Did you know that only 8% of New Year resolutions are kept by the end of the year? That resonates with me, the person who vowed to exercise more (nothing much), cut down my internet shopping (not at all), drink more water and eat at least the 5 a day (5 what a day I now ask myself). This all seems a bit pathetic, especially from someone who supports people in making behavioural changes in their lives!
Feeling a bit downhearted, slow to rise from my pillow and sluggish (could be all those festive carbs), I decided to spend a little time thinking about what changes I did make in 2015 and whether they were at all worthwhile. To my complete surprise, they were great and quite significant both personally and professionally:
- I forgave (fully and completely) someone about whom I had been harbouring a hurt for many years: made contact with them and restored the relationship to a level about which we are both happy. I decided to ‘leave my position’ go and move forward. It was very liberating and positive.
- I brought the family up the country to visit relatives we had not seen for many, many years. This took some considerable effort as it is quite a distance away. What a joy, to reconnect with an aunt and cousins and to introduce my own children to relatives they had never even met or known. Why leave it to a funeral or a wedding to reconnect, was my thinking: one set of cousins per year maybe. It was very special.
- I resiliently maintained a relationship with a business-contact even though I felt left-down, hurt, rejected, a failure. They had been one of my key clients in 2014 and up until November 2015 I had no business from them at all. Right throughout the year I kept saying to myself, no, that’s enough now, you are pathetically maintaining this contact and getting a door slammed in your face, move on. But, something small inside me, held on, because I knew it was worth keeping the relationship alive. And I was right, a lovely contract landed right on time for December!
- I moved out of my comfort zone and embraced the advice often given by successful entrepreneurs: ‘say yes first off, then figure out how to do it’. So I said yes, even when I was nervous and sceptical. I said yes to delivering training for a company based in Luxembourg (a long way from Ireland); I said yes to researching and writing for a HR database for SMEs; I said yes to helping a colleague take Minutes at meetings; I said yes to training administration work; I said yes to travel and working with a new Training Provider located outside of my locality; I said yes to coaching very senior executives at Board level, which previously I would have deemed not in my remit; I said yes to delivering training workshops in new areas such as Customer Experience, Working in the Global Environment and Cultural Diversity.
- I expanded my network of contacts both virtually and also face-to-face by adopting a mixed approach including LinkedIN, Blogging and Web Site, a little on Twitter and Facebook, email marketing combined with attending meetings with CIPD, IITD/UCC and Cork Network. I am not great at the old face-to-face networking thing, it is quite daunting to be honest even for an extravert like me. And I guess most people feel the same. I took the sage advice of trying to be generous, kind and supportive of others: of listening and seeking to understand what they need and then offering to help them if it were right and if not, then just shutting up unless asked. Also, I followed up immediately with any new contacts I made and any old acquaintances I reconnected with. I have now met a wide variety of people who are totally interesting, so diverse and I have to say an absolute pleasure to get to know.
- Now, for an interesting one, I finally embraced my grey hair (well enhanced grey hair I suppose). I spent most of the second half of 2015 trying to find a solution to grey hair that did not involve chemicals. Sadly I discovered in July that I now have a severe allergy to permanent hair dye. Having availed of the stuff for many, many years due to an inherited early grey-hair condition, I now find myself unable to dye my hair permanently any more. Mr. Google told me that there is no hope (all permanent dyes contain chemicals of some sort or other) beyond some new scientific discoveries around reversing grey hair to its natural state. So, until the FDA/IMB approve that idea, I have finally embraced my new state. I must now change the photo on my online presence: that will be something I will address for 2016: equality in all things, especially between online and reality!
So, wow, my heart is soaring, I feel so much more positive (and it’s not just the coffee, although that helps!), I achieved a lot in 2015 and am looking forward to further achievements and changes, for 2016: to think positively, look to my strengths, stretch myself and say ‘Yes’ even more often.
And my gift to you for 2016 is this: be true to yourself, be kind to others and keep moving forward beyond your comfort zone.
Happy New Year.
Anne Marie Crowley, based in Cork, Ireland is a free-lance Coach and Trainer in the field of behavioural change for individuals and business
Anne Marie Crowley is the founder of Crowley Personal and Business Change.