Go easy on yourself - start by dropping resolutions and set intentions instead

This was first published on LinkedIn.

Jacqueline Heron on 25/01/21

Given all that happened in 2020, our focus was very much on resilience. How could we deal with the amount of unexpected and unwelcome change to our lives, globally, locally and personally, and come out of this with a sense of inner strength and hope for the future?

And although 2021 has already delivered some shocks on the global stage, this is also tempered with a real sense of hope, a sense of optimism that we can survive and even grow from some of these challenges.

Hope and optimism underpin resilience - they give us an energy and thus the opportunity to take a step back and create a sense of perspective.

Thinking about what we, as individuals can control in terms of creating hope and optimism, now that the first few weeks in the new year are over - how are your resolutions doing? On track? It’s often a time when we think about our life and how we want to change it. From a work perspective, our resolutions might include: find a better job/ get organised/ stop procrastinating – just do it/ stop worrying what my colleagues think of me/ spend less time online. They’re all about a specific thing we want to either start or stop.

Yet research shows our resolutions will more than likely fail, or fade away, usually by the end of the third week in January. Why is that?

Resolutions are goals. They tell us very clearly where we want to be, but not how to get there, and being specific, they don’t give us any room for manoeuvre. They might work for short term goals, like leaving work on time today, but don’t have the sustaining power we need to keep up our motivation for the whole year. Resolutions tend to focus on fixing what’s wrong with our life. The resolution of finding a better job reminds us that we’re unfulfilled in the one we have.

In the interest of breaking the annual routine of setting resolutions, seeing them fail, feeling guilty - approach the new year and the opportunities that lie ahead differently. Think about setting intentions.

Intentions allow room for growth, change, and uncertainty, and these are attributes of a growth mindset. Things may not always go our way and we might have to deal with unexpected changes. Intentions are not black and white, but are connected to what we really want - and there is usually a variety of ways to achieve that result.

A resolution might be ‘get a new job’; the intention could be ‘be clear about what I want from my career’.

What’s the difference? Thinking about what you want from your career might mean getting a new job, but there could be many other options, for example, working on a new project with your current employer to widen your skills and experience. By not limiting yourself to one specific method, you open yourself up to a range of possibilities and increase your chances of achieving something more meaningful.

How does this fit in with resilience? Resilience is the capacity to recover from difficult situations, emerging more able and wiser. It requires us to be good at learning new things and be flexible in adapting to change. People with a growth (rather than fixed) mindset are more resilient. They view obstacles as opportunities and believe that they can achieve what they work for.

Setting intentions is an act of self compassion. It allows us to be hopeful and optimistic.

So why not make this your year of intention?

Jacqueline Heron is an executive, leadership and career coach who specialises in resilience. Contact Jacqueline to find out how she can help you set your intentions and build your resilience.

Please find the original article here.

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