An interview with Karolina Hudowicz, the Deputy Director of the ICF Poland Silesia Branch, ACC coach, trainer, HR consultant on New Year resolutions and their implementation.
Why do we always try to change and improve something in our life at the end of the year? What are Christmas & New Year resolutions about?
Christmas & New Year resolution is a dream. It often happens we want to get rid of a problem or that what disturbs us like a stone in a shoe. Clients often start coaching sessions with a question: ‘I have a problem and I want to get rid of it” or „I don’t want to do it”. Sometimes, they just want to improve their lives…
„I will not eat sweets”, I will not smoke”, „I will not work in overtime”, „I will not get exploited” and so on…
We have our resolutions and we want to keep to it.
We make conclusions as well… It happens the Christmas time and the end of the year often is the time of reflection. We summarise our achievements and successes, what we managed to reach, but also about our failures and what went wrong.
Before and during Christmas and New Year’s Eve weusually wish each other a better future, healthier, richer, full of personal and professional successes and so on. We wonder why we forgot of last year resolutions or we recalled them after some time, yet we didn’t manage to approach their realisation and another year has just passed…
Exactly. Why is it so?!
Because it looks this way that, first, Christmas time passes by, then New Year’s Eve party, the carnival approaches its end, then Easter…and we keep working late, we grumble about our boss, who takes advantage of us at work, then we eat sweets and smoke cigarettes in order to bear all that situation…
We think about changes and resolutions in terms: „Why I cannot do anything, not to change anything and to live like I dreamt about?” When we did all these resolutions we were so excited and we believed so much changes were possible and so easy to do! What is wrong with us? Actually, everything is fine about us. We are able to change what we want and to live like we want.
Well, to turn our resolutions or dreams into targets, one has to modify it slightly.
Some people say our brain does not understand negation. If we say somebody not to think or to do something, then most probably is they will do it, or at least will think about it, like for instance „do not think now about beautiful, fashionable heels” means surely we have just thought about it. In other words, if we say we won’t smoke, it means we will, we will light a cigarette. As our brain does not understand the word „no”, we should formulate our resolutions somehow differently.
According to assumptions of coaching, it is important to set up goals in a positive form – what we want or what we want to achieve instead of what we don’t want. Instead of: „I will not eat sweets” let us say rather: „I want to eat helahty meals, I want to eat fruit and vegetables”, or instead of „I will not be exploited anymore” let us use „I will take care of myself”.
So how to define targets?
As above mentioned examples demonstrate positively defined resolution is already the first step to let the resolution become an objective. Of course, this objective must be desired by us and not by someone who always tells us we eat unhealthy or even worse – that we are fat.
Before clients define their objectives, at least, those who want to achieve them and know, why they desire them and they feel these are their objectives, some time passes. Formulation of our goals, however, – as precisely as possible, with minor, apparently irrelevant details – is the most important step in the process of achieving it.
Do you think Christmas and New Year’s Eve is a good moment to determine targets?
Yes, it can be a good moment to decide about targets for the coming year, using one of popular methods of determining goals as SMART or even better SMARTER method. It says the goal should be:
S (Specific), M (Measurable), A (Achievable), R (Relevant), T (Trackable), E (Exciting), R (Recorded).
How to achieve it?
It is worth making some powerful questions, like those from GROW structure of John Whitmore:
- What exactly do we want to achieve?
- What obstacles can we meet?
- Who should know about all of it?
- What support do we need?
- How and when do we get this support?
- What other matters can be taken into consideration?
Sole answers to these questions is not the end. It is important to specify own determination on the scale from 1 to 10.
Writing down so determined resolutions, aims, stages, little steps may be the beginning of the process and not such a painful revolution when dealing with consuming unlimited amount of sweets, quitting smoking or staying late at work.
Perhaps coming Christmas – using these few hints – we will conceive a fantastic plan and strategy and our up to date resolutions will become real targets to be achieved the next year? I wish that, wholeheartedly, to readers of WHY Story!
And you, Karolina, do you have any New Year resolutions?
Surely, I have my detailed plan and I know how and when to execute it!