Are you making any New Years Resolutions? Chances are you are one of the many people who are going to make 2019 the year to be… more healthy, wealthy and wise. As a change management consultant New Year Resolutions fascinate me.
Funnily enough New Years Resolutions are not the result of the modern era nor the invention of business lined up today to sell you ‘fresh starts’ with ready-made solutions. Resolutions started in around 153BC by the Romans.
January is named after Janus, a mythical god of early Rome. Janus had two faces — one looking forward, one looking backward.
On December 31, the Romans imagined Janus looking backward into the old year and forward into the New Year This became a symbolic time for Romans to make resolutions for the new year and forgive enemies for troubles in the past.
The Romans also believed Janus could forgive them for their wrongdoings in the previous year. The Romans would give gifts and make promises, believing Janus would see this and bless them in the year ahead.
Perhaps this ‘wish’ has continued to today as many ‘resolutions’ are made without a plan. We get swept up by using one defining moment – a date on a calendar - to set a goal – usually a big one – and underestimate what it might take to reach that goal.
During this time we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. We put pressure on ourselves to make some earth-shattering improvement.
Maybe it’s because we see success as an event. But change is not an act – it’s process. Little acts lead to change.
Change happens when an individual or organisation focus on lots of small improvements rather than overwhelming ‘projects’.
Individuals who are dedicated with daily habits and behaviours consistent with their goals are the most successful. Whether is saving money or aiming to run 5 km’s at little bit a time is the only way to do it effectively.
Small business and social enterprise that are able to chunk down their big goals into specific actions are more successful than those who expect and strive for dramatic and immediate results.
Corporates and government agencies that can isolate themes and set up systems and processes for measuring and monitoring small impacts see amplified results.
Improving by small percentages are not particularly notable—sometimes not even noticeable—but can be far more successful and enduring in the long run.
Being one per cent better every day in life and business is like compound interest - every day’s gain gets added to yesterdays’ principle so that you earn results on results. For example if you can get 1 percent better each day for one year, you’ll end up thirty-seven times better by the time you’re done!
But even though we know the math the next bright shiny goal can easily distract us.
It might sound boring but for many changes to take place it all starts with routine.
As an individual you might have a goal to get more sleep. Now if you usually go to bed at 11 – you don’t start your change process by trying to go to bed at 10 – you start by going to bed at 10.55 for a week and then 10.50 etc. You’ll be happily in bed by 10 after a few months.
As a small business who wants to improve their social media presence – you don’t go on a social media frenzy the first week of January and then run out of puff – you start with scheduling a few posts a week for the first month and using the data from your posts you do more of the successful types of posts the month after.
As a growing corporate who needs more efficient systems and processes you don’t start from scratch. You audit, you keep what works and you slowly change what doesn’t.
Sometimes change is not what we need to do – but what we need to stop doing!
In life we want to be the best version of ourselves for those we care about, in business we want to be the best we can be for our stakeholders. As most of us don’t start this journey ‘as awesome’ we need acceptance of change and an understanding of the pathways to change.
I have been privileged to work with a many individuals, businesses and organisations this year who have entrusted me to help them identify the areas they would benefit from reviewing and guiding the process for sustained change. The results are starting to pay-off and will continue to do so.
Thank you to the people who have been on the journey with me in 2018 and I look forward to working with you in safe place to change in 2019.