New Year’s Resolutions and Commitment to Change: Are you holding yourself accountable?

The following is a Q&A with Sylvia Hepler, owner of Launching Lives.

Q: Many of us make New Year’s Resolutions for business and personal reasons, but these goals are often not met. Can you lend some insight regarding why? 

A.  I think many New Year’s resolutions are not kept and met for different reasons:  1) focus on a past history of not keeping resolutions; 2)  lack of real commitment; 3)  the resolutions are not specific enough;  4)  too many resolutions; 5)  the resolutions are not in alignment with one’s true priorities. 

Q: You have said before that you help your clients to break down a change process into small, manageable steps to reduce fear. Is this the time of year when you find the majority struggling with change?

A:   Actually, I find people struggling with change all year round.  Most human beings, by nature, resist change.  Learning to deal with change in a positive manner is a huge challenge for many.  But the good news is that it can be done!

Q. In your article, “Change – Mindset Myths” you debunk the notion that all change is painful. How would you recommend someone begin to change their mindset to adapt to change with ease?

A.   There are several exercises people can do.  A person could begin by listing all of the changes he/she has chosen in life that have brought fulfillment, contentment, and/or joy.  Examples may include:  getting married, choosing a new job, deciding to have a baby, selecting a different location for a vacation, starting to exercise regularly, changing the colors or the furniture in a room.  This list reminds the individual that change can be delightful rather than painful.  The key is to focus on these positive changes and to look forward to more of them.

Q. In your opinion, how much truth is in the statement, “the older we get, the harder it is to change?”

A.  I think change is typically more difficult for people as we age.  As we get older, we want what is familiar and comfortable.  The truth is that, while we enjoy those things and those habits, we can interject a few new ones to spice up our lives.  For example, we may choose to continue living in the house we’ve owned for thirty years but also choose to sign up for the art lessons we’ve dreamed about since last Christmas.  A mixture of old and new can work well in our senior years.

Q. Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Why or Why Not?

A.  My own ritual involves setting three top goals for the new year:  one relates to my business, one focuses on family members, and one is very personal.  I set these goals because they give me something by which I can measure my success.  They hold me accountable.  Without the accountability piece the “stuff” floating around in my head is only a collection of wishes.

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