Some Thoughts About Resolutions

by Jan 10, 2022Leadership

Are You Making Resolutions?

The tradition of making resolutions at this time of year is widespread, but how useful are they? I cringe, thinking about the resolutions I’ve made, only to ignore them.

The manager at the fitness center I frequent tells the regulars to stay away from Jan. 1st until the middle of the month to avoid crowds. But, she says, “By mid-January, the bloom will be off the resolution rose.” Yet, people make significant changes all the time; it just takes more than defaulting to a ritualized list of resolutions. I now prefer to think about re-design and sometimes revolution because those words signal action well beyond writing a list.

If you are curious about the re-design idea or perhaps revolution, here are a few thoughts that may be of interest.

Ask yourself: What do you want to be different in six months or a year? Be as vague and conceptual as you wish or as specific. This part of re-designing is big picture and maybe impractical but keep your judgments at bay. Thinking is not only helpful, but it’s also perfectly safe. 

Be very clear about what you do not want. I often ask clients this when they are embarking on anything new, whether hiring someone or a different strategy. Once the bad outcome is specified, we can usually see how to avoid it. The success of this thought process is vastly superior to the enthusiasm and over-blown confidence that often accompanies good intentions. 

Abandon what is in the way. How do we know what is in the way? Observe. Who or what is an impediment? Are we stepping over clutter, literally or metaphorically? Are we saddled with old, irrelevant beliefs such as being too old, too young, lacking some credential (perhaps of dubious value or credibility?)  Are we taking too much feedback to heart? The idea that all feedback is a gift is simply wrong; some is motivated by envy or grounded in knowledge that doesn’t apply to our situation.   

Create buttresses. We all need buttresses – things and people that support us and give us the freedom to pursue our design. Trusting relationships means we can run our race and have people we can count on to blow their whistles loudly to signal that we are off track. 

Whether planning a business strategy or a personal one, these ideas can help anyone avoid being trapped by default thinking. But, if it happens, you can re-design at any time and as often as you wish.

Happy New Year!

Einstein, speaking about discovery, said, “…is not a work for logical thought, even if the final product is bound in logical form.”