Happy New Year.
This year I recognised I need to lose 7kgs. I need to improve my sight reading for piano. And I need to launch new products and meet sales targets. And over Christmas I set those goals.
Like me if you made any New Years personal or professional resolutions like losing weight or getting fit or meeting your business targets then be aware that Black Monday in 2015, falls on Monday 19 January.
Black Monday is the third Monday of the New Year when historically all your resolutions and good intentions for self improvement and aspirational goals for success historically fall by the wayside and you revert back to your default setting.
More gym memberships are sold between January 1 and 10 than any other time. You’ll pull on trainers, sign up for a Bible study course, take up drawing and piano lessons and promise yourself you will do a strategic audit of the business …
Goals are good but we know that unless you understand how change occurs you will not normally be as successful as you want. Technically you will relapse. This is a scientific fact and well proven. Here’s why.
Essentially, doing something new or different- neurologically – consciously requires more brain effort. Bad habits or habitual ways of behaving are already hard wired in neurologically and are as such on auto and therefore require less brain activity.
And the brain is a better safe than sorry organism programmed for less effort. So if push comes to shove as soon as goal feels like too much hard work, then guess what? Right, you go right back to your default setting.
But if change is needed then deciding what needs changing is just a small part of success.
The good news is there is no mystery to goal attainment. And peak performance isn’t a mystery either. And there is absolutely no mystery to locking in desired change. In fact, behaviour modification is pretty much a science.
Knowing what you want is the start. But locking in the desired change is actually achieved through taking consistent baby steps that condition and maintain the desired behaviour.
What we do at New Years is we set goals like playing Beethoven’s Pathetique by January 31 when we are a beginner. This piece is in F#m with four flats. Unless you know the scale of F#m and how to read music you will decide to abandon this goal by about 1.15pm on January 2.
The NHS recently created a Couch to 5K podcast program and this entails walk/jogging 5 kms within 9 weeks. If you follow the podcast you will discover like me that three weeks has already gone by and magically you are walk/jogging every second day and you’ve already lost 1.8kg without even realising it. As opposed to going for a massive run on Jan 1, 2 and 3, straining muscles you haven’t used for some time that ache for four days only to discover that you haven’t been for a run since.
The concept of baby steps was introduced by change experts Prochanska and Diclemente over 30 years ago and they developed their Stages of Change model by working with drug addicts. When I did my psychology degree I studied the treatment of abnormal behaviour and decided that whatever works for highly dysfunctional people under the most difficult of circumstances MUST work really well for so called ‘normal’ people.
They pioneered the concept of stage so of change and taking baby steps.
Likewise Locke and Latham in the 80s did the seminal research on goal attainment. In both cases, their theories were robust – meaning they have stood the test of time. So we know what works.
I work with business leaders – business owners, managers, executives – people with a mandate to achieve results. As a coach I am often engaged to help my clients reach their goals sooner and bigger.
Over many years I developed a methodology for working with ambitious, heavy hitters and people in key roles. But for whatever reason, not everyone can engage a personal coach. With that in mind last year I developed a 40 day home study peak performance program for managers. This is baby steps change program – essentially, an email a day.
There are two formats available.
i) Email only USD$199 (PP-EML)
ii) Email plus podcast support USD$255 (PP-EMLPC)
SPECIAL OFFER: If you would like to do either of these programs log in to Paypal > and enter the email firstname.lastname@example.org and purchase the option by using either PP-EML or PPEMLPC as the reference i.e., the option that suits your needs best.
If neither of those suit I will be giving you peak performance tips via this blog throughout 2015 along with some great free download specials.
To finish here’s a tip. Whatever goal you have decided on, get out your mobile phone and go to your voice recording app and spend the next 15 minutes minimum explaining WHY you want to achieve that goal – exactly. Importantly, consider what things will be like and feel like a month from now, three months from now and year from now if you DON’T achieve this goal … and what things will be like and feel like … if you DO.
Hope that helps.