How are you coming on those resolutions you made for 2012? Did you write them down? Some people do, others do not. Certainly, the beginning of a new year marks a milestone, and like all milestones, this signifies a point in time when you are invited to pause and assess your life and the direction it is headed.
For individuals like me, the act of setting goals and making life shifts in the new year may be more of a head and heart routine than a pen and paper tradition. I acknowledge that penning resolutions helps with the commitment phase, and for business-related resolutions, communicating goals is a necessity. However, I understand that some people rebel this social tradition just because they feel writing down the resolution is an actual punishment.
Others, especially the planners and list makers, are very methodical about writing resolutions, both personally and professionally, “I will lose __ lbs. I will recruit __ employees. I will become more financially stable. I will spend more quality time with my family. I will…” For these innate goal-setters, this works like clockwork. They plan and execute with precision (for the most part).
Whatever your method, goals and resolutions are important for challenging the norm and attaining success in our personal and professional lives.
However, we all know the story. It is inevitable. At least one resolution falls by the wayside, sometimes for the benefit of another. More times than not, we become driven to meet a goal out of obligation instead of sincere commitment.
Even though we began the new year journey with “I will…,” before long, we find ourselves saying “I will not…” in a last ditch effort to will ourselves into making the more challenging resolutions work. In effect, no matter how lofty the goal was, our sense of duty robs us of the joy found in fulfilling it. We experience not only a shift in obligation but a shift in our self talk with statements like, “I will not eat that piece of cake. I will not spend money on that luxury item. I will not answer work calls during dinner. I will not…”
Do you see the pattern? We go from playing offense to defense.
Pretty soon, we feel like we’re cheating ourselves of ‘good things’ in pursuit of the resolution, and our ‘good plans’ get soured with the pressures of life and our less than fond attitudes toward them. Resentment flourishes.
Similarly, this issue with self talk bleeds over to our every day life as well. For instance, I find myself saying things like, “I have to write another blog post…I have to return that phone call.” What is ironic about this is that I want to do those things. In the moment I am writing a blog post (right now for instance), I enjoy it. However, finding the time to do it becomes the issue. I realize that if I make a subtle shift in my attitude by saying, “I get to write another blog post,” I am reaffirming my heart’s desire. It makes all the difference. My heart nods in agreement with the responsibility that lies ahead of me. In effect, the task becomes an opportunity, a privilege, and a joy.
If you can accomplish this shift with something you sincerely desire, imagine the effect it could have on things considered less desirable.
Imagine a list of to-dos that were approached with the idea that there is a world of opportunity not only to get the job done to the best of your ability but also an opportunity to touch lives in the process? Too radical? Try it.
You better believe that people are paying attention too. The people that you lead at home, at work, and in the community listen to your words and are drawing conclusions, right or wrong. They get a sense of your motives by what overflows from your mouth. If you are demonstrating resentment and a negative spirit toward your responsibilities with your words, one thing is for sure. You are not cultivating an environment that encourages positivity and passion for a job well done.
Think before you speak to yourself or others. It matters.
The next time I think about resolutions, to-dos, or goals, I will think before I speak.
No doubt. The purpose of making resolutions is to resolve to be better, set a few worthwhile goals, and make this year better than the last. In that spirit let’s pause to assess the situation. Two months have passed since you resolved to be better. What is the verdict? What is written on the tablet of your heart? What side are you on – obligation or opportunity, duty or privilege, defense or offense, resentment or joy? Would your staff, clients, and family agree?
Pick your side. It is your choice. The clock is ticking, but you still have time to make that shift in your thinking. How will you approach the next 10 months of 2012?
What do you ‘get to’ do today? How do you speak the language of privilege, opportunity, and joy to your staff, clients, and family?