You’ve started the new year with a bang. You’ve established new and exciting resolutions for improvement. You are primed for a renaissance and are finally motivated to take positive action to improve your career, enhance your relationships or reduce your weight.
Yet, over 42% of people who set new year’s resolutions say they never succeed at achieving them and fail in accomplishing them every single year. Talk about beating your head against the wall. What’s wrong with this picture? And why is failure all too common?
In my experience, the answer lies, at least partially, in the concept of resiliency and in this case the lack thereof. Resiliency is defined as the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness, it’s a degree of bounce-back ability. The skill in adjusting to circumstances, and overcoming obstacles which a few people seem to have inherently, doesn’t seem to be very common these days. Many times, people don’t even try to bounce back because of what they perceive the severity of the obstacle. Or they focus on circumstances beyond their control. Or they judge themselves as a failure if they fall a little bit short. And it’s easier to point the finger at something that impacted the results rather than take personal responsibility for the contribution they made to it. But holding onto these mindsets usually leads to a downward spiral and lower levels of accomplishment.
Resilient people on the other hand experience higher levels of achievement, wellness and personal satisfaction. So, how can you develop resiliency?
- Be crystal clear on the objective, or definitive purpose. We’re not just talking about throwaway lines and vague goals. They don’t work. I’m talking about definitive reasons WHY you want to achieve something, why something needs to change and the emotions behind it. Resolutions are often logical reasons why things should change and are sometimes generated by outside influences. In contrast, having a clear and compelling purpose is an emotional benefit that is exclusive to you.
- Focus on small steps. Resilient people know that they can’t get it back at all once. You can’t lift a weight once and get a benefit, and one good meal does not a diet make. It’s the small, incremental improvements that build off each other which lead to sustainable change. Resilient people know there is no quick fix.
- Strive for progress, not perfection. Don’t be so quick to judge outcomes as good or bad. Perfection is the enemy of resiliency. It wears you down as you focus on the gap between where you thought you were and how far you are from where you’d like to be. In trying to improve, it’s the process of improvement, not just the outcome that leads to change.
- Gain perspective on your progress. The process of incremental change, using small steps in a process can lead to changes that are hard to see from your own perspective. It may be helpful to employ tracking or measurement, so you can see that your making improvements, starting with a baseline can be a good way to begin. You may also want to engage someone else who can give you a perspective that you otherwise may have missed.
- Make sure the purpose is still the purpose. As you move along the path, continue to ask yourself if the purpose is still clear and compelling to you. Does it serve you in the way you envisioned? Does it help you achieve that desire unfulfilled, or is it just busy activity toward an unimportant end? If it doesn’t match what you truly want to achieve, refocus and head in a better direction.
Resiliency is critical to success and satisfaction. You can use these steps to evaluate your level of resilience, and make the necessary changes to improve your performance and reach your goals!