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The Realistic New Year’s Resolution

A New Year’s Resolution is a process of self-reflection and opportunity for self-improvement for the upcoming year.  We may be great at setting our New Year’s resolutions, however we’ve all been a little guilty of abandoning them too.

Detoxing, quitting cigarettes, drinking less alcohol, fitness or volunteering are some of the common New Year’s resolutions people commit to.  Whether it’s one of these resolutions or something else, it’s likely that in your past you have made a New Year’s resolution and not seen it through.

When you think about it, the New Year’s goals people set themselves involve a significant and ongoing commitment.  No wonder a very small number of people achieve their New Year’s goals.

Caroline L. Arnold, author of Small Move, Big Change suggests that a large percentage of people fail in keeping their resolutions because their resolutions are simply too overreaching.  The resolutions are too broad, and therefore too easy to slip.

When we set big goals for ourselves, if we have not identified our step-by-step plan on how we can achieve it, it’s unlikely we are going to see that goal through.

This is a common mistake made in the workplace as well.  For example, as a company, you may identify that you want to achieve zero incidents within the next year, or that you want to cultivate a mentally healthy workplace.  In many cases a company sets themselves up for failure as they have not carefully planned how they can achieve such a major milestone.

As we are now entering mid February, it’s a great opportunity to touch base with those resolutions we’ve set ourselves and ensure we’re staying on track.

Recently, WorkPro was working with a client who had a desire to achieve certification to Australian/New Zealand Standard 4801:2001 Occupational health and safety management systems. They had a very basic health and safety management system.  Due to many of the contract works they were applying for, certification to this standard was a criterion and therefore they made a commitment to achieve this within a short period; over a couple of months.

It took numerous discussions with the client before they realised the reality of their goal.  The process to improve their existing health and safety management system and raising it to a certification standard was going to take much longer than a couple of months and required a significant number of resources to achieve this goal.

In Caroline L. Arnold’s Small Move, Big Change book, she identifies goals such as these as wannabe resolutions, as you want them to happen without having a concrete idea of how to achieve them.

Once the client realised their enormity of their ambitious goal, they rethought their plan and focused their attention on developing a plan to build their health and safety management system over the next year.  Rather than reaching for the stars, they identified bite-size objectives and targets that were achievable for the timeframe they gave themselves.

“Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it.”
René DescartesDiscourse on Method

With the impending New Year of 2017, have you thought what your New Year’s resolution is going to be?

Here are some invaluable rules, some derived from Caroline L. Arnold’s Small Move, Big Change book for you to consider when setting your big 2017 resolution…

  1. Avoid the wannabe resolutions
  2. Ensure that your resolution offers a place for you to start e.g. we’re going to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace, firstly by engaging with our workforce in February 2017 via a mental health @ work survey
  3. Be mindful of your commitment and don’t let autopilot kick in, resulting in a resolution slump
  4. Make Microresolutions – take your broad and complex resolutions, chop them up and turn them into bite-size actions that you can quickly achieve
  5. Resist the impulse to implement hundreds of new microresolutions e.g. we’re going to train everyone on prevention of stress and bullying and harassment this month, and we’ll supply fruit box every week, and we’ll offer free gym memberships to the workforce, and so on.
  6. Nurture your micro resolutions, don’t rush or force them
  7. Celebrate the success of your micro resolutions with those around you e.g. your workforce
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