Around about now, many New Year’s Resolutions begin to falter. Research shows that 40 – 50% of us make them but only 8% actually achieve them and there are plenty of reasons why the odds of success are stacked against us.
What started with fresh optimism and steely determination a few weeks ago is probably already sliding down the slippery slope of well-worn excuses!
If this sounds like you, don’t feel bad, beat yourself up or despair!
Here’s a simple, highly effective way to make positive changes in your career and life this year.
CHOOSE A THEME
Rather than selecting a narrow, singular goal (eg. lose 10kg or get a new job), choose an overarching theme that will make a significant and positive difference to all areas of your life.
Your theme can address something that’s lacking or strengthen something positive you’d like to build on.
For me, 2016 is the ‘Year of Simplicity’. My tendency to over-think, over-complicate and over-work things can trigger overwhelm, busyness and investing way more effort than is necessary for diminishing returns! Keeping life Simple will help me remove the white noise and focus on what matters most, bringing greater focus, clarity and calm.
The only rule with choosing a Theme is that it needs to be important – something that truly matters to you!
HOW THEMES WORK BETTER THAN NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
“Some habits of ineffectiveness are rooted in our social conditioning toward quick-fix, short-term thinking.”(Steven Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People)
New Year’s Resolutions tend to be narrowly focused and while their intent is usually honourable, they are notoriously set up to fail. The dynamic nature of work and life means that events you may not have anticipated or planned for become sneaky saboteurs.
Have you ever resolved to work reasonable hours (in a bid to improve work life balance), only to find a work place crisis sees you staying back late and starting early to manage the crisis and stay on top of your other work?
Have you ever noticed how once January has been and gone, your New Year’s Resolutions tend to fall increasingly ‘out of sight, out of mind’?
Themes focus on Why and How, rather than What
Choosing an overarching Theme ensures you are committing to thinking, doing and being that way in every area of your life. Your theme creates a focus to hold yourself accountable, no matter what you’re doing. It provides an enduring umbrella under which you can set goals and check in with yourself every day.
Because it will permeate the way you work and how you live, a Theme constantly reminds you that you’re committed to something far more significant than the achievement of a single goal.
Adopting a Theme, the ‘Work reasonable hours’ resolution example could become ‘The Year of Balance and Flexibility’ which allows for unpredictable peaks at work, whilst reminding us to take time out to recharge, once the crisis has passed.
Themes are less restrictive
Whilst losing 10kg or running 10km a day will make you feel better, goals like these are often hard to sustain. When the weight creeps back on or an injury stops you running, a resolution can easily be stopped dead in its tracks.
Choosing a ‘Year of Health and Wellbeing’ theme makes it easier to embed new habits, change your goals or achieve the same outcome in different ways. When you fall off the wagon, a Theme directs you towards an alternative, without the inevitable guilt that comes when you stumble at the first hurdle.
Themes connect you to endless possibilities to achieve an outcome. They provide a strong platform upon which you can set and achieve goals. If one approach isn’t working, you simply change it, without sabotaging your positive intent.
As I travel through this year with Simplicity by my side, I already have a sense of clarity and calm, irrespective of what happens throughout the year. (You can follow me on Instagram @carocamo #yearofsimplicity to see what I discover, that I may have otherwise overlooked!)
Many of my clients are also adopting Themes this year. The following examples and their motivating benefits will trigger ideas and help you decide where you’d like to focus:
Inspiring ‘Year of…’ Theme Ideas
- Year of Embracing Me – to build self-confidence
- Year of Achievement – to take accountability, deliver results and position for promotion
- Year of Leading From the Front – to consciously strengthen proactive leadership
- Year of Making My Move – to make a significant career change
- Year of Thinking Differently – helping self and others think differently to act differently to get a better outcome
- Year of Stepping Back and Trusting Others – to empower and develop others and delegate more
- Year of Being Brave – trying new things to open up new opportunities
Imagine what’s possible under each of these Themes!
So now I’m wondering, what positive change will you create this year?
What will this be the ‘Year of ……….” for you?
Caroline helps mid-career professionals and evolving organisations harness the power of change to achieve success in business, work and life.