Why don't resolutions work?
There are four key reasons why new year resolutions fail. It is usually because they are one or more of the following:
- too general and vague e.g. find a part-time job; do more networking
- too big and daunting e.g. retrain for a new career in x; work out what to do next
- unrealistic e.g. land a new role by Easter
- not sufficiently action-oriented, with little idea of the steps required for achievement
A new approach
I was reminded of how often resolutions fail by a friend challenging me about how I would achieve my stated resolution 'to create more space for myself'. When she asked how I would achieve this, I had no answer. Her question forced me to acknowledge that my resolution was too general and vague and that I hadn't taken the step of converting my idea into action. I saw failure looming!
Her suggestion was to try a new approach to make the resolution stick: do something specific, simple and quick and do it daily for a month. By doing something new, even for only five minutes each time, on a daily basis, I will be able to make tangible progress on establishing a new habit. This approach is backed up by psychological research into how new habits get established. Linking the new behaviour to a specific cue, such as 'on waking' or 'before dinner' can also reinforce the habit formation.
Your 5 Minutes a Day return to work plan
How could you use this 'specific, quick and daily' approach to support your goal of returning to work? Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Research useful updating or skills-development courses
- Read a relevant news/journal article or book chapter
- Connect with old and new contacts on LinkedIn
- Read &/or contribute to a professional post on a LinkedIn Group
- Email a contact to set up an informal chat
- Work on a single section of your CV or LinkedIn profile
For further reading
How to form a habit - BPS Digest
Posted by Katerina