I was reading an article that pointed to research showing that 80% of us fail to keep our resolutions by February… the promise of change, the promise of renewal, the promise of hitting our sales targets, the promise of… well does it really matter what the promise is? Most of us fail in keeping our resolutions anyways. So go ahead have that extra beer, munch another cookie… right… Or is there another way?
In thinking a lot about change over the last year (because what we do here at Visualize is all about change) I have come to one conclusion – change is easy when people really want to change. And they require line-of-sight to two aspects of change – Why and How
In 2020 it is excepted that 11,091 athletes will descend on Tokyo for the Olympics and we could safely bet that each one of them has a medal as their overarching goal… their Why if you will (or Business Issue if we want to go there). There are somewhere around 3000 active players at any given time in the NBA, NFL and NHL… and I am sure they all dream of winning a championship at some point. Perhaps that is their Why.
And the why is critically important!
However, the important consideration should not be just the goal… everyone wants the brass ring. We all want that new client landed, that bonus, the big vacation as a result. The issue is HOW we are going to get there. Under each goal has to be solid, actionable steps that will create the path to get there. What are the specific actions that we can take to ensure we set out on the right path and stay there. To make them a real catalyst these have to be aligned to the Problems and Roadblocks we face in achieving our goals.
On top if that (and thanks to the work of James Clear and BJ Fogg amongst others) we need to build the small habits that become lifelong habits that allow us to unconsciously do the right thing for the right reason. Now before you get all uppity about thinking I am advocating working 24 x 7 – I am not. I love me my downtime – Netflix, golfing, cycling… Just when the time is right.
In my research I keep landing upon the notion of the importance of tweaking our environment to ensure that we stay focused on those habits. Here are two quick examples
- I told my wife that a goal of mine was to be more productive this year. She asked what I was going to do to be more productive. I think I said ‘well, I am going to focus on being productive”. With a roll of her eyes she asked for a specific example. After a little thought and research I decided to delete Reddit from my phone. It is a fun and somewhat informative app but when I looked at my usage details I was shocked. Could that ‘reading time’ be spent on something more productive … absolutely. So I tweaked my environment to add time on my calendar to read articles that are personally and professionally interesting but it is now focused time
- While being relatively fit, one of my weaknesses is impulse eating (and I don’t mean impulsively chowing down on a salad…) So I have started to have veggies cut up and ready to eat in the fridge. With changes to my body’s metabolism I have to tweak my environment and have the right foods available and the bad foods out of sight/reach (and I have long arms)
The goal is important and exciting but more important is the how (build a Mutual Plan with yourself and those who are part of your support system)! Personally and professionally there are many things we can do to stay on track…Here’s hoping we all move beyond the 80%!