Forget resolutions and make 2015 the best year yet

Try something different – change your mindset and develop new habits that support it


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New Year’s resolutions are funny things. We power up. We get excited. Then – boom! March rolls around. Like an elegant new custom shirt or killer cocktail dress that friends have already admired but no longer notice, our resolutions’ luster flickers and dims. And old habits happily come by like old friends to soothe us.

My clients and I certainly know this well. Transitions and change can feel foreign and a little scary, after all. We’re constantly at the edge of our comfort zone. Which, in business and in any kind of leadership growth, is exactly where you want to be. 

So if you’re done with resolutions – and I don’t blame you – try something a little different. Much of this is about our mindset and developing new habits that support it. One of my clients swears by it. 

Here it is: 

Write a letter to yourself, dated one year from today, about all that has happened for you in 2015. The key is to write it in the past tense. It has already happened. 

The real magic is in your mindset. Because this can be edge-of-your-comfort-zone-y, here are some tricks to get you started:

1. Start writing. Don’t worry about what you’re saying, or how you’re saying it. Don’t even bother with spelling, grammar, punctuation or tense. Just start moving your fingers across the keyboard. Write about anything. 

Try something different - change your mindset and develop new habits that support it. 

2. Ignore the mean voices in your head. (So easier said than done, I know). Here’s a tip. Give yourself an option.  Tell yourself that, of course, you will go into hyper-judgment mode at some point. Tell the mean voices that you’ll be back. But for now you need a moment to let it all hang out. 

3. Take a break. After you’ve given yourself a shot, and you begin to hear those impatient cronies itching to get at your awesome and crazy ideas (How dare you believe that you are that good?!), put it away. Seriously. It’s not their time yet. 

4. Edit kindly. When you’re ready, read it aloud to yourself, just as it is. Circle any words that jump out at you, that intrigue you, excite you and possibly scare you.  Go through the draft again and build; this time expanding on those ideas. Focus on it being in past tense. Bring in measurable data. You may go through several drafts this way.

5. Deliver and revisit. Read it to yourself aloud again. Standing up. You are powerfully “putting it out there.”  And by writing and saying it, you start that process already.

Does this work? You bet. Reality-test it for yourself. See where you are in six months. What has already happened?  What still needs focus? The interesting thing is that, over time, these things begin to happen anyway. But by writing it in this way, you position yourself to recognize and receive those opportunities a little sooner. 

Trinnie Houghton is a partner and executive and organizational coach with Sojourn Partners, Bedford. She can be reached at trinnie@sojournpartners.com.

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