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Making your New Years resolution stick

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’m a firm believer in using personality assessments to help you achieve success. In particular, there’s a lot to be learned from a person’s motivators — the WHY of what they do — in order to create a plan for success.

So we’re now getting into the middle of January and it’s possible, even likely, that you’ve made some New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’re doing well, maybe you’re already close to throwing your hands in the air and saying, “I give up!”

Your success — or lack of it — might just be due to your own motivators. If that word needs more explanation, pause for a moment and read more about the different types of motivators to see which ones sound most like you. We also call these driving forces, or simply drivers, and they can work with you or against you depending on what resolutions you’ve made.

When a people act on their drivers, they are typically energized and uplifted. For example, if you’re a person who is driven by intellectual growth, you tend to crave new knowledge, so resolutions that involve such growth (reading more, getting a master’s degree, learning a new language, etc.) probably started this year with a bang.

However, when you perform a task that is not consistent with your drivers, you tend to become drained of energy, quickly. So, taking the same example of someone who is driven intellectually, a resolution to relax more, or to achieve more balance between work and family, might be far more challenging and even frustrating.

Since resolutions or goals that utilize your individual drivers probably don’t need much help to succeed, let’s focus on those resolutions you make that might seem to be in contrast with your drivers. Keeping with the idea of achieving more relaxation or balance, the person who is driven by intellectual pursuits could strike a chord by finding something that satisfies both. What comes to mind here is meditation, or reading more on stress relief practices.

On one hand, there is still the pursuit of knowledge in learning something new that will improve your success and well-being. Meditation is often on the list of things successful people do as it helps them refocus and reenergize in as little as 15 minutes. On the other hand, it’s seen as a great way to alleviate stress and bring balance and relaxation into your life.

Let’s try another example.

Perhaps you’re the harmonious person who would take the balance and relaxation resolution and run with it. Faced with the resolution to get a promotion or take a job to the next level will have you out of your comfort zone, however, or at least might seem so at first glance. You know you want to move ahead, but your desire to have space in your day that allows you to rest and relax might be in jeopardy.

Often dilemmas like these have people backing away from their resolutions, preferring instead to lean on the comfort of what they know makes them happy. However, here too we can work with the driver (harmony) to achieve the resolution. As in this case we’re talking about job advancement, it must be one that still allows for that rest, but maybe the focus isn’t so much on the promotion, but on developing the time management skills it will take to make sure you are working at a higher level with an efficiency that includes scheduling in relaxation.

People often think that if you have to schedule rest or relaxation, it won’t seem very restful or relaxing. However, it couldn’t be further from the truth. When you create a schedule, when you plan intentionally, you create the reality. You also create the time that gives you permission to do whatever that time block is designed for.

Imagine your day with a planned half hour, guilt free, of taking a walk away from your desk, listening to music that relaxes you, or again utilizes meditation to renew you. It’s your own half hour, then when it’s over, you go onto the next task that you have scheduled. On the other hand if you schedule nothing and worry about when you can squeeze in time to relax, you’re creating anxiety, and even if you do take time away, you’re probably feeling guilty about what else you should be doing.

The bottom line here is that you must understand what makes you tick, what excites you, what scares you, and why. If you haven’t yet had the advantage of an assessment, you might be lacking that insight that will help you make your resolutions —ALL of them — something you can look back on in December, and say, “I did it.”