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Why Some People Can Always Stick to Their New Year Resolution throughout the Year

Why Some People Can Always Stick to Their New Year Resolution throughout the Year

Last week I spoke at a business lunch about the reasons New Year’s Resolutions fail and how to overcome these roadblocks to success.

I asked the audience these questions:

How many of you set New Year’s Resolutions?
One person raised their hand, I then asked

How many people set Goals?
The response was almost unanimous, everyone set goals.

My reaction was to tell them that goals and resolutions were the same thing. That maybe New Year’s Resolution needed a re branding exercise to help us see that setting resolutions is the same as setting goals.

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The following evening at a similar event, I spoke to a group of people whose goals for 2013 were predominately to get organized and clear the clutter from their lives. Again we spoke about New Years Resolutions and Goals.

new year resolution

    On my drive home I realized that I had made a mistake, that I shouldn’t be telling people that Resolutions are the same as goals. Even though resolutions are a type of goal they are in fact very different and should be treated differently.

    The majority of people who set New Year’s Resolutions set one of the following.

    1. To Exercise More
    2. To Eat Less
    3. To Stop Smoking (or another unhealthy habit)
    4. To Eat Healthy
    5. To Learn something new (languages, music etc)

    And although these may appear on the outside to be normal goals, they are all a particular type of goal. They all require a new habit to be formed. I realized that in order for people to stick to their New Year’s Resolutions and achieve their goals, they had to understand that what they attempted to achieve included the adoption of a new habit.

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    By understanding this difference, New Year’s Resolutions can be approached in a manner that will support their acquisition and your personal success.

    How do we make our New Year Resolution last throughout the year?

    By understanding what is required to achieve your goal and what new habit can help you achieve it you are more likely to get what you want. It is also important to understand how new habits are formed and how to ensure these new habits remain.
    Below are some tips to help you create the new habits that will ensure you stick to your New Year’s Resolutions this year

    Be clear about what you want to achieve

    Goal: To Lose weight
    New Habit required: The habit of regular exercise

    Goal: To write a book
    New Habit Required: The habit of writing

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    Goal: To Eliminate Debt
    New Habit Required: The habit of budgeting

    One at a time

    Many people fail with New Year’s Resolutions because they try too much too soon. Try one new habit at a time to gain from the power of single focus.

    Start Small

    Make the change little by little, want to run a 10K don’t attempt it on the first day. The best advice I ever got was that ten minutes a day can write a book. When the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming you are more likely to keep it up. Better to do ten minutes a day of yoga than an hour a week. Small and regular is better than big and irregular!

    Use a Trigger

    If you are creating a new habit do it at the same time everyday, if you want to start running in the morning, create a morning routine so that you do the same thing every morning. Our brains function better with routine, get out of bed, go to the bathroom and put on your running shoes.

    Accountability Buddy

    Research shows that percentage of successful resolutions increases hugely when you are accountable to someone. We give ourselves a break far too often but when we have to do something for someone else it’s more likely to happen.

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    Forgive yourself

    My favorite quote this year “It doesn’t matter if you fall down what matters is how long you stay on the floor” Very few people are successful 100% of the time, failure is part of life. Accept that, forgive yourself and move on.

    Motivation

    When you motivation fades, remind yourself why you want to create the new habit, how will your life be different if you achieve what you set out to achieve? Connecting with the reasons why will motivate you to keep going. And if your reasons why don’t motivate you anymore maybe you should try something new!

    Featured photo credit:  Athlete running on the road in morning sunrise training for marathon and fitness. Healthy active lifestyle latino woman exercising outdoors via Shutterstock

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2019

    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

    When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

    Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

    It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

    While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

    Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

    What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

    How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

    It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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    People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

    “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

    In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

    Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

    As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

    When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

    It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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    What are Interpersonal Skills?

    Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

    In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

    From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

    For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

    Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

    How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

    There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

    There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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    Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

    I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

    Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

    “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

    Don’t overlook introspection.

    While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

    Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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    When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

    Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

    “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

    The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

    The Bottom Line

    You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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