Millions of people make New Years resolutions.
How many of us can say that they have ever been aware of the resolution for a whole year? (I’ll let you answer that one)
The vast majority of New Years resolutions don’t make it past the first week. Why is that?
Taking it another step further, when it comes to any kind of life change, I started wondering what the characteristics of an effective life change is. In essence, a life change is a change in personal habits. Habits are a huge part of a person’s daily life, perspective, and growth. Thus, learning how to develop and maintain habits is a huge part of maintaining a New Year’s resolution.
Pulling from people like BJ Fogg and his “tiny habits” psychology and “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, Habits are formed through a trigger, a routine, and a reward. Thus, the different levels of difficulty, frequency, and level of these three attributes will contribute to whether a habit is effectively kept or not.
When a habit has a frequent trigger as well as a simple routine that provides high reward, that’s when a habit is most easily created.
In 2012, my resolution was to not complain. I approached it by keeping it in the front of my mind. whenever I felt inclined to complain about a situation, I would remember my resolution either before or while I was complaining to someone. It worked because the trigger was everyday normal conversations and the routine was simply to shut up.
The other thing that was powerful about that resolution was identifying the reward. In my case, I had developed reasons to why I wouldn’t complain. I had personally decided that a positive outlook was more powerful in life, and that I could achieve that by not complaining about the bad things, but focusing on growing.
My new year’s resolution for 2014: Listen more, talk less.
This one has a similar routine to the one I developed in 2012, as all I am doing is intentionally making an effort to listen more when people talk.
I’m doing this because I’ve spent much of the last couple years trying to give advice to anyone who has come to me with questions, trying to empower them with principles and solutions.
It’s worked to an extent, but it hasn’t always worked well.
I’ve come to the realization that advice is not terribly effective. You can teach a bunch of theory, but the most powerful way to help someone grow is to guide someone through something that you’ve gone through yourself. Thus, sometimes the power isn’t in what you say, but simply who you are.
If your life truly is the message, then sometimes being comfortable in your own skin means to stop hiding behind a bunch of words.
So there. That’s my resolution for 2014. What’s yours?