The Value in New Year Resolutions

The Value in New Year Resolutions

It’s that time of the year again. The time when we re-evaluate our life plan, make some minor (or not so minor) adjustments and set a new direction for ourselves. We call this setting “New Year resolutions”.

Of course, the joke is that we set these resolutions with great enthusiasm but by the end of January most of them have fallen by the wayside. So what is the key to making lasting change?

It’s all a question of value. Students of NLP (neuro-liguistic programming) are introduced to one of the great communication models – Logical Levels, as devised by Robert Dilts. I remember being introduced to this model and believing I had been given a major insight into the secrets of the universe – or at least our part in it.

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that our behaviour is driven by our beliefs and values. What Dilts’ model shows us is how this happens. As New Year resolutions are about implementing personal change, and by change we mean changing our behaviour, then it makes sense that we have to believe in this change and see value in it, for it to be maintained. We also have to believe that it is realistic and achievable. Lastly, it has to fit with our sense of identity. Putting these together, the best resolutions for change need to fulfil the following criteria:

  • be linked to our personal values
  • be consistent with the beliefs that come from these values
  • generate clear, realistic and achievable actions (behaviours)

In addition, your resolutions will be more likely to succeed if they are consistent with your personal sense of identity. This is why coaches suggest you state your resolution at an identity level, rather than a behaviour level. Here’s an example around one of the more popular resolutions at this time of year – losing weight;

  1. State the resolution as an identity; “I want to be slim” rather than “I want to lose weight”.
  2. Make sure it is linked to at least one of your personal values; “health” or “fitness” etc.
  3. Now, define the steps you need to take to achieve this by setting some (SMART) goals. Focus on realistic and achievable in particular.
  4. Now, write an action plan to deliver your goals.

If steps 1-5 above seem like too much hard work, then don’t waste your time by going any further with this resolution, as you clearly either don’t believe or value it

If one of your New Year Resolutions is to “be a more influential communicator” then why not follow this blog and learn how to do this for free?

Thriving with Change

Thriving with Change

It’s an old cliché, but let’s face it the only thing that’s constant is change. This is particularly true at the present time, with economic uncertainty leading many of us to consider career changes, though not always through choice.

So how can we best cope with change?

It is my philosophy that it is possible to not only survive but to actually thrive with change. It’s all a question  of approach.

In this article, I will introduce a concept from NLP that facilitates this. In fact it is one of the core concepts from NLP, namely, setting well-formed outcomes. This is a technique that has applications beyond managing change. It can be used for any future planning. It is also a useful check for letting us know when we are not achieving what we would like to – it may be a sign that one of the well-formedness conditions is not being met.

So how do we set well-formed outcomes? All you have to do is answer the following questions. You can do this on your own (self coaching) but it can be helpful to have someone else guide you through the process. Any good coach will be able to help you set good well formed outcomes for your career or, indeed, your life.

Here’s how;

  1. State what you want in the positive, i.e. “what do you want” (rather than stating what you don’t
  2. Convert a good objective (see 1 above) into an  outcome by answering “How will you know you’ve got it?”
  3.  Use the full range of sensory language (visual, auditory and kinaesthetic) to ensure you are clear about your desired future.
  4. “Can it be started and maintained by you?” This is crucial, as we are all limited by what we can directly change, or our ability to influence those who can. When we are experiencing rather than leading change, it is often this lack of control that leads us to feel unhappy. Within the context of the change, focus on what is within your control. Do your own personal SWAT analysis, and focus on your personal strengths and minimise your weaknesses.
  5. Give your outcome an appropriate context;
      • “Where, when and with whom do you want it?
  6. Maintain the current positive by products. This is the one part that is crucial to, and most often missed out, when organisations and individuals initiate change; find out what is liked, by you and others, about the current way of doing things, and make sure that where possible you take them with you into the changed future.
  7. Do an Ecology check; Is it worth it in terms of:
      • Cost to you?
      • The time it will take?
      • Your sense of self (personal identity)?

Setting well-formed outcomes is crucial to not only surviving but thriving with change. Follow these steps to ensure you can turn even the most challenging situation to your advantage.

If you want to learn more about NLP, I recommend the following book “The NLP Coach” by my teacher, Ian
(with Wendy Jago).

You can learn more about this strategy and others at our upcoming workshop “A Change for the Better”.