INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
So you’ve got a few 2023 weeks under your belt, and… you’ve already broken your new year’s resolutions.
You’re not alone. Studies show only 9-12% of people keep their resolutions. In fact, a study of 98 million data points shows most resolutions are broken by January 19th (and a disproportionate amount on January 19th, known as “Quitters Day”).
Don’t despair – here’s what to do to get back on track with your resolution.
1. Don’t give into negativity bias.
Bad emotions take more attention than positive emotions – that’s the negativity bias. If you’re feeling bad about not sticking to your resolution, it adds more stress and anxiety to your life. To avoid that pain, you’ll mentally drift farther and farther away from what it takes to achieve your goals. Instead, double down now on remembering all the good things about you, which will be much more likely to encourage you to get back on track to making the changes you want. In other words, forgive yourself, appreciate yourself, change yourself.
2. Don’t be blinded by the vision of a new you.
Remember that changing habits is about being aware of the patterns of behavior you’ve fallen into, and how difficult they can be to change. That new vision of yourself might be sexy, but underneath, it’s all hard work. Really hard work. Good news is you have fresh data at hand – you’ve very recently missed getting that resolution to stick, right? Now ask yourself, “Why? What got in the way?” Shift your focus to specific micro-goals you can set and achieve, one by one, one small step at a time, until they eventually add up to that vision you resolved to become.
3. Build in more support.
You’re fresh off a resolution failure. So what support can you add in now to help you moving forward? Can you enroll your partner into your new approach to eating healthy? Can you enroll friends to help you stop procrastinating? You get the idea.
Fine, you broke your resolution. Now resolve to adapt, and get back on track.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many make)
I recently came across this beautifully stated reminder of what gratitude really is:
And yet, so many of us forget to show gratitude, despite knowing, in our hearts and minds, it’s vital to do so.
Here’s help. A genius strategy for forging a habit of expressing gratitude each day. (I learned of it from the best advice of 2022 from New York Times readers).
Put 10 pennies in your left pocket. Throughout the day, as you find something for which you are grateful, move one of those pennies to your right pocket. By the end of the day, your left pocket should contain nothing but fuzz and lint.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Here’s an easy, yet powerful trick for being a better leader -one that I learned from a mentor.
Keep a clear glass fishbowl on your work desk.
You can certainly keep a goldfish in it if you’d like (if you’re ready to sign up for the responsibility). But, really, the idea here is to keep a small, empty fishbowl on your desk or shelf. It’s a reminder that, as a leader, like a fish in a fishbowl, everyone is watching you, can see you, and all your actions, all your moves, from all angles, all the time. Your actions matter, are copied even. Your words are remembered, and stick more than you know. How you live your stated values (or not), has a ripple effect.
The weight of water, of expectations (what your people expect/need from you), of your responsibility (as a leader), is always there. Awareness of this will help you swim, not sink.