Making New Year Resolutions work
Why do women make New Year Resolutions in the first place? Simply because we would like our lives to be better, more fulfilled, more organized, more satisfying or simply because we are trying to fulfil more of our innate potential.
Sadly however it is well known that many of these New Year Resolutions have been abandoned by the time February dawns.
There are a few steps women can take to increase the chances that our New Year Resolutions will take.
1. One of these skills is intellectual
2. The other is emotional
3. And the third is in the spiritual realm
Firstly, the intellectual skill.
We need to understand that planning is the only control we can exercise over the future.
Planning is a skill in itself which needs to be mastered. We need to have a goal and then have considered all the givens and the not givens. We would need to ask ourselves some basic questions:
What is my goal?
We then need to ask the following questions about the goal:
Who and what is involved? (components)
Who needs to do what? (functions)
By when should it be done? (time)
How should it be done, in what order? (process)
Where and when should each task be done? (conditions)
How well does the task need to be done? (standards)
With what or which whom do these tasks need to be performed? (resources)
Is anyones permission required to perform these tasks? (authority)
What is my reason for pursuing this goal? (rationale)
Finally how will I reward myself for approximating and finally achieving the goal? (reinforcement)
Asking these questions as part of the goals setting exercise will assist you in anticipating what may befall you along the road to your destination. Pre - warned is pre - pared.
Secondly the emotional competence:
Goals need to be aligned with what we attach meaning and purpose to.
What we pursue needs to fit with what we believe in.
When we are tired or distressed and our energy is low it is very often only the fuel of passion which enables us to pick ourselves up and continue along our chosen road.
Goals are often not accomplished because our motivation to achieve them in the first place is fraught with error. If we are pursuing a particular goals to please others, or because we think we should the resolution is fragile from the beginning.
So questions to ask in order to align the goals with our internal motivation would be:
Why do I want to achieve this goal?
What value that I believe in does it address?
How will it make my life better ?
In which way will it bring me closer to who I am what I believe in or what I strive to be?
What may I have to give up if I achieve this goal?
How will people who care about me react to my pursing this goal?
How will those who do not care about me react?
Who will support me, who will sabotage me, who will struggle with the new me?
What am I afraid of?
What can I do or to whom can I go when I run out of energy, faith, or determination?
Remember your emotions tell you what you want and need. They are a messenger that conveys to you whether you are happy or distressed at the hand that life is dealing you. So learning to read these emotions, interpreting them and managing them is critical in ensuring your resilience and stability along the rocky road to success.
The spiritual competence.
The adage reads: Adapt or die.
What this means is that life is constantly changing and moving around us. In fact we ourselves are constantly having to change, and adapt in order to survive. One of those fundamental changes is that we age. As we age or needs change, our perceptions alter, and we need to become more aware of maintaining our abilities, playing to our strengths and, or working with those that lessen.
For myself this has been the greatest lesson. As a young person ( 20 – 35) I found the skill of planning essential in my path of career success. I would write down my goals, I would prioritise them and most of the time whether they were personal, family or professional I would look back a year later to have accomplished 80% of the goals set.
These goals focused around earning money, getting another degree, loosing weight doing exercise and or being promoted at work.
In my later years (35 – 45) meaning became fundamental to my decisions.
Why was I doing this? Why was I here? How did this fit with who I was, or had become, or hoped to become? Did it work for or against me, in my striving to be truer to myself, and fulfill more of my unique potential? Where could I go, or what could I do, so that I could be a better version of me?
Over the last couple of years I encountered a rude shock when trying to implement my age old habit of being pro-active and planning for the year to come.
I had no desire to do so. Nothing seemed to beckon me. Nothing seemed quite important enough to pursue.
This was most uncomfortable for an achiever and a habitual pursuer and of goals.
Over time I have come to understand that there are horses for courses. And that even skills like planning have a time and space. Now I am learning to look, to listen, to explore, to understand and simply to be with what is presented to me. It is then that I can decide how to be, and how to respond optimally.
I no longer try to control the future.
I simply do the best that I am able to, with each day, that I am given as a gift.
I am kinder and less judgmental.
I am less ego driven and not as ambitious
I practice more humility and try to be more understanding
So you see: Plan whilst you can.
Align those plans with what gives you meaning and purpose.
And then simply do the best with what you have. Ultimately is all about not getting more of what you want, but about being happy with and wanting what you have.
Dr Renate Volpe is the CEO of the HIRS Women Leadership Development Consultancy. Should you wish to know more about being developed as a woman leader or join the Early Bird Ladies club for 2007 do call Margareth @ 011 455 0769 or e mail Renate at Renate@ HIRS.co.za or access our web site at www. Hirs.co.za.