Why I do not make New Year Resolutions
This is the time of the year when people start looking forward to the new year, new beginnings and make their resolutions on how the next year will be different and wonderful.
For the past few years, friends, colleagues and family have asked me, with a hint of anticipation “What is your new year resolution?” and I have answered “I don’t have any”. Have I become a grumpy old man, have I become the Grinch?? May be….or may be, there is another reason...
An idea stays an idea until there is an action plan behind it…
Many of us will start the year with a resolution like “I am going to lose 10 kg” or “I will get fit” or “I will learn another language” and leave it like that. On a good year, we will stick to our resolution until the first hurdle or a few weeks, whichever comes first. What about making it stick by assigning a deadline to it so we have no choice but to work backwards from the end game? For example: Instead of “I am going to lose 10kg”, register for say the Spartan Race in November 2019 knowing that, you have no choice but become fit or it will be near impossible to complete. Then, decide your training plan: what do you need to achieve on month one, month two and so on.
If your goal (to use our example above) was to learn another language, what about you book your holiday in the country that speaks that language so your survival J during your holiday depends on you knowing that language. Then you know what you need to know by when.
All of a sudden, that airy fairy new year resolution becomes a goal that matters to you because it has a date and it has the ability to fail and not be a nice experience if you failed.
In the same way, how much is your company or your department vision worth if it doesn’t have a roadmap to help you achieve it, if it doesn’t have steps to move from where you are today to where you want to be tomorrow? Each year, I both coach and create a yearly vision for my department that fits with the company one but what I have found to be the secret of a successful year when we deliver is that it is not MY vision…it is OUR vision.
The secret of a great goal is that it will affect more than you
Last year, I was privileged enough to attend a Tony Robbins event called Date with Destiny. The premise behind it is for the participant to understand they can literally create their own destiny, that truly we are in charge of our own decisions and many more concepts. One of the concepts that stuck with me is when Tony said that, great decisions or great goals affect more than just yourself because humans are here to give. And this got me thinking…
One of my goals for next year is to have more coaching agreements, more clients and it dawned on me that, the real reason behind it is actually not because I can generate revenue but because, for me, what truly matters is the impact I can have on those clients, helping them achieve their goals and be a part of their journey.
Let’s go back to our first example of losing weight and let’s imagine I am a parent of a young child, of school age that has sports day at school. Let’s imagine I am not super fit and prefer to look at sports day from the side rather than take part. What would happen if instead of making my goal “lose 10 kg” I made it to be “Help my child win the relay race” or whatever the event is. All of a sudden, I am no longer making it about me. I am making it greater than me and helping making my child proud of his/her dad. Not wanting to let my child down, I might decide to go for jogs or gym or anything that will improve my wellbeing. The weight loss (in my example) becomes secondary but will also happen naturally and I, as a dad, will feel much prouder that I help my child achieve something that if I had lost weight just for me.
If we go back to the example of setting a team vision, last year, I set it up as a team exercise: all my team members created our department vision instead of me imparting it on them. What it did was to instantly create a joint sense of ownership. All of a sudden, goals mattered to them as those were our goals, that we created. What it meant is that together we were working towards the same objective, facing obstacles together and achieving them really mattered.
So, you see…I will not be making a set a new year’s resolution in the traditional sense. I will set myself goals that really matter to me and that will impact many people positively. The goals will be tied to dates, so I cannot escape and not deliver. Let’s be honest: no one likes failing and let other people down, and it is something I definitely do not want to do either.