“Making change stick”
If you want this year to be better than the last, merely concocting a resolution or two won’t cut it.
Real change takes a lot more than good intentions–which is what most new years resolutions are. The first thing that has to occur is the simple act of noticing, says Paul Witz, author of “One Powerful Mind” (Prentice Hall.) In other words, you probably won’t want to change anything until you notice the need to change.
“This may sound like an oversimplification,” he says. But think of it like taking your car in for unscheduled repairs. The only reason you do it is that you’ve been alerted by a noise or a warning light on your dashboard. “When you start receiving and noticing the warning signals about your life, it is time to investigate and focus on change.”
Warning signs about your career can come in the form of being let go from your job, discussions with your boss about your performance, hating to get up to go to work, constant complaining about your job, not getting along with others or being bored or unfulfilled.
To prompt change you must also have a balance between discomfort and hope, says Witz. “Discomfort generates motivation. Comfort frequently generates complacency. When there is an absence of hope, there is an absence of incentive,” he says.
If you look at the car analogy, you’re uncomfortable when you become aware there’s a problem with your car. You’re motivated when you have hope that your car can be fixed.
It’s uncomfortable to make a change in your career. It might mean talking to people you don’t know. Giving up a feeling of security to go after something more fulfilling. You’ll need balance between this discomfort and hope in order to have a different future.
You also must be able to focus on objectives, not obstacles. Most people do the opposite. They can describe in detail what they don’t want. But few people can precisely describe what they want. It’s fine to think through the obstacles and what might stop you from committing to change. Eventually you’ll need to move beyond the obstacles and focus on your objective, fueled with a fierce determination that nothing will get in your way.
When you’re clear on what you want and committed to getting it, you need to think through: What do I need to commit to? What habits and priorities do I need to change? Do I need help?
If you haven’t achieved past new year’s resolutions, don’t give up. The desire to change yourself and your life for the better is a part of being human. But you need more than a wish and good intentions to make real change stick.