Life Lessons

How To Keep Your Resolutions And Achieve Your Goals In Uncertainty

In case you have not already read the book Immunities to Change by Robert Kegan, you should pick one to find great insights on dealing with change. In this blog, I would like to dive in a little deeper and explore how to deal with personal change.
Let’s recall the time when 2021 was approaching or for that matter any of earlier years. You had a clarity on what you need to change, then took up resolutions to make them happen? Now, how are you doing with your New Year resolutions so far? We’re in April 2021.
Do you remember the overwhelming sense of purpose and optimism that clouded you at the start of the year? Where are you right now?
Some of you might have brushed with reality. Change is hard and harder to maintain. The reason for failing to meet your goals is not the lack of willpower. But because of an emotional immune system that helps protect you from the potential consequences of change, i.e. disappointment and shame.
Four-step formula to stick to your resolutions and make sustainable change
According to Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, Harvard Graduate School of Education professors, there is a four-step process to overcome all barriers and achieve your goals.
The starting point is a reevaluation of your core value system and operating assumptions. It’ll help you figure out precisely what’s keeping you from your goals – What you perceive as obstacles, i.e., the lack of money, time, or support system, maybe competing commitments. It’s a good idea to start by analyzing how you are using your scarce resources.
If you change your priorities or allocations, would you be comfortable with the bargain?
Would you be okay with lesser pay at a lower-level position if you switched career paths?
Is your idea of going back-to-college worth the investment?
Your core values should drive your decisions and determine whether factors such as social prestige, perfectionism, or safety factors are still relevant. If you are open to revising your assumptions, you will be more likely to achieve your desired change and goals.
We will discuss four key steps that will help you tackle issues that inhibit change and identify improvement opportunities.
1. Set goals
Identify areas in your life that need a positive change in your life. It can be any aspect from your career to your relationships to your health or personality.
List the various actions under each area that will help you achieve your goals.
2. Remove negative behaviours
The next step is to identify the key behaviours that are stalling your progress. How packed is your work schedule right now where you are consistently deprioritizing your goals? List all the behaviours that are getting in the way of achieving your goals.
3. Tackle competing commitments
Now is the time for some serious soul searching. Let’s say you have a goal of pursuing your education alongside your job. But you fear seeking the change will affect your work quality, and you may lose your job. Or you fear that the course will be hard to manage? Or you may fear that despite pursuing the course and getting a higher degree, you will still not find better employment? This is your emotional immune system at work, which protects you from feelings of disappointment and shame before they turn into reality. But confronting those competing commitments and your fears will help you understand how your goals can bring you immense benefits such as increased professional respect, efficiency, stability, and remuneration.
4. Challenge your big assumptions
In the final step, you’ll identify the barriers that you must overcome to make sustainable change. You can use ‘If and then’ statements to identify the internalized truths which lie at the heart of your competing commitments.
For example, your statement could look like this, “If I don’t compete at my optimal best, I will be seen as a failure.”
Now put that assumption to the task. Go easy on one of your commitments by taking a day off from work, and see how you’re perceived. Are you seen as less committed? Does lowering your assumptions or expectations that you hold for yourself result in failure? If not, then you are closer to your goals.
Final Thoughts
We hope you’ve learned from this article that it is not your weaknesses or lack of abilities that are stopping you from achieving your goals. Your emotional immunity is at work that protects you from the fallouts of change, such as potential shame and disappointment. But now you have our four-step change as an antidote. By following these four steps, you are on your way to transformation and purposeful change.
We have a systematic approach to help leaders build their leadership skills and develop themselves / their organization. You can write to know more at customersuccess@crossoverleaders.com or Whatsapp/Call on 86889 10359.
Photo credit: Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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