5 things that strategic thinking helps in keeping New Year resolutions

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Happy New Year! As they say, another year older and another year wiser. I wish for you all that you wish for yourself this 2015!

For many of us, New Year resolutions don’t last very long. People make them because the new year is a significant time to break from the old and become someone better. Yet when there is no concomitant change in behaviour, in values, in strategy, then we very quickly fall back into the same routine, and “fail” in our resolutions. In this article, I would like to share the 5 things that strategic thinking is that can help keep you focused and guided in achieving your New Year resolutions.

1. Being intent focused

If there’s one thing that anyone who knows my work, will know that I harp on intent. After all, if we don’t know what we truly want to achieve in the new year – and it might not simply be to eat less or be more healthy – there must be a bigger intent to it; even if it was a vain one – you will not get there. By using the 5 Why’s, one will be able to divine just such intent, and be focused on it.

Related: The Five Whys – it is still the best tool to identify strategic intent

2. Taking a holistic approach to change

Systems thinking is not just for engineers and system planners. It is a great tool for any person who keeps on repeating the same mistakes – like not keeping their New Year’s resolutions. When you apply systems thinking, you apply a holistic thinking process that will map out the key drivers of what’s pushing and what’s pulling a situation toward, or away from, your desired intent. And from there, you can find the centres of gravity upon which to focus your solutions. And that will make you more successful in keeping your resolutions.

Related: The New Systems Thinking

3. Learning from the past

Thinking in time is a very useful technique to help you keep your resolutions on track. By looking at the past, and seeing how things didn’t work out for you in the resolutions department, you can see what needs to change in order to get to the future. This is such a simple technique, which, sadly, doesn’t get enough airtime. So when you want to ensure that you are successful in your resolutions, make sure that you look to what has hindered you before and solve that. You will then open a smoother pathway for your resolutions success.

4. Reframing to see the situation differently

Are you one-track-minded? Perhaps that was the reason why you had repeatedly “failed” in meeting your resolutions? One thing we know is that if we continued doing the same things, we will continue getting the same results. As such, if you had always approached your New Year resolutions by putting in the same efforts and the same resolve, try something else. Look at things differently. If you need some inspiration doing that, read the related article.

Related: 7 perspectives to see your situation differently

5. Small, simple steps

Finally, the last element of strategic thinking is to experiment with your hypothesis. Take small, simple steps. Do not despair if your initial idea didn’t work, find new ways of getting there, pivoting your plans. As they say, Rome was not built in a day; and neither would your resolutions. The trouble with many people is once they hit a roadblock, they deem their resolution too big a deal, and give up on it. Taking the hypothesis-driven process, you chunk it down into bite size and figure it out as you go along.

So there you are, strategic thinking’s contribution to helping you keep your New Year resolutions. I hope you can apply these and see your resolutions through to a successful outcome, celebrating those at the end of this year!

Happy, and successful, 2015!

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