January 5, 2009 § Leave a comment
Hi – I get requests every January to repost this article I wrote about keeping New Year’s Resolutions. Here it is! Enjoy!
New Year’s Resolutions – Easy as ABC
New Year’s Resolutions. They seem so easy to decide on and so difficult to carry out and achieve. Can they be as easy as ABC? Or 123? I think they can. Having begun my career teaching ABCs and 123s I know that the most effective way to learn something new is often the simplest way. With that in mind I created a system for my clients to help them set and achieve New Year’s Resolutions that’s as easy as – ABC and 123. I call it the 5Ws.
Think back to when you were learning how to read and add for the first time. You take for granted now the ease with which you read and comprehend but back then? Every new letter was difficult if not complicated. New sounds made by new vowels got the whole thing mixed up in your head. Oy. Or would that be oi? And what’s all this about a 1 and a 5 being 15, isn’t it 6?
Life seems to get more complicated as we get older and wiser. Once you get used to doing things a certain way it can feel unbearable to change. Making the changes in the simplest way possible is often the best ways to shift, change and move forward.
How about going back to the basics, and the strategies that worked when you were learning the basics? Step by step. Patience. Persistence. Pride in a job well done. Retracing your steps to find out what went wrong when you slip up. Breaking down complicated jobs into easy manageable tasks. Doing your homework. Rehearsing for the performance and often taking one step backward for every two steps forward.
The 5W System – As easy as ABC and 1,2,3
Journal supplies – a notebook and pen/pencil or computer.
New Year’s Resolutions supplies – Your wishes, goals, hopes and dreams.
Strategy supplies – Your strengths and limitations.
As you answer the 5W questions below, jot them down in a journal you’ll be starting especially for this. Keeping a journal can often help in answering the 5Ws and helping you keep your resolutions.
The journal will give you a starting point aside from January 1st to refer to. A week or a month from now you can see how much progress you’ve made and decide if you’re happy with your progress, or lack thereof. You can continue from there. You can modify your tactics and start differently. Or you can start again using different techniques that fit your lifestyle better.
The 5Ws? Simple. Who, What, Where, When and Why.
* Who are you today and who would you like to be a year from now?
* Why do you want to make the change? Emphasis on YOU*.
* What changes in behavior and shifts in attitude will you need in order to make the changes and achieve your goal?
* Where can you get support to help you make the change? People, books, websites, journals etc.
* When is the best time of day/week/year for you to make the change? To evaluate the change? To take action toward achieving the change?
*A couple of tips to help you answer the “Why” for YOU.
OK, you’ve decided you want to make a change. Think about the change you’ve decided you want to make. You. Yes. Not anyone else who wants a change from you. You. OK. Are we there yet? One more minute. Think about it. It’s OK – you can say, “I want to _______”. If you need to whisper it that’s OK, I can listen very carefully. If you need to write it down and burn it before anyone sees it, that’s also OK. If you want to send yourself an email describing it, try that. Whatever works.
Now that you’ve decided what it is that you’d like to do/be/achieve, what mountain you’d like to climb, what number you’d like to see on the scale or in your bank account, which salutation you’d like to see before or after your name, what new places you’d like to explore or books you’d like to read….there’s another step to take before we start planning the How.
Why do you want _________________________?
Find a place and time where you can sit quietly and think and have a real conversation with yourself or with your coach. Explore the reasons. Sure there are the first few surface/off the cuff that come to mind easily. Dig deeper. Keep asking yourself why until you’ve gotten to the real reason you want to achieve “whatever”.
If we were working together I’d keep asking you why, why, why until we got to the real results you were after. So? What’s the real reason? What do you really hope will be the result of your resolution?
Once you’ve figured out the “Why” it’s easier to schedule and sort out the rest. You’ll know the end result you’re trying to achieve. By answering the Who, What, Where and When you’ll be able to schedule the small tasks needed to make the change into your schedule.
Why? Why not? Why shouldn’t you have the best year you’ve ever had before? Can you think of one good reason? I didn’t think so. So go for it! Out with the old and in with the new.