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An Executive Coach's Tips On How To Keep Your New Year's Resolution

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On this New Year’s Eve, Morning Shift wants to know: what’s your New Year’s resolution? And more importantly, what’s your plan for making it happen? 

Because let’s be honest: how many of us actually make the change we were hoping for at the start of the year? 

So if you do want to take this time to map out a game plan for your 2019 goals, maybe all you need… is a coach. Morning Shift talks to Jody Michael, the CEO of Jody Michael Associates, a life coach who specializes in executive and career coaching.

Why don’t resolutions always work?

Jody Michael:I think it's because people aren't aware of change technology. They  set up a goal, but they dont set up an effective process to achieve that goal. They rely on sheer will power, and we know that doesn't work. So I think that when you look at the statistics around New Year's resolutions, they're actually pretty discouraging. Today and tomorrow, half of Americans are going to sit down and write a resolution; only 8 percent of them are going to be successful. And most of them are going to break their resolutions before the second week in February. So the question is: how do we increase that probability? How can we become more successful? I want to go back to that research and look at what are the common reasons that people fail? And the research shows that people set unrealistic goals, they set too many goals, they fail to track their progress, and there's a ton of people that simply forgot that they set a goal. 


So what’s the solution?

Jody Michael: You're going to set up one goal. You're going to make sure it's realistic. And then you're going to set up small and digestible goals that you can measure and track on a daily basis. Is that going to increase the probability of your success? Yes. 

What moves the needle is understanding that once you set up that goal and even set up an effective process for achieving that goal, most if not all of the obstacles you're going to face are going to be internal obstacles. It's whatever your baggage is. Your baggage is what causes you to think or react in unproductive ways and it's going to contribute to sabotaging your efforts to change. And when you have enough of these habits, moods and beliefs and perspectives, you end up with bad habits. And those habits become deeply ingrained—it's like muscle memory. And that's actually what is driving your behavior. And for most of us, we're simply blind to it. So you have to go to another deeper level, you need to get down to your underlying operating system. You need to understand it. Then you need to rewire those unproductive habits, rebuild your neuro pathways with new thoughts, new behaviors and that's what really facilitates transformative, real change. 


Key strategies to good habits

Jody Michael:If you start with the question 'Who do I want to become?' that's already more powerful than getting something, or having something. [For example] if you set the goal "I want to lose 50 pounds," that's a powerful goal. But it's not as powerful as setting the goal "I want to become healthier." You are becoming healthier, so what you're doing is you're really setting up a lifestyle, you're consistently optimizing. And when you just set the goal "I want to lose 50 pounds," as soon as you check off that goal, guess what happens? You're done. A lot of people are going to rebound.

You then are going to want to set up a S.M.A.R.T goal. Makie sure your goal is (S)pecific, (M)easurable, (A)chievable, (R)easonable, and it's got a (T)ime limit to it. And then you want to start designing around that goal. You ask yourself "What new behaviors need to become habits so I can become successful?" And then you want to create a world around you that makes it easy to reinforce your good habits and to eliminate your bad habits. 


This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire interview, which was adapted for the web by Meha Ahmad.

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