It is almost the New Year. For some, that means it is time to establish New Year's Resolutions, like
- losing weight
- getting out of debt
- getting fit
- spending more time with family
- reducing stress
- going to school
- getting a new job
To be honest, New Years Resolutions do not work for me. I find it easier to allow my commitments to my personal growth to happen in a more organic fashion. That is, I may have a lot of ideas percolating, and then one day I make a decision, a resolution. Then I make a plan. This works for me.
What Works For You?
If having a specific time of year, like New Years, to reflect and make decisions for the next year fits into the rhythm of your year, go for it!
When the clock strikes midnight, you may resolve to get fit, start a business, slow down…
If you are committed to reaching your goal, it would help to take into consideration the findings of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) regarding the likelihood of reaching a goal when taking the following actions.
- Hear an idea – 10%
- Consciously decide to adopt an idea – 25%
- Decide when they will do it – 40%
- Plan how they will do it – 50%
- Commit to someone else that they’ll do it – 65%
- And when they have a specific accountability appointment with the person they have committed to – 95% actually complete the goal.
Also interesting is the research on procrastination by psychologist Shane Owens and his colleagues at Hofstra University who demonstrated that procrastinators who formed “implementation intentions” were nearly eight times as likely to follow through on a commitment as were those who did not create them. “You have to make a specific commitment to a time and place at which to act beforehand,” Owens says. “That will make you more likely to follow through.”
But Call a Spade a Spade…
Have you ever said, "I going to ________ (fill in the blank)"? But you did not have a timeline, a plan, a commitment to someone or any accountability? And you beat yourself up when you did not follow through!
If you decide to make a New Year's "Resolution" this year, it also helps to acknowledge where you are in terms of your readiness to create an environment that will give you the greatest chance of following through. Remember, if you only consciously decide to adopt an idea (i.e. make a resolution), you have a 25% chance of following though. Not very good odds, huh?
Recognizing this reality helps me decide which ideas to commitment to, defer or drop all together. Making the decision about what to do with my ideas often saves me from the "pain" that can come with beating myself up when I do not follow through on ideas that were, well… just ideas.
Recognizing this also helps me by clearing space in my head for other ideas. I still think that learning to rock climbing is a great idea! Since it has not gone beyond the idea stage, I decided to take it off the table, for now.
Recognizing this also helps me to make the decisions that allow me to have more time to create, "work" and rework my plans for my current commitments.
It's a resolution. It's a wish. It's a fleeting thought. It's an interesting idea.
Happy New Year!