Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? How’s it going?
Studies show that most people have given up on their resolutions by January 19. Does that describe you?
No shame here. Most new year’s resolutions are set up for built-in failure. If that slice of chocolate cake at your nephew’s birthday party forever blew up your diet, don’t think of it as failure. You don’t need to wait until the beginning of a new year to gain the benefits of new habits that will result in self-improvement, self-fulfillment, and self-worth.
Many resolutions are either punitive and guilt-induced and not carefully planned or both, and the artificial beginning point of January 1 adds to the unrealistic expectations. You can start positive changes on any day of the year, and knowing this puts you, not the calendar, in control.
As a matter of fact, don’t think of them as new year’s resolutions but as choices – again, this puts you in charge. Being in charge means you can set your own goals and stay flexible enough to respond to changed conditions. It means that you can learn from failure and escape the temptation of blaming setbacks on things you can’t control.
Author and corporate trainer Jack Canfield has devised a formula, E + R = O (Events + Response = Outcome), which puts you in charge of your own success. The variable in the equation is E, events, the external factors over which you may not have much control. But you do have control over the R, your response to those factors. Your response is what determines that the O, or Outcome, advances you to your goals. Applying this formula to personal resolutions, it’s easy to see that many people don’t get the outcomes they want because their response (lack of focus, too busy, loss of interest) to events (busy schedules, family obligations, financial challenges, and a host of other things we can chalk up to life) results in falling back on the same old habits.
To maximize your response to help you achieve desired outcomes, a few simple steps can guide you:
1. Begin with a specific, achievable objective.
Whether it’s a personal goal of exercising more or business goal of increasing sales, set achievable objectives that will get you to your desired outcomes. Make the objective specific and put in in writing where you will see it every day. Start small and build on new habits.
2. Set benchmarks and measure your progress.
Daily journaling is a great way to keep track of your activity. Consider bullet journaling to state objectives and outcomes and establish benchmarks that can be checked off as they are reached.
3. Make allowances for setbacks.
And there will be setbacks. Special occasions, illness, unforeseen events, and the other events in Canfield’s occasion will tempt you to give up the pursuit of your objectives and derail your desired outcomes. Make allowances for these events. Record your responses. Remember why you want the outcome you set in the first place and resolve to get back on track.
4. Recruit accountability partners.
You don’t have to do it alone. Create or join a team of people who value the same outcomes that you do. A team not only holds you accountable, but helps you identify outcomes, clarify your goals, and encourage you through setbacks. And, finally, a team is more fun to have around when you approach this last vital step:
Build celebrations into your goal setting. Identify milestones that are celebration-worthy and reward yourself for a job well done. Positive reinforcement is a powerful incentive to continue your efforts. Include your accountability partners or team, whether it’s a thank you note for support or a fun outing for a group.
Group Dynamix is in the business of helping teams achieve positive outcomes. Our Communications and Team labs teach groups how to build collaboration, trust, leadership, and initiative through “action learning” designed to let participants experience the elements of teamwork that help them work through challenges and solve problems that they can apply to actual situations. And our fun outings are highly rated for celebrations of all kinds. Let our “events” lead to great “outcomes” for you!