To Resolve New Year’s Resolutions

newyear15New Year’s are a moment in time to both reflect the past and imagine the future; perhaps the most thoughtful time of the year. As we all know, this is the time that people make New Year’s resolutions. “I’ll eat better, exercise, accomplish more, be more green, learn a new language, write a novel, keep up with relatives…” And on it goes. Of course, most of these well meaning declarations of being a better person fail, often within days after they are made.

It is human to have good intentions. It is also human to ignore them, even while they are made sincerely and with great commitment. But why?

There are a few things. All of them are structural. In other words, the reasons why they fail have to do with the structural dynamics that are driving the process.

  1. The resolves are about fixing yourself. Therefore, they are problem or conflict based, and not true desired outcomes. The underlying assumption is that you’ve been bad, and now you better get your act together, straighten out and fly right. The motivation is to get rid of something you don’t want, which is not sustainable over time.
  2. Too often, the resolves are about process and outcomes.
  3. The resolves are not based on the creative process, which is history’s most successful process for accomplishment, but rather a reaction to bad habits and sloppy behavior.
  4. There is little understanding of why you had bad habits or sloppy behavior in the first place. If the structure remains the same, even with all your good intentions, you will revert to the original behavior because that is the path of least resistance. You can’t fool Mother Structure.

These are just a few things. There are more. But, there is something good when you reflect on your life, see how you would like it to change, and generate a strategy to accomplish the change. Your instinct is good and proper. Your approach may be flawed.

Here are a few suggestions to actually use the New Year as a focal point for a better life:

  1. Think in terms of final desired outcomes.
  2. Know your current reality in relationship to them.
  3. That will form structural tension, the best dynamic for real and lasting change.
  4. From that, create an action plan with due dates.
  5. Don’t have too many “resolutions” because that will lead to overwhelm.
  6. Choose a few that can be created quickly, within the first few weeks so you can generate some momentum.
  7. Manage the process directly.
  8. Learn, adjust, learn, adjust, learn as you engage in the process.
  9. Don’t take it personally, this is not about you but about the end results you are creating.
  10. Build foundation. The more you create, the more you are able to create.

Best wishes for this New Year!

Robert and Rosalind

Posted in Writings.