Ben Burch, Proverb Founder, takes us through his approach to 2018.
Image - Thom Evans, Proverb Brand Ambassador. Photo - Jay McLaughlin.
So as we head towards the end of Jan, how are those New Year resolutions going? Perhaps you are still holding out, maybe you have not forgotten them totally, whatever the current state of play – let's help you to increase your chances of success. I don’t have a problem with New Year resolutions, I just think that you are set up to fail from the start if you don't add in a few extra steps.
First you have to work out what motivates you to take action – perhaps you are just interested to try something, maybe someone you trust told you or you simply want to make a change in your life. Firstly – create a compelling reason and understand it, really get to grips with the “why”. Whatever the reason you have to commit to the change – will power. Personally I don’t believe in will power alone. Those of you that know me will be thinking “what, Ben’s so focussed* he must have so much will power?”. I just don’t trust will power, it is simply not enough, when the going gets really tough – I want something stronger than that, I want something that you can’t convince yourself to “take a break” or “go on, just have a day off today, you deserve it”.
The mind is an amazing power but you have to learn to use it.
Accountability, set up a really strong set of reasons as to why you can’t quit on your resolution – not just one, a whole string of them. Every reason that you can build is another prop that will hold you up when you need it. Tell your friends, family, co-workers – tell them what you are doing, ask for their support if needed but the bottom line is you need to make it public – don’t wait, get out there. Why? Because your mind might let you convince yourself to let yourself down and come up with some bullshit internal excuse – but it will be much harder to go public with that. We've all been there, remove the option for failure. Create accountability.
If you need to you can borrow Tim Ferriss’ technique: take a really embarrassing photo of yourself one that should never go public. Then give it to someone you trust (really trust!) and tell them: “if I don’t stick to my resolution for the next 3 months, you have my permission to post this on every social media channel with a few popular hashtags to get it seen”. How’s that for a reason to stick to the plan?! Once you’ve done 3 months… do it again!
So now we have a reason and strong accountability – what is the last pillar to make our resolutions stick? Measurement – it is well known in management, you get the performance and outcomes that you measure not what you ask for. So – set up measurements that fit your resolution. You need to check back on these each day/week/month. Importantly track your progress - write it down, find an app, tell people how you are getting on, whatever the method. Get feedback and constantly reinforce the process and progress.
- Find a compelling reason to change
- Make yourself accountable to yourself and to others
- Measure your progress against your resolution
Lastly, don’t make excuses, don’t give yourself a way out – you want this, go and get it.
* Ben Burch, is a very focused guy, he is a former Great Britain Rower who recently completed the arduous Marathon Des Sables comprising of 160 miles in 6 days across the desert for ‘fun’.
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