resolution noun /rɛzəˈluːʃ(ə)n/ (DECISION) a promise to yourself to do or to not do something.
I have never been a “New Year’s Resolution” sort of person. At a young age, the phrase was tainted by its association with the word “broken”. And as I grew up, it became commonplace to hear friends and colleagues make bets and joke about when they would give up on their resolutions. Yes, I am ambitious. I love developing myself, setting “impossible” goals, and smashing them - so much so that I now dedicate my days to doing this for organisations, business leaders, and high achievers. However, New Year’s Resolutions have always felt arbitrary and associated with feelings of stress and an uneasy pressure to not fail. New Year, New You, right? Really?! You either meet your resolutions completely or fail and immediately fall back to being the same old you from yesteryears.
Resolutions aren’t all bad. There is something empowering and transformational about making a commitment to yourself. After all, this is an action I have all my clients do before we close each session. However, a resolution without a clear vision, a connection to that vision, and a strategy to drive your actions forward is ultimately doomed to failure. Studies show that 80% of resolutions fail, with most being broken by Valentine's Day. Instead of setting a random, chore-like, “should-do” resolution for 2020, choose instead a proven, motivational, transformative approach that focuses on You!
“Each moment describes who you are, and gives you the opportunity to decide if that's who you want to be.” - iPEC Foundation Principle
1. Create your “I Am” Vision
My New Years Resolution: "I will spend more time with my family and friends”. Resolutions like this are all too common. As well-intentioned as this is, you can almost see the missed ending - “... until work takes over my life again”. It is generic (anyone could have written it, and many have), uninspiring (where’s the excitement?) and reads like a “tomorrow-goal” (“I will…”). Not a great way to set yourself up for success.
Instead, create an “I Am” Vision Statement. This is a statement that describes who you want to be. The type of person who would not only smash such a bland resolution, but will achieve so much more. Your “I Am” Vision Statement must be:
Crystal clear. The more specific you are, the better. Your vision should be so clear that you can actually see (i.e. visualise) yourself as that person. One way to start building this vision is to think of a time when you were at your best - winning at life! How would you describe yourself in that moment?
Compelling. If you aren’t excited to be that person, what are the chances you'll make the choices needed to step into your vision? So ask yourself: "Why is being this person truly important to me?". Highlight your core values within the statement, as a source of motivation. This connection with your vision will become your main driving force, especially when things get challenging.
Stated in the Present. The reality is that the person you describe in your “I Am” Vision Statement is someone you already are. Maybe not consistently, in its entirety, or at your current phase of life, but you have been that person before. So you can totally be that person today! So why not see yourself as that person now! What’s the worst that could happen?
My "I Am" Vision Statement: "I Am an ambitious, high-performing business leader who creates cherished memories with my friends and family every day. Even when work gets challenging, I find creative ways to prioritise time with my loved ones because I know it will actually make me a more engaged, energised, and inclusive leader.”
By knowing exactly who you want to be, being excited by that vision, and believing you already are that person already, big and small decision-making moments (e.g. checking your phone to see if a random "emergency" has come up in the 20-minutes since you left your desk, during a lunch date with your spouse) become just that little bit easier because you are genuinely motivated to move towards your ideal self.
2. Prepare for and Tackle You Inevitable Mindset Barriers, Head-On
If your "I Am" Vision is ambitious enough, alongside your motivation will come self-sabotage - “Sounds great, but it’s obviously too good to be true.”. It’s time to ask yourself (or get your coach to ask you) the tough questions: Why is it too good to be true? Where does that belief come from? What situation might come up where you would choose not to be that person? What could you do to address that situation in a way that your "I Am" Vision of yourself would be proud? By being aware of the specific barriers that you naturally put up, you can create a plan of action that further sets you up for success.
3. Develop a Purposeful Strategy
Now onto the plan! Go back to your “I Am” Vision Statement. What would a high-performing leader who cherishes their family/friends do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis? - Put time in her calendar to visit a friend going through a difficult situation? Pre-book a weekly dinner date with his spouse? Set up a running club with her closest friends? Have a digital album of his loved ones on display in his office? If it’s important to you, plan ahead and put it in your calendar. Make it visible. What is visible will be front of mind. What is not, will be deprioritised. By pre-planning actions that align with who you want to be, you are stepping into that vision and it becomes easier to make decisions that align with your vision.
4. Confidently Take Action Steps Forward
“Each moment describes who you are, and gives you the opportunity to decide if that's who you want to be.” This is one of my favourite life principles. It is a reminder that who you are is based on the actions you take in any moment, and therefore in any moment you have the power to take actions that align with who you want to be, what is important to you, and ultimately what you truly what. So when you’ve had a full week of late work commitments and it’s time to decide whether to spend a lighter evening doing work that's not due until next week or keeping your commitment to spend time with your kids, remember that it’s the little actions that add up to the successes that you seek!
5-Minute New Year’s Challenge:
Pick an “impossible” goal that's been niggling in your mind for a while. Go with the first one that pops into your head
With that goal in mind, create your “I Am” Vision Statement - a vision of your ideal self who would turn that “impossible” goal into reality
Read your "I Am" Vision Statement to someone near you (accountability is real, friends!). It doesn’t matter who it is - your best friend, coach, spouse, mentor, pastor, child, a fellow passenger at your boarding gate. Then finish by saying “I commit to being this person every day”.
Want help developing the clarity, confidence, and strategy you need to push through difficult challenges and become the leader you want to be, in all areas of their lives? Let’s chat! Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or book some time with me here.