and we decide something must change in the upcoming year!
What is it about this time of year that has us focusing on making such monumental changes? And if the change is really important, why do we decide on December 20th to do something that we won’t start until January 1st. Why not start today? Why is tomorrow more promising?
It’s true that many Americans avoid resolutions all together. As a matter of fact, according to data collected by the University of Scranton, 38% of Americans never make New Year’s resolutions. Of course, that leaves 62% of us that still hold to this time honored tradition.
And here’s a staggering statistic. According to a survey conducted by FranklinCovey, 35% of New Year’s resolutions are broken before the end of January. So odds are you and Mr. Wonderful will still be hanging out on February 1st.
So here’s the Four One One…
For leaders, our resolutions are far too important to leave in the Resolution Graveyard when times get tough. The changes we resolve to make impact the lives of the people we lead, therefore, they must be pursued with conviction and dedication. This in no way implies that we won’t break these resolutions along the way, but rather once they are broken we will take responsibility, get back on the horse, and keep riding. Someone once said, “Success is the child of drudgery and perseverance. It cannot be coaxed or bribed; pay the price and it is yours.”
Are you making any resolutions for the upcoming year? Here are a few tips to help you along the way…
Think Long and Think Wrong
It takes incredible courage to admit we need to change and even more courage to execute it. Spend too much time thinking about the challenges you will face and you will find yourself frozen in time; paralyzed by the fear of failure. While it is true that a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step, it is equally true that you have to take the first step!
Be Deliberate and Intentional
After you have made the resolution, write down some very specific steps you can take to get there. What will success look like? How will you know it when you see it? Your resolution should serve to provide context for the decisions you make this year. If for instance, you have resolved to be more thoughtful, ask yourself, “How will (fill in the blank) help me get closer to my resolution to think of others before I think of myself?”
It’s a Journey not a Destination
Our instant messaging culture has in many ways led us to believe that we can have all that we want by simply typing a few characters on our smartphone. In reality, long lasting change requires a long lasting pursuit. It’s not going to happen overnight, so embrace the journey.
Don’t Be Afraid to Begin Again…and Again
Unless you have been endowed with some supernatural power that prevents you from falling, odds are that somewhere along the way you are going to break your resolution. I contend that breaking your resolution is not the issue, its failing to start again that is the problem. Do not let yourself succumb to “all or nothing” thinking. Give yourself room to grow and change and by all means remember the words of Thomas Edison, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”