Doesn’t the new year seem like yesterday? Where has the time gone and whatever happened to our resolution to lose 5 kilos, run 3 times a week, or the promise we made to engage more at work by performance-coaching direct reports?
We shouldn’t beat ourselves up. Behavioural change is one of the toughest assignments ever. It’s all there in the science. With strong intention and relentless repetition, we can build new neural pathways, but they will have to compete with the constant onslaught of the old familiar default programming implanted years back.
So yes, the science behind change is challenging but our most common reason for failure is actually our tendency to stop trying after we’ve had a few disappointing slip-backs. Those who succeed have overcome, on average, 5 relapses to old ways before finally emerging victorious.
I’m saying, it’s not too late.
5 ways to get your NYR back on track before the fireworks of 2018.
Review your vision:
As a business leader, you would have a crisp, strategic vision for how you take your products & services to market. Use a similar technique for your NYR. Get clear about the details of the new behaviour you seek and the methodologies you can put in place to bring it to fruition. Project success in your imagination. See your resolution completed as if you were watching a movie of yourself where you’re thinner, more fit and/or highly engaged with your staff.
Reassess your care-factor
This compelling vision will be for naught if the emotional energy behind your change-goal is a ‘should do’ rather than a ‘want to’. We need to be highly motivated to cut through our default programming.
If you find genuine care-factor is lacking, try ‘selling’ your resolution to yourself using the classic sales technique of ‘Needs, Features & Benefits”. Ask yourself “What do I want to change and why?” “What does the strategic solution to that change look like?” and “How will I benefit by making the effort?”
Refresh your strategy
Having reviewed your goal and its ‘why-bother’ factor, re-establish an action plan for your behavioural shift. Brainstorm a refreshed approach to the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’ you’ll make it happen. Produce a strategic process that you can follow each day to ensure that at least on a practical basis you’ll know how to follow-through on your resolution.
If you had an important presentation to the Board coming up, you know you’d be practicing your delivery in the shower or on your drive to work. Use the same technique to prepare for engaging with your NYR. Hear your inner voice both choreographing and confirming your new mindset.
Anticipate slip-backs and persevere
In fact, befriend them. Change takes time and small steps work best, but there will still be moments where you’ll want to revert to your old familiar behavioural comfort zone.
Your secret to success will be to relentlessly push through the pain of change and do it anyway!