Launching Intentions that last
Turn failing February into a launch pad for success.
Writing a list of resolutions is one thing. But unless you increase your capacity for change and your motivation to continue through the challenges and inevitable discomfort associated with change, you’re setting yourself up to be one of the 80%* whose new year resolutions fail.
Underlying real intention to change has to be the right mindset.
Change brings about emotional arousal. Doing things that don’t come naturally differently (hence the desire to create resolutions) is likely to increase stress and our likelihood for self-sabotage.
So, take a moment to think about what is really important to you and consider your answers to these questions:
- Do your intentions fit with your values?
For example, are you thinking that you need to grow your business and build your empire, because surely that’s what’s expected of company owners? Or are you happy about where you are now, and the balance you’re seeking with life outside of work activities? Phil Rose and I reflected on the controversial confidence it takes to say ‘I’m happy where I’m at!’
- Are your intentions realistic?
We can be great at making lists to be stuck on a board somewhere. Or focusing on one or two things that are too big to be able to clearly imagine yourself taking the first step. So, start with a couple of specific behaviours that you can easily keep in mind.
- Have you planned for success?
You need to be clear about the when, where, what, who and how. Prioritise doing what you need to do each day towards your intention, before other activities that you naturally take time to do (for example, TV). Self-discipline is a skill and a capacity that increases with practice.
- Are you using language to succeed?
Replace the ‘if’ I achieve my intention, to ‘when’ I achieve what I want. We need to cultivate optimism by focusing on the positives and accepting that there will be negatives in life but that these can be overcome. When we accept that there will be challenges, we’re less likely to give up. Position them as a glitch to get beyond. You have a choice about whether you believe in yourself.
- Do you recognise progress?
When you begin to make small things happen, notice! We often fall into the trap of noticing what we’re not doing well enough and instead we should be focusing on what we have achieved. Then we can build on that. Using a positive feedback loop, where we notice improvement and learn from it, increases the quantity and quality of the behaviours we want to develop. Self-awareness is critical.
If you’re struggling to get motivated, to plan for your own success and emotional health, to overcome the challenges that are getting in the way, or you’re simply feeling lost or overwhelmed, get in touch. Having a conversation with someone looking though a different lens can offer a different view and help you take the first step.