Those of you who have read my book “Preventing Strategic Gridlock ®” know that I use the acronym U.N.L.O.C.K.(R) to describe a process for developing and implementing business strategies. However, the same process can be used for setting and accomplishing New Year’s resolutions.
- U-Step: Understand what’s important to you. Most of the time we’re so busy going through life that we don’t take the time to consider what really matters. The very act of making a resolution puts us in touch with what needs to happen in order to live the best life possible.
- N-Step: Negotiate buy-in of key stakeholders. Remember that those who impact or are impacted by your resolutions are not always those who are closest to you. Example: A resolution to lose weight impacts not only immediate family members; it also impacts extended family, friends, and co-workers with whom you share snacks and meals. What information do they need from you in order to help you achieve your resolution?
- L-Step: Locate cultural advancers and blockers. Identify the values, beliefs and practices that will help or hinder your accomplishment of your resolution. Example: One executive who resolved to delegate more to his managers realized he had strong values and beliefs that inadvertently reinforced keeping plans in his head and not sharing information with others. When he evaluated the benefits and risks of adapting a new mindset, he was able to change his actions to accomplish his resolution.
- O-Step: Organize relevant priorities, goals and actions. Once you’ve decided that your resolution is really important, which priorities are you going to shift in order to make sure this one actually happens? What are the supporting goals and actions that you are capable of and willing to do? Many times the first action steps are small – getting the name of a fitness club, identifying an appropriate advisor, etc.
- C-Step: Communicate Credibly: Whether or not you actively shape your communication, others are taking messages from everything you do – and don’t do. Example: Someone who says he or she wants to adopt a healthier lifestyle but does not exercise or change eating habits is not credible in his or her communication.
- K- Step: Keep Adjusting: Measure progress with checkpoints and milestones. If the circumstances that prompted you to make a resolution in January 2009 no longer apply by March 2009, there’s no reason to stick with that resolution – use the U-step (step 1) to make a new, more relevant resolution. Also, if one way to achieve it hasn’t worked, go back through all the steps of the process to find both the cause of the problem and a way to overcome the obstacle.
Ultimately, New Year’s resolutions – like all goals – need to be fluid to account for constant shifts in the environment. Happy New Year!