As the holiday season comes to a close, traditionally we  look to the new year with hope, promise, and a desire to be more and accomplish more than we did in the previous year.  Most of our resolutions involve exercise, eating better, reading more, and/or spending more time with those we love.  In other words, we want to take better care of ourselves and our relationships.

Unfortunately, many times we fail within the first two months of committing to the resolution. While it has been said that it takes 21 days to make a habit, for our changes to be successful I would personally challenge the idea that the habit cannot solely be a habit.  No, in order to be successful: 1. the changes have to be something we desire more than what we gave up and 2. a structure has to be put into place to support the change.

For example, let’s say I want to spend more time with my loved ones in the evenings after work.  In the past I would check my phone every 10 minutes, look for work emails and thus allow the demands of the job to conflict with my family time.

Want the Change

In order for me to be successful, I have to truly want to be with my family, spending quality time with them, more so than the feeling of being 100% on top of work at all times.  So, step  number 1, the desire to change is there.

Create the Structure

Now for step number 2, create a structure to support the change.  I have to put a framework in place such that the worry and stress of work doesn’t mentally overpower my desire to be with my family.  In this example, I can establish a cadence of communication with my work team.  If there are pieces of information that I need to be aware of, but no action is needed or there is ample time to take the action, they will communicate this information to me via email.  If there is something happening that involves significant risk, a quick decision needs to be made, or it is simply a new situation the team member hasn’t yet dealt with in his career, they will call me on the phone to discuss.  Using this framework of communication, I feel comfortable that my emails can wait until the morning and if something is urgent, the phone will ring.  Now I have a structure in place that supports my ability to focus on my family.

Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?  In this instance, it truly is that simple.  However, not every change will be this easy to execute.  Maybe your focus for 2018 is to make a career change, develop yourself to be a stronger leader for that next promotion, or something much more complex.  Those situations require a broader structure and a larger change in your personal routine; time, commitment, and most likely an accountability partner to help you stay on track.

Whatever your focus may be for 2018, I wish you well.  Remember you can absolutely make the changes you desire within yourself. Once you realize what that is, create a structure around you to help you be successful.  If you are unsure of how to make the change or what that structure looks like, know that a life coach can help.