With the beginning of a new year, comes a surge of resolutions by people who want to be better physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. Year after year millions of individuals and companies make resolutions at the beginning of each year about what they plan to do to make that year better than the last, and year after year the majority of these resolutions never happen.
With individuals, often the resolutions are nothing more than a list of items on a piece of paper or a mental list of aspirations for the new year. These are basically lists of goals, but without a reason, a time line or the steps necessary to achieve them – no plan. Individuals serious about making changes can do it by setting goals, but they need to be SMART goals. SMART is an acronym used to define how to set up goals in order to give you a better chance of following through. When setting goals, there are some basic principles that should be used, these principles are referred to by the SMART acronym which means that your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. I’ll get more in to that in a future post.
With companies, the desired changes are also many times similar to that of the individual’s lists, but often they are actually thought through and discussed with at least the management team. The level of discussion and thought process varies by company size and visionary ability of the companies’ leaders. The obstacle that companies or organizations face is that the changes that are desired and many times required involve more than the individual or group deciding on the change, it involves everyone that will be affected by the changes. This could mean a department, a division, the entire company, and even its suppliers and customers.
So why do so many resolutions made by companies and individuals never actually get completed? A few reasons are mentioned above like not creating SMART goals, no having a plan, lack of a clear vision, but the biggest obstacle that people face when trying to make the transition from what they are to what they have resolved to be is that they must “change”. Change?! Yes, change….
People fear change, it is a natural reaction. Why? Change requires us to adjust our routines, our thought processes, our habits, etc. Wait a minute – aren’t all these things the reason that changes are required? Yes it’s true, but the routines, habits, and thoughts that must change we’re developed over a long period of time and are now ingrained in our minds. We have become comfortable with these things and they are all ready to be called up when our lives get crazy busy and we kick in the autopilot to stay on course, or at least a course. Every course has a destination, is the destination you’re heading for the one you desire?
Unfortunately, it’s the autopilot that keeps us on the wrong course. To make a change, we need to start flying manually while the autopilot is re-programmed. This is where the hard work comes in, where we need to think about our decisions on meals, exercise, work schedule, educational and spiritual habits – anything that our autopilot used to handle. Re-programming requires testing, tweaking and testing some more to get the new course input. Once we see that the new course corrections are working, we can eventually start using the new autopilot to take us in the new direction we need to be going. This process takes time, energy and willpower, most resolutions fail by the end of the first month, but for those that can get through 6-8 weeks of these course corrections, they have a far greater chance of success.
When making your resolutions for this year, and yes – you can make them after December 31st, consider a few helpful thoughts:
- You did not get where you are overnight nor will you change overnight.
- Not all changes need to be big and immediate, consistency is the key.
- Every course has a destination – make sure it’s where you want to end up.
- Your Autopilot is what is currently keeping you off the course you want to be on – you need to re-program it.
- Re-programming requires a new flight plan and your new flight plan starts with a vision of your desired destination.
- Building you flight plan starts with SMART goals.
This may seem like a lot of time and work, but the reality is that you will gain back all the time invested and then some when the new or improved you arrives at the destination you truly desire.
In future posts, I’ll get more in to the process of change, the various methods of change and more on the importance of change.
Happy New Year!!