Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Resolutions or no resolutions: leading to a new you.

Resolutions or no resolutions: leading to a new you.

Recently in a meeting with other leaders, we began a discussion about making resolutions and whether making resolutions is still in vogue. Interestingly, the discussion had just two sides: yes and no. One leader representing the negative stated “No one makes resolutions anymore.” Another, representing the positive, stated: “We need to help people turn resolutions into reality.” The following are six reasons why we should develop and complete resolutions.

Resolutions are not passé.
Ironically, in 2013, CBS conducted a poll. The poll basically stated that “sixty-eight percent of Americans surveyed said they don’t make New Year’s resolutions — up 10 percentage points from two years ago.” Other research shows that making resolutions are still in vogue. In fact, resolutions can offer you a fresh start. In a December 2014 research article from the Wharton School, researchers Dai, Milkman, and Ri called the idea of making resolutions the “fresh start effect,” concluding that many of the fresh starts began at the beginning of the year or at the beginning of “temporal landmarks.” These landmarks can be birthdays, marriage dates, the first of the year, or any time the person wants a fresh start. Perhaps, instead of naming them resolutions, we should call resolutions “fresh starts.”

Resolutions propel us toward self-improvement.
Most of us want to improve our lives, one way or the other. What we need to realize the making and completion of resolutions help us improve our lives. During the leadership discussion, one leader mentioned that we should “accept the burden of self-improvement. In a Forbes magazine article, Ashley Feinstein discussed some research Gail Matthews from Dominican University wrote about goal settings. Feinstein stated that “those who wrote down their goals accomplished significantly more than those who did not write down their goals.” Making and keep resolution help improve our lives.

Resolutions lead to intentionally planning our lives.
Throughout history, particularly in recent history, people believe they should live spontaneously. One of the leaders in the discussion called this spontaneity “accidental living,” just doing whatever comes up and not caring for what comes after, causing us not to worry about the potential consequences. This spontaneous living creates challenges and maybe even life-threatening actions. Usually somewhere along the way, people stop and confess that they have wasted their lives. Many work hard in making the appropriate changes through making goals and resolutions to change and then sticking to them. Making and completing resolutions lead to intentionally living well. We ultimately have the choice to do or not to do.

Resolutions help us answer the question “Where do I need to improve?”
Sometimes our boss asks us in our annual assessment or evaluation: “Where do you think you need to improve?” Our boss knows exactly where we need to improve because most good leaders do not ask questions they do not already know the answers to. They want us to be conscientious in acknowledging our short comings and/or our performance. Consequently, we create goals to improve our performance and then work hard so our next performance evaluation is a stellar one. Additionally, we also ought to do a personal periodic review to propel us to determine what we need to improve our personal lives.

Resolutions are what leaders do.
Great leaders make goals/resolutions, create objectives that are measurable, develop strategies to achieve the objectives, and then assess how they successfully or unsuccessfully completed their goals and objectives. Some years ago, the Holden Leadership Center at the University of Oregon wrote: “Goals help define your organization, give direction and avoid chaos.” Thus, leaders do not haphazardly follow a path. They know what they want and seek diligently in accomplishing their tasks..

Resolutions do not allow status quo.
In reality, there is no such thing as status quo. Either you are progressing or retrogressing. Most of us—thankfully—have to be doing something. Making and completing resolutions propel us forward for the most part. Granted, some of us do not keep our goals. In the CBS Poll, only “three in 10 Americans say they usually make New Year’s resolutions — but only about half keep them.” The challenge for not completing hinges not making obtainable goals or making too many. According to psychologist Dr. Lynn Bufka “Setting small, attainable goals throughout the year, instead of a singular, overwhelming goal on January 1 can help you reach whatever it is you strive for. Remember, it is not the extent of the change that matters, but rather the act of recognizing that lifestyle change is important and working toward it, one step at a time.”

Whether you call it setting goals, making New Year’s resolutions, creating lifestyle changes, or developing a fresh start, doing something to improve your life, health, attitude, eating habits, exercise, or spiritual being will eventually lead you to self-improvement. When we gang up on ourselves by making dozens of resolutions or changes in our life at the same time, we will melt into oblivion and pound ourselves for not accomplishing all of the tasks. The key is to do like Dr. Bufka counsels, you must take one step at a time.

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