Have you made your list already? You know, the list with all the things you want to do differently this year. For instance to be more successful in your work, to live healthier, or to change some nasty habits which annoy you more than anyone else.
If you are like most people, your list includes the desire to change behaviours that you have been trying to change for quite a while. Maybe since last year. Maybe for a decade. Or maybe for much longer than that.
But this year will be different, won’t it? You are determined that in this year, change will last beyond the first week of February. No, no, no, you won’t fall into the same trap like you did the last five years…
Well, if what you have been doing so far did not get you to where you really want to be, than indeed you need to do something differently this year to make change last. Here’s how — in three simple steps:
Key No. 1 to Success in the New Year: Acceptance
What’s the worst thing about New Year resolutions? It’s giving them up in February — each and every year. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to become more X [insert your big desire], and than realizing for three years in a row that you never follow through. You might be dreading New Year’s morning by now because you have lost confidence in yourself. You feel you should change, and you feel you really want to change, but you also feel that if you try again this year, it is likely that you will give up like you did before.
Are you a failure? Probably not. It is more likely that you are just human.
In today’s fast paced world with highest expectations about everything and everyone, and the believe that we have to be fully functioning 24/7, it is often suggested that you can achieve anything if you only really want to. And if you don’t, there is only one person to blame: you!
Is this true? Not at all. The reality is that behavioural change is incredibly difficult for most people. Seminars like “how to change your life in one weekend” or “achieve all your goals” simply do not work for the vast majority of us. Full stop.
Perhaps it is time for you to accept that some things in your life will never change. And there might be nothing wrong with that.
To be very clear here: I am not saying that you should accept a miserable live. I am not saying that you should not pursue ambitious goals either. On the contrary: I believe that pursuing your dream is utmost important for a fulfilling life, and I also believe that you can achieve extraordinary things in life. The key is “to distinguish between your wants and your needs,” as one of my mentors said.
When it comes to setting goals or New Year resolutions, the first question you have to ask yourself its this: what do I really need for a rewarding life? And you have to distinguish this clearly from the nice-to-haves.
If your desire to change is a “must” to live the life that you want, than by all means act on it and put all the necessary effort and energy into it. If it’s just a nice to have than you better consider carefully if it’s worth the effort and the risk of repeated failure. Maybe this six pack or the bigger car isn’t really that important after all.
Accepting what will never change (and what does not have to change) is not only the first step in building resilience as Anja Serfontein, the bounce back coach, says. It is also a key for a happier and more successful life in 2016.
Key No. 2 to Success in the New Year: Focus on One
The number one thing that keeps intelligent people from being more successful in their lives and in their business is wanting too much at the same time. I work with ambitious executives who are constantly looking for new ways to improve business results, and that’s great. Today’s information age offers quick and easy access to all kinds of options. However, there is a fine line between easy access to information and total information overload. And amazing new opportunities popping up every day are often just distractions blurring your focus.
One pattern is common across all industries these days: everyone is super busy — but only a few are really productive. Priorities change weekly (if not daily) and because of global, regional, and local initiatives, new projects are started before real progress on the existing ones is made. What looks like a high level of activity is in reality nothing but unproductive hectic.
If you want to be truly successful in the New Year, it is essential for you to focus on the critical few priorities. What is really important, and what do you have to say ‘no’ to in order to get the important things done. Once your priorities are clear, take one step at a time. That’s it.
Key No. 3 to Success in the New Year: Support
Following the advice above will help you to achieve more success in the New Year. There is one problem though: it sounds simple, but in reality it might be much harder than you think. “We are superior planners,” says executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, “but become inferior doers as our environment exerts its influence through the course of our day. We forget our intentions. We become tired, even depleted, and allow our discipline to drain down like water in a leaky bucket.”
Most people will not achieve lasting change without support.
In fact, one thing super successful people from various areas have in common is that they all have some kind of support. Top athletes rely on their personal coaches — not because they are poor performers but because they aspire to even greater things than they have already. They know they would not set world records without their coaches.
Country and business leaders rely on their trusted advisors to help them navigate their most critical challenges.
Why would you want to master your challenges all by yourself? Willpower alone is not sufficient to achieve your goals. And getting help is not a weakness. Instead it is proof that you understand how change works.
Different people need different kinds of support, and you need to figure out what suits you best.
Maybe you need a “running buddy”, someone who wants to overcome a similar challenge like yours, and who helps you to keep going when you just don’t feel like it. As “change buddies” you help each other to hold yourselves accountable, and help the superior planner to become a better doer.
Or perhaps you need a support group of like-minded people. A “master class” that comes together regularly to solve challenges together by bringing different experiences and different perspectives into the discussion.
And of course a personal coach as your trusted advisor and confidant may be the best support for you to achieve your goals and be even more successful in the New Year. — I know, a coach suggesting you get a coach may sound fishy, so you may want to listen to Eric Schmidt, Google’s former CEO instead: during a Fortune Interview he said that one of the best advice he ever got was to get a coach. “A coach really, really helps,” he concludes.
To your success in the New Year!
If you would like an individual consultation on how to hit the ground running and create the right impact in the New Year, contact me now:
phone: +66-2 107 2025