Happy New Year: Resolutions that stick!

January 1, 2019 12:42 pm

New years often inspire us to set goals for improving some aspect of our lives.  Most of the ‘resolutions’ last a few weeks max. The shortest I have seen was a friend who vowed to become a vegetarian but when told the ‘ribs’ did not come in a vegetarian option, went ahead and ordered pork ribs for lunch on New Year’s day!

My career has been about helping people make changes in mindset and behaviour.  Initially working in health psychology, I found my clients typically needed to make changes to prevent further disease/pain, restore physical functioning or improve mental health/coping. In recent years my focus has been helping businesses create environments/cultures that are conducive to high performance and promote individual resilience and well-being.

One critical element that is often overlooked in business is the necessity for the change to have personal meaning for the person making the shift.

Businesses make changes typically to improve performance, efficiency or in recent times enhance innovation. The first concern for most employees is to understand how the change will impact them personally.  As it turns out, asking WIFM is a critical element to ensure success.  Honesty about the reasons behind the change and the intended benefits is respectful and sets a foundation that helps employees build a case for how the changes can also benefit them as individuals. People leaders must actively work with each employee to appraise the impact of the change on them, help them to manage any losses and fully flesh out potential personal benefits both short and long term.

Research suggests asking WIFM is essential for making changes stick.  Recent research demonstrates that sustainable change occurs when it personally matters to the individual making the change.

Here are five steps that will help you keep your New Year’s resolutions.

  1. Identify a personally meaningful and specific goal
  2. Write it down
  3. Think of two personal reasons why you will do it
  4. Create a contingency plan for when something gets in the way of implementation
  5. Keep track and celebrate the new way of working/being every day.

Photo credit:  Snowy Vin on Unsplash

Read the research on The Conversation Making New Year’s resolutions personal could actually make them stick


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