New Years Resolution Solution

by marilyn on December 31, 2015

New beginnings, fresh starts, and promises for a brighter future all come to mind as we ring in a New Year. We resolve to find true love, get in shape, lose weight, improve career paths, make more money and so on. We want to be better parents, partners and children to our aging parents, care more about but others, be better bosses and employees, tone down our temper. . . just be better all around. Yet, most of us break our promises to others and ourselves pretty quickly. Why? Because change is hard and it takes a lot of commitment and a good system to maintain even small changes in our lives.

Psychologists Prochaska and Clemente developed the 5 stages of change model, suggesting we all move through the same phases when making change: pre-contemplation (we don’t even know yet we want or need to change), contemplation (now we want to change or at least are aware of thinking about it), preparation (we’re getting ready to change but not there yet), action (now we’ve made the change at last) and, finally, maintenance (in my mind the hardest phase– usually taking a minimum of 6 months). Can we shortcut the model; that is, condense the stages into a tighter framework? I think so!

My experience with using the Best Year Yet, a simple but ingenious personal and/or business strategic planning program is that if you move through the stages in an orderly and organized fashion, addressing  both action and mindset simultaneously AND build in a maintenance structure of multi-dimensional support ( monthly reviews, peer support, coaching, web reminders) it is possible. The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that they come in a wave of good feeling for fresh starts that we all have at the beginning of the year (possibly after sips of some bubbly) but then life interferes and we don’t have good structures in place to support our good intentions. Despite our good intentions, we haven’t tied our commitments to our values or to a bigger “what for?” We’ve by-passed the critical pre-contemplation phase where we’re working out things unconsciously. Best Year Yet surfaces issues by asking us to look at what we accomplished and what our disappointments were in the previous year. We then get to contemplate what we learned and turn those learnings into guidelines for the new year. In the preparation stage we take the guidelines, look at the various roles we play in life, our values and contemplate actions we might take in the different areas. When we narrow those goals to 10 or fewer we create the plan for action.  The last phase– the one I feel is most important– is setting up monthly, even weekly goals and a plan to revisit the goals on a regular basis. I use the Best Year Yet system you can read about on this website but whatever you do, WRITE IT DOWN and it will happen.

Have an awesome new year!

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