New Year’s resolution beginning to weigh on you? Then maybe it’s time to give yourself a break.
We’re not saying give up on your resolution (what kind of leadership consultancy would we be if we advocated that?). What we’re saying is what you already know: change is tough.
So before we offer a few ways to smooth out the wrinkles in change, let’s just stop for a second to recognise what makes it so hard.
Change is Change
Of course one of the things that makes change difficult is that things are, well, changing. That might seem glaringly obvious but when something changes either for good or bad, there’s a time when we have to get used to that change. And that can be uncomfortable.
It’s a series of emotions beautifully illustrated by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her famous change curve. If you’re not sure what that is you can find an example here. But in brief it’s the upside down bell curve that tracks the emotional journey of change from denial to depression to acceptance.
The Cycle of Change
Maybe like me your New Year’s resolution is to be healthier. So, when we’re feeling those hunger pangs and wishing our next meal was not a green juice we’re in the denial phase of the change curve.
Wishing we hadn’t eaten all those chocolates over the festive season and thinking if we could have just maintained a healthy diet all year round we wouldn’t be looking at a bowl of quinoa and kale for dinner right now. “It’s impossible,” we say, “every year the tasty treats end up being more like a staple food.” Now we’ve hit the depression stage.
But when we (and we will) get to the point when we can wear those jeans that haven’t fitted for six months we begin to feel more positive. Finally we’ve hit acceptance and we’re actually craving vegetables instead of a burger.
Change, whether personal or organizational always seems to go through those stages.
New Tricks for Old Habits
The trick isn’t zooming your way to acceptance, it’s about finding your way out of the bottom of that curve when you get there.
How does that happen? Well here are a few tips to help make your New Year’s resolution your new habit:
- A lack of information is the best way to make sure nothing gets done. So before jumping into that new diet, gym regime or venture, take the time to find out exactly what you’re getting yourself into: knowing when to expect the bumps makes them less likely to knock you off course.
- Motivation is a great word but it’s a little too abstract when things get tough. Instead think about your reasons for your resolution. Screen savers, status updates, and joining a group are all good ways to keep those reasons at the forefront of your mind.
- Being in charge of your own destiny is among the most liberating feelings of all. Finding ways to gain control of your situation and exerting that control could be the most important step to making change stick.
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