We are now fully into the New Year and I must admit that my commitment to my resolutions in waning. Yes, I am one of those people who take meticulous detail to fully define, plan and action resolutions for hope of some personal or professional improvement. And, yes, I’m one of the millions who each year struggle to reach those goals. It has been suggested in recent research that New Years’ resolutions last exactly 12 days with a whopping 92% of individuals failing to achieve success. So, for most of us as of today, our New Years’ resolutions are a thing of the past and we will await till 2021 in hopes of building on the success of the first 12 days of 2020!
Making changes stick is hard-really hard. What most experts would suggest is that a big reason changes or New Years’ resolutions are so difficult is that we have very unrealistic expectations. You know, like losing ten pounds in the first week of your diet or making 100K from your first training video. When we don’t see that level of success, we tend to think we’ve failed, get depressed or dejected and then slip backwards.
But, for those of us who are now struggling to keep our New Years’ resolutions or others who just continually try to self-improve but with difficulty, don’t despair! Intentional Change Theory is a framework that has helped many achieve individual behavioral change. And, I too, go back to this approach on my own self-improvement journey.
In 2006, Richard Boyatzis, a professor at Case Western Reserve University, developed Intentional Change Theory (ICT) as part of his work on individual and organizational change.
The model falls five common sense practices:
1. Discover your ideal self.
Part of the change process involves getting really clear on what you want to achieve and what do you consider your ideal. Think about the type of person that you would like to become. Is this a heathier you? A more assertive you? Someone who is having professional success at work? Identifying these types of goals will help you map to your ideal self.
2. Discover your real self.
Next, you need to define your real self today. Be honest with your self as to the person that you are right now. To be successful at this step, you must have good insight and self-awareness. Dependent on your goals, this could be easy to define (i.e. a quantitative measure of weight loss) or it could be ambiguous (i.e. a qualitative measure of being kinder). You can consider using personality assessments such as DISC, Myers-Briggs or StrenghFinders to better understand yourself or consider working with a coach who can you better understand yourself.
3. Create your learning agenda.
Through steps 1 and 2, you’ve essentially defined the gap between who you want to be and who you are now. This gap analysis will help you to begin the process of crafting the necessary steps to close that gap. Brainstorm ways that you can close the gap and then identify specific actions that you should take to achieve your ideal state. At the end of this step, you should have an individual development plan in place that outlines specific actions.
4. Experiment with and practice new habits.
Once you’ve developed a plan, you need to integrate small actions into your daily life. Changes need to become habit and reinforced-even small changes can ultimately produce big effects. Committing to drinking eight gasses of water each day or starting all business meetings with a focus on relationship building are examples of actions that could be taken to support your vision of ideal self.
5. Get support.
Finally, draw from people around you and use contemporary methods to support your efforts. As an example, online chat forum for weight loss can be a good source for busy professionals. Virtual coaching or self-directed learning can facilitate micro learning options at work to reinforce a business change.
The steps outlined above can help you produce change in your personal and professional life. Yes, we are well into 2020 now and New Year resolutions are a faint memory for many but we still can Change. Remember, be ok with small changes, think about how to integrate those small changes into your life, and connect with others to support you on your path!
Armatas Advisory Group specializes in helping individuals, teams and organizations to embrace, mobilize and sustain change. Connect with us to learn how we might help you.