After the start of every new year, some of us end up contemplating exactly how we can regain momentum on our otherwise abandoned New Year’s Resolutions. Well, if motivation is what you need, AccelaWork’s founder has some advice on why starting over is not just refreshing. It’s also productive.
The article Why Starting Over is Productive, written by Robby Slaughter, was published in an edition of Health Minute Magazine. For your convenience, the entire feature is below:
Why Starting Over is Productive
Another year means millions of people are setting new goals and starting fresh. We are signing up for gym memberships, buying diet books and resolving to be smarter, healthier, more spiritual, more caring and more effective in our daily lives. Yet at the same time, we know that not all of these lofty ideals will become a permanent reality. In fact, The Miami Herald reported on a study that found 97% of all New Year’s resolutions are left unfulfilled. If we are so terrible at meeting our goals, why do we make them in the first place?
There is a reason that we take a new year as an opportunity to make bold plans about our health, lifestyle and career. We find comfort in using a date on the calendar to mark a turning point. A new year is a watershed moment that lets us discard the past and embrace the possibility of the future. Resolutions aren’t just about making plans: they also require that we let go.
Psychologists have extensively researched not only the way we make decisions, but the way we perceive decisions in others. Through a phenomenon called “spontaneous trait transference,” science explains that we have a strong tendency to associate qualities with the people making statements, not the object of the statements themselves. If you talk about the achievements, intentions or failures of others, those listening will tend to connect their emotions to you.
When we go to make changes in our lifestyle, the same principle applies. We work to put old, bad behaviors out of mind and bring new, positive activities to the forefront. We therefore associate ourselves with success and possibility. That’s why it feels good to resolve to change.
Unfortunately, most of us wait for the excuse of an annual tradition to set goals. Instead of using an arbitrary calendar date for defining our objectives, we should make improvement a part of our everyday lives. And furthermore, few of us work with others to build accountability. Remember, “spontaneous trait transference” works best when you are sharing stories and ideas with other people.
This year, make a resolution to start fresh and improve your health and well-being. Don’t worry if you’ve missed the a deadline—any day is a good day to make a change for the better. But do take time to reach out to friends, family and colleagues to seek their help in improving. The best way to lead a healthier, more productive and more satisfying life is with the company and confidence of others.
Robby Slaughter is a Principal with AccelaWork, an Indianapolis-based business process and workflow consulting company. His book, Failure: The Secret to Success is available at www.failurethebook.com.