New Year Resolutions don’t work unless you do.
Most people don’t understand why New Year Resolutions don’t work. Here is what I wrote about New Year Resolutions in my 2015 book, High Impact Leadership: 10 Action Strategies For Your Ascent.
It’s not that complex, really. The famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Carl Jung—who developed the ground-breaking personality theory that introduced the Myers Briggs personality assessment, shed light on how to create real change.
Jung observed, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.”
In other words, we operate by subroutines that are automatic, even subconscious. Until we see how we are directed by our thinking, previous experiences, and our conditioning, we are fated to the zombie status quo. That’s the basis for the truism; the mind is a beautiful servant but a terrible master.
How can one affect these foundational subroutines?
Shift in two areas and make New Year Resolutions work for you!
First, look in the mirror. Ask yourself, am I accepting responsibility for my life? Or, am I accusing, blaming, and declaring the problem is “out there?” Shouldering responsibility for your life is a zero-sum game. You can’t be partially responsible. In their book Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin point to responsibility as fundamental to leadership. Leaders are responsible, period. Look through the window to give praises and look into the mirror to assign blame.
It’s the same premise whether you are leading a team or yourself. Taking full responsibility for your life is the ultimate freedom. You are no longer enslaved to things outside your control. It’s like a client’s recent revelation. Brian, “I spent my life trying to manipulate outside circumstances for me to be OK. What a miraculously freeing discovery to realize that my being OK had nothing to do with anyone outside of myself. All the while, the power was in me!“
One of the most courageous things any leader (human being) can do is recognize the internal conversations-the constant chatter of thoughts that draw tremendous amounts of energy and attention away from our direct experience of daily life.
Awareness is an innate human capacity that we don’t need to acquire. We only need to develop access and familiarize ourselves with this dimension, this capacity which is more “you” and more useful than any other so-called training or practical skill.
When you start investing in shouldering responsibility and increasing awareness, you won’t need a new year to start. Everyday will be a New Year Resolution.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”–Jon Kabat-Zinn