2.6.15 Issue #674 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

Nancy Haller, Ph.D.
Leadership Coach
McKenzie Management
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Resolutions Going South? Seven Ways to Reboot in 2015.
By Nancy Haller, Ph.D.

It’s officially February, one month since you made those big New Year’s resolutions. How are you doing? It may not surprise you to know that most people fall off the bandwagon by now. If your New Year’s resolutions are going south, the good news is that you’re normal. By February, life starts to intrude on all the positive intentions you felt so strongly about just four weeks ago. The bad news is that only 8% of the population actually sticks to their New Year’s resolutions. So what can you do to get back on track?

First, let’s go back a month and recall those amazing feelings of hope and joy when ringing in 2015…the sense of endless possibilities, the blank canvas each New Year brings. Here’s the problem - your eyes were more influenced by an evening of champagne and teary versions of “Auld Lang Syne.” Now it’s time to be realistic about those goals and how to go about achieving them.

Self-initiated behavior change is difficult. Habit-breaking is a process, not an event. Essentially a resolution is a promise you make to yourself. When you let it go, you feel bad and you get discouraged. People can experience anxiety along with self-criticism and pessimistic forecasting…“What’s the use? I’m always going to be this way!”

Rather than scrap your resolutions, make time to reevaluate and recalculate. Here are seven crucial elements to help you reboot your resolve to improve. 

1. Start small. Typically people take an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach, and when they don’t see immediate results they feel defeated and quit. This dichotomous thinking is self-sabotaging. You have hundreds of things to do and that isn’t going to change. You’re busy. Realize that you just don’t have the time to get it ALL done. Distill your goal into the most poignant issue. And remember, from small acorns big oaks grow.
2. Quantify and set a timeline. By breaking your goal down into its most basic daily requirements, you can take one action every day. “Be more organized” is not a specific goal. It’s akin to advising your patient to “take better care of your teeth.” A noble recommendation, but without any clear direction on how to achieve that goal. Modify ‘be more organized’ into “Spend 5 minutes each day clearing paperwork from my desk.” That is well-defined and do-able!

3. Remind yourself of your goals. “Out of sight, out of mind” – the old saying rings true when it comes to goals. Have a visual cue that keeps you focused on your new behaviors. It can be a simple paper-and-pencil checklist. Or, if you’re high-tech, there are abundant choices of ‘apps’ and computer software programs. The key is to create an easy way to visually display your plan and monitor your progress.

4. Measure with a rearview mirror perspective. An important factor that increases success is to measure what you have achieved. Unfortunately ambitious people always want more, but when you compare your progress against your ultimate goal it’s like chasing the horizon. You never catch it.  Rather than regretting how much you haven’t achieved, take a look back and see how far you’ve come. Progress begets progress.

5. Weather temporary setbacks. Perfection is unattainable. Minor missteps are to be expected and completely normal. Don’t give up completely because you ate a brownie and broke your diet, or skipped the gym for a week because you were busy. Everyone has ups and downs. Be determined. Recover from your mistakes and get back on track.

6. Change one behavior at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time. You learned to walk before you ran. To be successful, focus on one change before the next and remember that habits develop over the course of time. As such, it takes time to replace them with productive behaviors.

7. Ask for support. Accepting help from those who care about you strengthens your resilience. If you are unable to meet your goals on your own, get an accountability partner. This might be a colleague, or perhaps a professional coach.

The bottom line is there’s no better time to reboot than right now. So hit RESTART and get going!

Dr. Haller provides training for leadership effectiveness, interpersonal communication, conflict management, and team building. If you would like to learn more contact her at nhaller@mckenziemgmt.com

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