We often acknowledge the need for formalised change management processes for organisational changes, but tend to jump in to personal changes with little thought and planning.
This is extremely pertinent to consider in January, as people around the world set New Year’s resolutions.
In essence, resolutions require individuals to change their behaviour and form new habits. In a business sense, we know that engaging in formalised change management processes increase the chances of successfully achieving change.
So why don’t we take this approach when striving to achieve our resolutions?
A more structured approach to how we will achieve our resolutions may see you successfully adopting your desired new habits. Making smart goals will give you a fighting chance to see your resolution through.
And before you start wondering ‘how can a goal can be clever?’, smart is an acronym for 5 concepts that will help you to achieve change. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound.
A frequently set resolution is ‘I want to be more healthy’. But what does this really mean? Are you wanting to lose weight? Eat different food? Exercise more? What exactly is your resolution? Avoid making general goals, and instead be specific such as ‘I want to exercise 3 times a week’ or ‘I want to bring my own lunch to work 3 days a week’. These goals are much more defined and easy to conceptualise.
Asking questions such as ‘how much’ or ‘how many’ will determine whether your goal is measurable. Choosing goals where progress can be measured can help to track our changes. For example, a goal such as ‘visit my parents more often’ can be made smarter by changing to ‘visit my parents at least once a fortnight’.
Can you really run a marathon after sitting on the couch for most of the previous year? How about starting with the goal of running 10km? A goal should be a stretch; however it needs to be achievable. Think about what steps you would need to take to reach the goal and whether these steps seem achievable. Goals we believe we can accomplish and commit to are achievable goals. A lot of the time as we expand our skills and self-belief, previously considered unattainable goals start to appear more achievable. So maybe that marathon is a good resolution for next year, but start with reaching 10km first!
Realistic goals don’t need to be easy, but we need to have the ability and resources to achieve them. Some constraints may mean that a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, and time-bound may not be realistic. Sometimes, it is a simple matter of changing a timeframe to make a goal realistic. Say your goal is to volunteer at a charity once a week. This may be realistic to some, but for others, life circumstances may mean that volunteering once a month is more realistic and therefore more likely to be realised.
A goal should be grounded within a timeframe otherwise there is no sense of urgency to motivate you to work towards the goal. ‘Someday’ just won’t cut it! Instead of ‘I want to read all of Agatha Christie’s mystery novels’, change your goal to ‘I want to read one Agatha Christie mystery novel each month for the next year’.
Now that you’ve made a SMART resolution, how will you motivate yourself to achieve it?
- Plan it out. Just like in an organisational change, plan out the steps needed to reach your goal. Having a plan will help to make your resolution more tangible.
- Set milestones. Set milestones for yourself to reach on the way to achieving your resolution.
- Hold yourself accountable. Whether in the form of posting on social media, informing your nearest and dearest, or simply writing it in your journal, put your resolution out there! It will help motivate you to reach your goal and can help when tracking your progress.
- Reward yourself. Reward yourself for reaching milestones in the way you would celebrate team successes throughout organisational change. Celebrate by spoiling yourself or celebrate with the family or friends who supported you to achieve your goal.
Taking some time to think carefully about your New Year’s resolutions should help you to achieve your goals and successfully make changes in your life. Just as it is important in organisational change, change management processes in your personal life can help you to see you resolutions become reality.
If your team or organisation needs assistance with managing organisational change, or if you would like coaching on how to achieve a work-related New Year’s resolution, contact one our Change Management Consultants today on 07 3003 1473 or email email@example.com