January 2nd, 2012 // 7:39 pm @ Coach Lynn
As a professional behavioral coach I couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk about New Year’s resolutions this month. It’s the be-all-and-end all of behavior change. It makes me giddy thinking about all the folks out there engaging in the exercise of attempting to change a habit. The problem is I can already predict that most of you will fail. Sorry to be Debbie Downer on your party, but it’s true. Research says only 12% of resolutions actually succeed. Here’s why they fail.
- You haven’t clearly envisioned the future. You know what you don’t want, but you haven’t yet clearly defined what you DO want. My first question with new coaching clients is always, “What is it you really want?” It usually takes some time for people to articulate what their ideal future looks like. I encourage you to dream big.
- Your motivation for change isn’t compelling enough. Your reason for change has to be more compelling than the “why not change” or you’re never going to do the hard work associated with change. What’s the payoff of making this change? Are you sure it’s worth it?
- You haven’t translated vision into specific, actionable tasks. Some people stop when they’ve identified what they want – “I want to spend more time with my family.” Great! That’s a lovely intention. What’s the one big thing you have to do next to move the ball forward? Schedule Friday’s off work? Test it – is it too big (not realistic) or not big enough (low impact).
- You haven’t identified your competing commitments. Remember we’re all given the same 24 hours in a day. When you add something to your plate then you’ve got to make a commitment to take something off your plate. If you’re going to start spending more time with your family, then you’re committing to stop watching your favorite TV shows at night.
- You haven’t prepared your environment for success. So now you’ve got a specific actionable item you’re going to start doing and you know what you’re going to stop doing. Have you told others about your commitment and asked them to support you and hold you accountable? Have you removed all the potato chips from the kitchen pantry? Have you created a tracking system to record and monitor your progress? Do you have a backup plan for when your experiment needs adjustment?
Right, I’ve hit you smack between the eyes and burst that euphoric feeling we all get when we set a good intention. This New Year, if intention isn’t enough for you, if failure isn’t an option, then I suggest you get yourself a coach to hold you accountable and help you manage the change process. Your odds for success will go up – guaranteed.