Happy New Year! Looking at some examples of New Year resolutions on the internet, I see a lot of good ideas for how to have a terrific year. Some of them focus on only one topic: health, or money, or relationships, for example. Others focus on combinations of those, or on less personal goals for accomplishing something in an organization or a community. They’re all good.
But most of those ideas for 2016 goals will not include one thing that will increase the probability of success. If you can get even a little bit more specific about the communications that can support your success, you just might give yourself a win. Take the example of the three types of resolutions the internet tells us are the most popular:
- Lose ten (or more) pounds;
- Make more money; and/or
- Improve my relationship with a family member.
#1. In order to lose weight, I’ll probably have to alter my diet and exercise habits. So who do I need to talk with in order to make those changes? Will my spouse or roommate(s) be affected in any way? If so, what do I need to ask of them, or do for them, to make my diet and exercise changes work in my real life?
#2. To make more money, I’ll need to get a raise, or a new job or additional work responsibilities. What are the conversations that will make this happen, and with whom? My boss? An employment service? Marketing and sales support?
#3. What’s missing in that family relationship, and what conversations need to be stopped, changed, or started? What do I want them to say or do differently, and what could I say or do that would help that happen?
Whatever your goal(s), give some thought to the productive conversations that could give you a boost in reality instead of hoping your “resolution” will do all the work. The quick recipe for implementing your resolutions is sketching out your “effectiveness plan” for productive communication:
- What is the current situation in this matter? How are things happening right now? What works well the way it is now, and what needs to change to work better for accomplishing my goals?
- Who else plays a role in this? Who is – or might be – affected or influenced in the process of me getting what I want?
- Who could help me or hinder me? What do I want from them that would increase the likelihood of my success? What might they want from me?
Then, the communications:
Initiative Conversation: Share your goal – what it is, by when you want it, and why it is important to you.
Understanding Conversation: Tell them how it relates to them, and ask for their feedback. Listen to their input, ideas, and critiques – this is likely to be useful information to help you adjust your game.
Performance Conversation: Make the requests for whatever will support you in reaching the goal. Make the promises you think might be useful to them and to you in moving ahead. Create an agreement – including specific times – to stay in touch and continue developing your progress into the future.
Closure Conversation: Report back on how things are going. Be honest about successes and failures and be appreciative about their participation in this dialogue. Refresh your agreements or cancel some of them when appropriate.
Giving thought to the communication aspect of achieving your goals is a way to recognize that goals are not achieved by one individual alone. Similarly, a change in one aspect of your life will likely impact other parts of your life. You can prepare to reach your goal(s) by looking at what connects your life’s many dimensions: communication. Then design your communications to give structure and support to your success.