Written by Alexandra Kessler.
Alexandra is a be.boosted fellow, and a member of Team Seoul 2015.
Learn how to support her and all other team members here.
Your support is greatly appreciated!
A journey of a thousand steps starts with the first step, they say. And, given the current time of year, there is one journey of similar magnitude that many of us have in common: New Year’s resolutions and the journey of following through. On second thought, however, what is almost as common as the making of resolutions is their breaking. Who of us has not started a new year with the motivation to change a particular habit, or maybe to create a new one, to reach a certain goal, or to do more of something, only to find that resolution a distant memory just weeks later?
We do know that a magic force dwells in all beginnings - and precisely this magic, this initial motivation, is what makes us take that first step of our journey of a thousand steps. But what happens after that first step? Where is our map, what is our route? How do we deal with roadblocks and hassles along the way - with deadlines that force us to set priorities differently, with more pleasurable opportunities that arise, or simply sheer lack of motivation? It was precisely these questions we addressed in our workshop on "Change Leadership" with our premium partner Allianz on December 16th. Taking a closer look at personal change, change in teams and change in society, all participants were warmly invited to bring an own personal goal to the workshop. This could then be planned in detail, taking into account roadblocks and tying in this goal with long-term goals in life.
So what is the secret to following through? Let us consider a formula of motivation, willpower, planning and reflecting. Put simply, without motivation, there is no direction – so without it, all of the willpower in the world and even the most detailed plan would be for naught. Without the will to actually do something, motivation is not more than an honorable intention. Without a plan, even the best of motivation and willpower will be undirected and scattered (as Churchill once noted, failing to plan means planning to fail). Add self-reflection to this list of essentials, as to not have goals that are detached or only loosely related to one's overall aims in life, and the chances are quite high that the goal will be achieved. Therefore, we focused on exactly these factors: Motivation, volition (i.e. willpower - including making plans) and self-reflection.
To understand our motivation better, we can ask ourselves what makes us genuinely happy. What was the happiest day in our life so far - and what made it so special? How do we picture our ideal life in ten years? And, tying together past and future, what are things that we do that make us happy? What do others compliment us for? What is it that makes us forget time and space over being so immersed in it? Knowing what drives us then allows us to have clarity and a sense of purpose in our willpower, which can be directed subsequently. For that, we can use a simple method to make our goals more achievable: Setting them SMARTly - i.e. making them specific, measureable, attainable, realistic, and timely.
Then, we need to give thought to what obstacles may arise: Thinking of several possible and realistic challenges and having a plan for action for every single challenge is crucial to avoid getting caught off guard by everyday challenges. Furthermore, we can use many smaller strategies to facilitate reaching our goal. Possible strategies might include enrichment (making the goal more appealing, i.e. rewarding ourselves after achieving milestones) or using pressure to our advantage (e.g. signing up for a half marathon when deciding to run more often). And finally, we naturally evaluate our achievements constantly, however, there are more and less constructive ways of doing so. Comparing our achievements to a set of criteria (i.e. a pass grade in an exam) or the achievements of our peers is by far less motivating than comparing our current achievements to our past achievements. This allows us to perceive our progress and makes us independent of external judgments.
To conclude, when New Year's resolutions fail, it is indeed not because the fault was in our stars - it might have rather been in our motivation, willpower, planning or reflecting. And by gaining clarity over all four factors, it is not only the first step of that journey of a thousand steps we can take successfully, but also the remaining nine hundred and ninety-nine.
You have the chance to get some support in implementing your New Year's resolutions. Learn more!
What this is?
On this page, we share what we love: Great content that will help you to be more agile in any situation that requires communication, negotiation and leadership skills - may it be in a MUN or in your personal or professional life.
Just get in touch, and we will make sure to share what you are passionate about!
Looking for regular updates on what is happening here? Subscribe to our Facebook page to get all the news!
How to contribute?
Thank you so much for being willing to contribute! As little as EUR 1 (app. USD 1.15) - or whatever the equivalent in your local currency can make a difference and helps us keep this service up and running.
Of course there are also other ways to contribute:
Of course you can always wire us your donation at eMUN-fellows.net e.V. - Volksbank Kurpfalz - IBAN DE58 6729 0100 0065 0732 00
Your contributions are tax-deductible under German tax-legislation. Please do get in touch for more information.