It’s the start of a new year (it could be any time, though)
and the New Year’s resolution meme has begun its predictable cycle. We “resolve” to lose weight, change career,
stop smoking, travel more, become less of something and more of something
else. In a few months we will look back
and probably not have achieved many, if not most or all of the items on the
list. The resolution cycle has become a
stalwart of the media because it is so predictable and we relate to it for this
Why? Do we suffer from a collective lack of willpower? Are
our lives too hectic? Are the resolutions too ambitious? Are we simply
creatures of habit? These are the
excuses we recite to ourselves or hear from others. Our inner critics will offer up plenty of
reasons like these not to change our lives.
Counterintuitively, talking about resolutions seems to work
against achieving them. Have you noticed this? It’s like letting some air out
of your tires. Plenty of research backs up this observation. Talking about a
resolution fools us into thinking we’ve partially achieved it. Clearly, some common strategies for achieving
goals do not work. There are steps, though, that can be taken to implement
meaningful, measurable life change.
The most important step is to set goals that are
resonant. Stating that you simply want
to lose weight is not a resonant way to frame weight loss. Why do you want to
lose weight? What will it mean to you? How will you feel when you achieve the
loss? Who will you become? Who will you un-become? And for whom? Reaching down into the significance of goals
and understanding how you connect with them is the critical first step in
setting (and excluding) goals. The list
is not enough but the process of developing the list is a necessary first step.
A life coach facilitates this process. The work, though, has just begun.
With meaningful goals in place the next step is to develop
an achievable plan for reaching each goal. Many of us do not take this step on
our own but an effective life coach will insist on it. You will set a target end date with
significant, measurable milestones between now and then. Your life coach will facilitate this planning
and work as your project co-manager to develop an achievable though assertive,
disciplined roadmap. This creates order.
With a plan in place your life coach asserts one more role
as supportive advocate to help you realize the plan. Your life coach will cheer your successes,
help you adjust your perspective to steer around obstacles, and work with you
to alter the plan as circumstances change. This creates accountability.
A life coach will help you set resonant goals, create a plan
to achieve them and unconditionally advocate for you until you become your
project. Without all of these
components, resolutions rarely resolve into reality. Life coaching is about designing and realizing
real change in your life. (Other Thoughts and Essays)