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Sunday, 4 January 2015

New Year Resolutions? My New Year Resolution is to Make Them Last Whatever They Are!

It’s that time of the year when the media offer ideas for your New Year resolutions, what the celebrities have decided to give up (or start) and how you can make sure that the resolutions lasts for more than a few days.

It is obviously a good idea to decide once and for all to reduce the drinking (if that is a problem) or to eat less (if that is a problem too) and to go to the gym on a regular basis or just to take the dog for a walk from time to time.

I once had my Vistage CE peer group disclose their resolutions and if everyone lost the amount of weight they said they would then I would have lost two members by volume.

However what we are discussing here is rather more than trying to be good and to change habits of which we are aware but do little about.

Please don’t imagine that I am a goody-goody in these matters.  I am as effective a backslider as anyone else when it comes, for example, to giving up chocolate and I frantically trawl through the media to find relevant articles that tell me that chocolate is good for me.

Remember the story of man who said that he was constantly reading about smoking being bad for us so he had given up reading?

The problem for all of us is changing ingrained habits and these can range right across the board of everyday living as well as merely stopping us eating what we like.

How irritating is it to hear the overuse and often pointless use of words in a language that has so many alternatives?

Just listen to pretty well any broadcast interview and count how many times people say “basically”, “actually”, “hopefully”, “at the end of the day” and so on.

We are all wonderful car drives and it is just a shame that there are so many idiots on the rod when they should be out of our way somewhere else.  Take an expert with you sometime and have them rate your driving to see precisely where you need to  improve.

Ingrained habits can be the scourge of good management in business.  We read the great books and vow never to be authoritarian or prescriptive or indecisive ever again.

The issue is; do we always know our bad habits and more to the point, do we know how to change them?  Even more importantly do we really want to change?

Again, if you have someone whom you really can trust, ask them to tell you frankly and honestly what habits you have that irritate others and could well be changed.

I am quite sure that is I take my own advice I would find that I have many ingrained habits that in others would irritate the hell out of me.

Psychologists tell us that if we can drop a habit for thirty days then we will change ourselves for good.  The problem is, we don’t always know which habits are of value and which are just there doing nothing but getting in the way.

Equally if we can do something different and valuable for the same thirty days then that is likely to become an ingrained habit but this time for good rather than the alternative.

If all this sounds like preaching, it is, but it is intended for me rather than for you.

A little soul searching at this time doesn’t do any harm provided we understand that habits make us who and what we are so we shouldn’t just change for the sake of it.

I saw a lovely cartoon on Facebook today with a man saying to his dog “You have chewed up my New Year Resolutions!  GOOD DOG!!”


May 2015 bring all that you want for yourselves, for your families and friends and for your businesses.  May it be a prosperous, peaceful and above all healthy year for all of us.

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