Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
The Holiday Season is in our rearview window. It was chaotic and fun, and a gourmet’s delight as many of our scales attest! With a smile on our face, a committed heart, and a deep breath, it’s time to begin the real world again as we kick 2020 off!
I always like to create objectives for the New Year so that it will be more life, giving for me and others. Sometimes it’s bigger and brighter ambitious driven purposes, and sometimes it’s deeper and more thirst-quenching to my soul reasons, yet it’s always anticipating moving forward on my life path.
I look back over my last year and ask: “What skill, behavior, attitude, projects or actions do I intend to advance this year that I wasn’t able to pull off last year?”
The next question I ask is: “What have I always enjoyed doing that now holds me back and may no longer serve me during this current season of my life?
I also plant dreams and hopes into this spanking, brand-new, possibility year that excites and has me fine-tuning and perfecting what I presented to the world last year. Often, I have a handful of intentions that may impact my professional and or personal life. What would that be for you?
Sometimes the process takes place quietly as I ruminate in the background of my mind. At other times, I block time off on my calendar for a more formal, serious exploration. The truth is that both have been effective over the years.
Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, and her team, determined, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic—66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances. In the study, it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit.
What’s important to keep in mind is that it is a process—not a one-time event. Have patience with yourself.
Stumbles and breakdowns are part and parcel of your pathway to developing a new habit or way of being. Often people miss their exciting future because they give up too soon. When running smack-dab into a barrier, please don’t falter along the way. Merely determine if there is another viable approach that will accomplish your inspired future or bring about your desired new behavior. You see, building grit is an essential capacity, that is if you intend to proactively design a career or a life that is worth experiencing.
Why is this vital to your 2020? The bad news is that this year, just as occurred last year, will have you responsible for producing more with not enough time. You’re sure to be bombarded with new initiatives coming at you from every direction interrupting your aspirations. Not to mention, derailed projects will be a regular experience. Times such as these are where your envisioned expectations come into play. Much like the small rudder guides a mighty cargo ship from port-to-port, so too will your yearly plans direct you through the year.
But know this…. Your intentions will accelerate your growth both professionally and personally, so why not tap into its power, right now?
P.S. If you’re interested in gaining additional insight into habits, there’s no one better than James Clear and his book Atomic Habits.