New Year, New You – or is it?

Did you make new year’s resolutions this year? Many of us do. We have good intentions. You might have made a resolution to go to the gym five days a week, eat well, make more effort with friends, get a new job, work more effectively, save more, learn a new skill, or something else.

Why do so many new year’s resolutions fail? Because often they are only wishes and aspirations. We’d love to do those things and we are not necessarily ready to make the changes. As soon as obstacles get in our way, we opt for an alternative route, a route that has forgotten that we had a resolution. Suddenly work is taking over again, the gym is forgotten or the fact that you wanted to see friends on at least two evenings a week.

Think back to a new year’s resolution that worked for you. One where you achieved what you set out to achieve. It might not be a new year’s resolution but simply a change you made real in your life. Many eons ago I decided to stop smoking. I had ‘stopped’ many times before. When I finally did pack it in, it was because I had changed internally. The person that I was becoming didn’t fit with smoking any more. I had started doing yoga, eating healthy, looking after myself. All things that were in conflict with smoking. A mindset shift.

I wonder, does the real change happen inside of us? Is the behaviour change, the change on the outside, the one that we see, just a manifestation of a deeper change? If that’s true and based on my experience of coaching executives I believe it is, then it would make sense to spend more time working on our attitudes, assumptions and beliefs and less time on making resolutions, promises and taking out memberships. We might be better to ask ourselves who we want to be, who we are becoming and why. Spending time doing the work that’s needed on the inside. Once we’ve done that, the outside changes will feel easy, natural and right.

The internal shift often comes with an emotional connection. We don’t shift our mindsets by pure rational thought. Mindset shift happens when your emotions are involved - you feel frightened, delighted, happy, frustrated. Good questions to tap into your emotions are:

-       Who do I want to be and why is that important to me?

-       How will making the change benefit me?

-       What will it cost me if I don’t make the change?

Then marvel as you don’t have to force it anymore, changes happen easier. It comes from a natural desire to become the new you – the one who makes time, works effectively, speaks out assertively, eats and lives healthily – you get the picture.