I wish each one of you a warm, happy and healthy new year.
How can we not talk about resolutions on the new year day?
I’ll share a secret today. I have experienced troubles in keeping a resolution. With this, we probably have made an instant connection because I’m quite certain the two of us both share this problem.
What is "resolution"?
The word resolution means “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” It doesn’t stop there. It also means “quality of being determined.”
If the word refers to a firm decision that we have consciously taken, why do we quit, give up halfway, or go back on our words?
Until a particular point in my life, I was making new year resolutions that kept my mind busy all the time (with various degrees of futility). A few other resolutions certainly helped me progress in my life. But I wasn’t happy.
Some of my resolutions fell into the all-so-familiar deep crevice of disregard within a week or two. I forgot about them for the rest of the year and only reminded of them again on the new year’s eve of the following year. This habit of mine continued for many years.
Unfortunately, I was not alone
A study conducted by the University of Scranton found that 77% of people maintained their resolutions for only one week. Only about 19% of the people carried them on actively for over two years. The study also pointed out that a lack of personal control, excessive stress, and negative emotions were the top three reasons for resolutions to fail.
I was unsure of whether I was happy that I wasn’t alone.
The art of decision making
Tony Robinson beautifully said, “it is in the moments of decision that your destiny is shaped“. Tony’s statements were a big eyeopener in my life. I decided to make decisions very often. I constantly gave myself the courage to make decisions, like investing, switching my job, signing up for a new certification, getting married, having children, buying a car, selling my house; regardless of how small or big they were. Irrespective of their outcome, it always gave me the opportunity to learn something new.
I can relate decision making to the feeling of running a marathon. Every time I ran, I saw a different result, whether I liked it or not, just like how a decision always results in a particular outcome.
Small is more
There was something else that has brought me more defining changes in my life. While working in Quality Management, I came across a concept called Kaizen, meaning “change for better” in Japanese. Kaizen emphasizes small improvements rather than dramatic changes. Kaizen keeps one busy every day. With Kaizen, one can celebrate more often after accomplishing something rather than waiting for a vast resolution to bear fruit. Kaizen, in my world, instantly became a replacement for my weak, random annual resolutions. The idea of “small changes for better” is remarked in many popular quotes.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
How do you run a marathon? One step at a time!
Similarly, Can’t we answer the following questions too?
How do you get better with your health?
How do you develop a new skill or a habit?
How do you build a relationship?
Kaizen and decision making, two to tango!
Kaizen & Tony’s words on “making decisions” helped me in making decisions for small improvements very often. I was happy about getting better with small increments, and at the same time, I was getting veritably stronger with my decision-making abilities.
The more I experienced and practiced Kaizen in my daily life, the more it helped me rewire my belief system. Like, for example, being selfish with my health and fitness goals, or having good personal hygiene of brushing my teeth twice a day; it helped me in developing a habit of making decisions and bringing sustainable changes to my life.
I jump to do things that made me smile every day, enhance my overall health, affect my family welfare, relationships, lifestyle, or even improve my happiness quotient.
Resolutions came with several vulnerabilities. With Kaizen, I was able to carry on with decisions for longer by being more agile, flexible and open to changes. I stopped signing up for random resolutions with unachievable goals only on the new year day.
Sometimes, the very feeling of having the power to make worthwhile changes unafraid is empowering.
Am I against making resolutions?
I will never say that. Remember, 19% of the people who took the resolutions stuck with them for more than two years. There’s clearly something that’s helping them.
If you are part of the 73% who often fail with your resolution in the first one week, then you should consider practicing Kaizen to assist your decision-making skills.
Why not use Kaizen and quick decision-making skills as tools to strengthen your resolutions?
An awesome threesome. Let's combine them all.
I feel using Kaizen and decision-making skills as tools will make our resolutions stick longer. Again, it’s important that we carry excellent personal control (and develop stronger belief systems), learn to handle stress better (avoid the sources), and have positive emotions (surround yourself with positive people) to make us mightier.
This combination of skills with a happy, fulfilling life could inspire everyone around you; your children, friends, or colleagues.
"Do uncomfortable, be comfortable"
I’m practicing the art of combining them all. I take decisions to take a step back to reconstruct my foundation. I make resolutions to I go forward when I do uncomfortable things. I follow Kaizen to improve every single day
Coach Kay, Founder & ultramarathon coach, KaysFIT Academy
Editorial support: my son Aditya Kannan, www.adityakannan.com
What's your resolution for this new year?
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