Ah! The new year! A fresh start!
Are you looking forward with a ‘clean slate’? I used to view January 1 as an opportunity to start over, resolving to make things different, to have better habits and to start anew.
Guess what? I rarely succeeded. If ever. Turns out I am not alone. Research tells us that 1/4 of all resolutions fail after just 7 days! So as we approach the end of January how are those resolutions looking?
The concept of making resolutions can be highly alluring for Global Creatives, but there are a few reasons why resolutions underperform as a strategy for the Global Creative.
Developing new habits can take longer for the ADHD individual.
Changing behaviors is highly dependent on consistent observation (awareness for need of change and the ability to evaluate practice) and consistent practice (engaging those new behaviors).
ADHD disrupts our ability to engage and observe on a consistent basis.
Global Creatives are highly connected to their environment. We rely on external cues to help us orient, prioritize and activate for task. Resolving to change a behavior means resolving to change the environment around that behavior too.
This can be a difficult undertaking when people around you expect the same old behaviors.
But don’t despair! Positive change is possible for all of us. I would not be in the change game if it was not possible. The same research suggests that those who set resolutions fare better than those who do not at all. It also suggests there are a few consistent factors that can help like having a measurable goal with real consequences and sharing your goal with others.
Here are some additional ideas that can help Global Creatives make lasting changes through the year:
Ditch the ‘Yearly Resolution’
365 days is too long to measure progress. Shortening the cycle encourages more realistic outcomes. Smaller outcomes combine to create bigger results. Resolve to increase your resolution (or goal setting) cycle from a minimum of 4 times a year (Quarterly) to a maximum of 12 times a year (Monthly).
One client has been very successful committing to 8 week projects from getting in shape to preparing for a talk to writing his business principles. Did my client get in shape in 8 weeks? Of course not. His initial goal was only to establish a practice of consistently going to the gym. With every 8 week cycle he adjusts the expectation and outcome. Over a year, those 8 week cycles add up to an impressive sum of completions and learning.
Ditch the ‘Total Clean Slate’ Approach
The notion of completely starting over can be powerful for the Global Creative. Unfortunately, this is a fallacy reinforced by an arbitrary turn of the calendar. For years I used this strategy to conveniently make difficult and overwhelming situations simply disappear. But with no learning comes no progress, and soon I was back in the starting gate staring at the same challenge.
So, lightly clean the slate, but don’t take the power washer to it. Your slates contain valuable information that can actually help you let go of the old stuff that bogs you down. Failure and misstep can be wonderful teachers if you let them.
Upgrade your Environment, Upgrade your Community
Look around your space. Does it work for you? Do you have physical clutter? Look at your relationships. Is there equal give and take? Who are you barely tolerating?
Our environments - physical and relational have profound influence on our brain functioning. Positive change is near impossible when the Global Creative’s brain function is compromised. We are external animals cued by the space and people around us. To create optimal brain functioning we must foster positive, nurturing environments. Be prepared for ‘environmental inertia’ especially from the more negative people in your life. People don’t like surprises especially change that affects them personally. Consider how to create win/win situations for you and your key people as you consider change. Enroll these folks to help make the changes you want. Erect boundaries for those who continue to take advantage of you.
Ditch the word ‘Resolution’
Words have power. The word resolution connotes firmness and rigidity. Firmness and rigidity do not work in effective habit development. Intention with measurable outcomes, a commitment to practice and fair evaluation work better. Intend to take your goals public and share with understanding from supporting people. Connect to the bigger powerful reasons you want the change in your life. Bring an element of fun in to the intention.