We are 1 month into 2016. And, as usual, this first month of the year flew by. And, as usual, many people either made news year’s resolutions or at least thought about things they would like to change in the upcoming year. And, as usual, many of us have already failed, lost sight of what we wanted to achieve, or are not doing what is necessary to really create the desired change. One thing I know for sure is that when we were thinking of the positive changes we were going to make, we were optimistic. But now, perhaps a little pessimism has seeped in. So, I wanted to pause at the one month mark and touch on this…on the practical and emotional levels.
First, think about what you committed to and do these 5 things…
1. Break the goal down into small actions. I recently heard something about creating lasting change using the power of one. Do one more minute on the cardio machine, smoke one less cigarette, save one dollar a day. Another way of thinking about this is, keep the main thing, the main thing. What is the one thing that will move the chains towards your desired goal? STOP creating these monumental goals…you will never truly feel the WIN.
2. Remember why you wanted to make the change? To me, this is the most important. Without connecting with the deeper reasons why, I can almost guarantee you that you will not have the energy or desire needed to push forward when things get hard.
3. Remember that consistency is key. Long term consistency will always trump short term intensity.
4. Strengthen your relationship with failure. Embrace failure, learn from it, and reset. I fail daily, and the truth of it is, it sucks. But, I do attempt to think through what needs to change and adapt my approach.
5. Call a time out. We are only 1 month into the new year and things are already chaotic. Just like the Denver Broncos will call a time out on Sunday when things aren’t going right, you should do the same. Slow down, think about what needs to get done, and change your approach.
Secondly, realize that most, if not all change, comes with certain emotions. I study change and people and am constantly looking to learn. I have seen many models relating to change/transition, but recently was introduced to one that most resonated with me. I’d like to share it. Why? Because I think it may help you understand the normal emotions in creating sustainable change before your emotions lead you to bail on making a change that could enhance your life.
I will use the goal of landing a leadership position as the example to explain the model. But, I encourage you to think about something relevant in your life….losing weight, being more patient, saving money, being more present, finding a way to give back to the community…whatever, this model is applicable.
Here it is in diagram form followed by my explanation:
Let me explain….Again, using landing a leadership position as the change.
1. Uninformed Optimism. You got the leadership position. You have called everyone you know to let them know. You are going to be the best damn leader that anyone has ever had. You are going to change the culture, get results, and inspire people. BUT, you really don’t know what leadership really entails. You don’t yet understand the complexity of dealing with varying personalities. The weight of big decisions. Thus, truly uninformed.
2. Informed Pessimism. You are now 6 months into the job and have a real taste of what it is going to take. You are trying to balance getting work done and meeting with your employees. You had to fire someone. You are feeling a bit drained, losing hope and realizing that this leadership stuff is not nearly as easy as you thought it was going to be. This is where you start to fully realize what it is going to take to make the transistion and it feels overwhelming….perhaps unattainable. Pessimism and self doubt have started to leak in.
3. Crisis of Meaning. Reality of what it will take has set in. Are you going to continue or not? Will you do what it takes to be the best damn leader or not? See this opportunity through or not? Do the above 5 things I suggested or not? It is decision time and you can do number 4. Crash and Burn (get off the treadmill, yell at someone, smoke another cigarette, buy the unnecessary “thingamajig”) or you can….
5. …Reach Informed Optimism. This last part of the curve is crucial. And, where the hard mental work truly happens. Over the years I have told many people that “true change happens at the bottom of the well”. I think the above model mirrors this message. At this stage you have run the normal course of emotion, done what is necessary and are prepared emotionally and physically to be the best damn leader. Now run with it! All to often people allow the emotions prior to this stage to stop them in their tracks. Don’t be that one! Recognize the normalcy of the emotions and allow your deep resiliency and purpose to kick in.
Now, call a “time out” and think about where you are on this curve regarding important changes you want to make in your life. You have a choice….right here, right now, to move along the curve or to crash and burn. Join me in creating sustainable, life enhancing changes for yourself and those around you. Despite the self doubt, frustration and confusion…You, we, can do it!
Please share some of your resolutions, emotions and wins or struggles on this post by leaving a comment. We can all learn from eachother. If you are not a New Year resolution person (I am not, I live in the mind-space of consistent change), then share some things you are currently attempting to change in your life and let us learn from you.
There really is only one constant in life, change. We are in this together.