50% of New Year’s resolutions are broken by January 3.
Because the whole ritual is all about fixing something broken.
The most popular resolutions each year: lose weight, stop smoking, and stop spending.
Wow. That’s exciting. You can imagine how thrilled people are to bound out of bed each morning on Jan 1 and Jan 2 to stop doing the 3 things they love most: eating, smoking, and shopping! Yes, sign me up for a whole year of that, they’re thinking. By January 3, they rightly decide that it’s not working, so they give up.
People have the same visceral reaction to Performance Reviews, Performance Improvement Plans, and all other documents drafted to describe what’s wrong with them. Who wants to come running into the office to fix their weaknesses? That sounds uninspiring, dismal, and miserable.
This is the day! You are officially allowed to dump all of those inane exercises on January 3!
You may be mentally protesting. But think for a moment. Has it ever worked? Have you ever changed your behavior or someone else’s by designing a plan to fix what’s wrong with you or them?
No! So, in the words of Bob Newhart from a MadTV skit, “Stop it!”
(Check out the hilarious skit on YouTube.)
So now that you’re done flagellating, thrashing, scolding and berating yourself and others, what is left to help us create change this year?
3 powerful game-changers:
- The Battle Cry
You can influence change in yourself and others by understanding what makes us tick. Two major influences drive action and inaction in every human being: the need to matter and the fear of rejection. Remember only those and you’ll never need resolutions or performance reviews to make the new year a watershed year.
There is no greater tool for transformation than mentoring. One person who has been-there-done-that shares institutional, tribal knowledge with someone who wants to go-there-and-do-that. The sharing of knowledge, wisdom, and lessons learned inevitably accelerates the success of the other person. It’s brilliant. It can be a strategic advantage to individuals, teams, and organizations. However, it is often overlooked and then becomes a missed opportunity.
The Battle Cry
If you do nothing else after you dump the New Year’s Resolutions, declare a Battle Cry for your year. What will get you excited to jump out of bed each morning? What will have you excited to run into the office to start working? What will have your team jazzed about showing up?
A battle cry is bigger than a goal, a mission, or a vision. A battle cry has goals and it aligns with missions and visions, but it’s more than those. A battle cry is the deep-seated, heartfelt, emotional reason we show up big.
Some examples of a Battle Cry:
- * to constantly surprise and delight my boss with my contributions
- * to make every moment with my kids a fun learning opportunity
- * to be the company’s innovation expert
- * to shock and awe my doctor at each visit with my great health
- * to form partnerships with each of my colleagues and my clients
- * to be kind without exception to everyone I meet
Without a battle cry, your resolutions and performance improvement plans are designed for demise. And without the power of influence and mentoring, your battle cries will become sad, wistful whimpers.
It’s January 3.
What resolution are you throwing out the window today?
In its place, what will be your battle cry for the year?
And how are you going to leverage influence and mentoring to drive that battle cry and make 2012 a game-changing year?