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Resolutions are Easy: The Players, the Haters and Everyone Else

This is a good as time as any to talk about new year’s resolutions and goal setting. After all, it’s a new year with new opportunity. Conversely, a lot of people hate the goal setting because it’s just going to be another reminder of how they’ve failed when they don’t achieve.

Players: 41% usually make resolutions
Haters: 42% never make resolutions
Everyone Else: 17% sometimes make resolutions

Study on Resolutions for 2017

It’s equally split between the haters and the players. And there are a few who can’t decide if they should set resolutions or not. 

Although, I’d guess that everyone really would like to improve their life, but many just can’t be convinced to spend the time doing it.

Let’s dig into goal lore a little... 

For years there was a (often quoted) Harvard study floating around that basically said that “setting clear, written goals for your future and making plans to accomplish them” led to MBA graduates earning 10x as much as those who didn’t set goals.  

Supposedly, a similar study at Yale made the same claims.

....those studies never actually happened....Everything on the internet is not true, apparently... 😳

But, what we do know is that writing down one’s goals is an effective way to boost chances for achievement. That, along with maintaining accountability and commitment, continue to be critical elements. Sounds a lot like transformational leadership to me…. 

 Resolution 1: Write-down Resolutions (and goals)

This is the point where I direct you to the tried-and-true and worn-out guidelines of the SMART goal curriculum. zzz 😴 (memorize these if you've forgotten)

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound

Sorta useful....But those metrics don’t exactly apply to “Healthier Eating” or “Better Financial Decisions”.  

Instead, I like to teach how-to “back-in” to setting goals and resolutions.  Here's a very simple exercise that starts with the End in mind.

  1. Year - Cast your Vision or make a New Year's resolution)
    (What are you motivated to accomplish?)
  2. Month - Identify your action steps
    (set smart goals)
  3. Week - Schedule due dates
    (Whatever you set in your Calendar, ensure you execute)
  4. Win

My example:

  1. Year - Spend more time with the Wife
               Determine what success looks like
               Identify specific time-based activities to do together
  2. Month -  Identify activities, dates, milestones
               Look at calendar to decide dates
               Decide on how often a month
  3. Week - Get them on the calendar
               Reschedule if missed dates, anniversaries, or whatever
  4. Win - (Happy Wife, Happy Life)

By “backing-in” to our goals, we accomplish our grand vision (resolutions) by creating small wins on a weekly (daily) basis. The wins create confidence, a sense of accomplishment and in this case, a better marriage.

It looks simplistic, because (of the way) it is. Difficult plans are difficult to achieve. So do us all a favor and set resolutions you can actually accomplish.  You'll end up joining the Haters if you're not careful...

Resolution 2: Accomplish Goals (Resolve to be resolute on your resolutions)

Now that we’ve talked about the process, how do we actually execute? Getting things done is hard-  Not for the GenDev team, obviously, but you can imagine others struggling, right?

This is the point where I direct you (see the picture above) to creating behavioral changes in your life. Personal change is spurned by the tried-and-true, worn-out discipline over motivation theory.  😴

Allow yourself to be motivated to to create your goals (see step 1), but allow discipline to take over the execution of the goal achievement.

Here’s why: Discipline requires ignoring feelings and taking action.  It doesn't require any brain power to lift dumbbells or to take a walk. Motivation requires a feelings. E.g. “I feel like going to the Gym.” Most people don’t feel like going to the gym. Ever.  

Discipline, Nike, and Johnny Maxwell all say it best: Just do it. Stick to the plan that you created in Resolution 1.

To get started, do NOT wait until you *feel* like it’s time to start. Simply begin to execute the process.

As soon as you’re making progress on your resolution or goal, revel in the “win”.  Allow the winning feeling to influence your mindset.  In other words, celebrate your victories and allow the motivating feelings to deepen and integrate into your thought process.

In closing, I encourage you to take the time to write a few goals down.  If you’re a hater, go out on a limb, take a risk, and share your resolutions below. 👊

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