Tag Archives: Resolutions

It's Time to Ditch New Year's Resolutions. Do This Powerful 25-Minute Exercise Instead
January 3, 2019 12:01 pm|Comments (0)

I have always found new year resolutions difficult (with the exception of Woody Guthrie’s beautiful 1942 version). I prefer writing manifestos when it comes to the future.

I wrote about the Manifesto Exercise around this time last year. Denny Post, CEO of Red Robin, shared it on Facebook at the end of this year, recommending it to her friends as a different way of doing their new year resolutions. That inspired me to do mine, below, and update it with some new categories.

“Ayse Birsel authored this piece last year in INC – it’s a practical, efficient and inclusive approach to setting yourself up for the New Year!” Denny Post

The Manifesto Exercise will help you think like a designer about your work for 2019.

I recommend that you do one alone and then do it again with your team. Remember you’ll be thinking like a designer–with optimism, looking at the big picture, and with empathy for yourself (and each other, if you’re doing it with your team).

Ground rules are the same as last year: Give yourself 25 minutes total. If you run out of time, take a short break before you complete it. Speed is part of the game in that it helps you go with your gut and leaves less room for unnecessary self-judgment. Remember to do it playfully, because when we’re playful we’re like kids, fearless and open to learning by doing.

Time: 25 minutes, sometime in early January 2019.

A. DECONSTRUCT:

Map out your work life in 2018 across the following 6 categories (see my diagram and use it as a cheat-sheet). 

Note: This year I found it useful to make loose notes for my deconstruction, adding items as things popped into my head, before sitting down to do it all in one go.

1. Emotion: Start with how you feel in this moment. Then think back to how you felt in 2018 and how you want to feel in 2019. List your feelings as they come to mind in one column. 

Note: Emotions at work often run in opposite pairs–love/hate, success/failure, having a sense of purpose/feeling lost.”  

2. Information: Think about what you know about your work going into 2019. This can be your salary, the size of your team, the number of projects you’re working on. List tangible information or data in this column.

3. Constraints: What holds you back you back or limits you? Your own constraints, like procrastinating and leaving things to the last minute, and constraints that you cannot control, like budgets. 

4. Joy: What brings you joy at work? Thinking about what makes you happy will help you think about what matters to you at work and will help you to be more intentional about increasing your instances of joy.

Note: Last year Opportunity was #4. I intentionally moved it to #6, wanting you to circle through joy and gratitude (#5) first, to inspire your opportunities.

5. Gratitude: What were you grateful for in 2018? While joy is more personal, gratitude is often in relation to others. It’s about getting the relation between ourselves and others right, one of the three foundations of happiness according to Jonathan Haidt, social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership at New York University’s Stern School of Business.

6. Opportunity: What are your opportunities as you start in 2019? These are things that align with your values, purpose and personal growth. They’re positive, exciting, empowering.

Tip: Try turning your constraints into opportunities (for example, as one of our clients put it, many voices and opinions can be a constraint but it is also an opportunity.)

Note: Last year #5 was Out-of-the-box Opportunity (OOBO) for big dreams and leaps, “revolutions” versus “evolutions”. This year they’re inside the Opportunity column (See my OOBO in my diagram, daring me to think big.) 

B. REFLECT:

Reflect on your deconstruction, above. Deconstruction helps you break a complex idea into its parts to make it more manageable. It visualizes your life at the cross-section of 2018 and 2019 so that you can decide what to keep, what to discard and what to change. 

Now do your own dot-voting, picking one thing that rises to the top in each column. Go with your gut. You can put a star next to it (I underlined mine in red.) These are your 6 key ingredients for 2019. 

C. WRITE YOUR MANIFESTO:

Your Manifesto is your declaration for 2019 based on the top 6 ingredients you chose above. Write it by combining them together in a paragraph:

Your Manifesto = Emotion + Information + Constraint + Joy + Gratitude + Opportunity.

Once you have your manifesto, gather your team–this can be over breakfast or lunch–to do the exercise together and to share your manifestos. Based on each other’s manifesto, talk about what you need help with, what you can do together, and who can be your mentors, mentees or an accountability partners to collaborate with to bring your vision to life in 2019.

We use this tool to shift with our clients’ mindsets from problems to opportunities, from feeling stuck to action, with great success. The process is almost mathematical in its simple formula yet vision-creating in its results. It’s a key component of Design Quotient (DQ), our practice to teach leaders how to think like a designer and imagine tomorrow based on what you know today.

Wishing you a happy and creative 2019.

Tech

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Failing Your New Years Resolutions? Tony Robbins Has the Perfect Quote to Get You Back on Track
January 31, 2018 6:02 pm|Comments (0)

By late January, most of us have abandoned our New Year’s resolutions. It’s a statistical fact. Resolutions can get a bad rap. The problem isn’t making resolutions, but rather the resolutions we make. They require too much growth and, often, too much pressure for us to handle in a short period of time.

It’s like signing up for a marathon before you even learned how to jog.

In making my own resolutions (yes, I did, too), I have leaned on a great quote from Tony Robbins’s documentary I Am Not Your Guru:

Sound familiar? Here is why it resonates.

Focus on the long game

Concentrating on long-term growth has two immediate benefits: It emphasizes strategy and it gives flexibility.

If you resolve to become a healthier weight in the next 30 days, then your mind will automatically start looking for the hack: What is the latest diet trend? How can I lose as much as possible as quickly as possible?

It becomes about speed rather than strategy.

By stretching out your goal to, say, a three or five year plan, then you’re focusing on methods that are sustainable rather than quick.

The other benefit is that you are much gentler on yourself in the process, making it much more likely that you will actually reach your goal. Going after a goal is much like the stock market: It never moves in a straight line but, through the ups and downs, it almost always ends higher than where it started. Obsessing on short-term gains is akin to being a modern-day Bitcoin investor. The dramatic emotional toll may outweigh any real gains.

Balance the short and the long

One good method is to set your long-range goal, then work backwards to figure out what increments you need to hit at what time. The increments create the milestones and those become the metrics that you measure.

The good part? Those milestones feel more achievable, which means you’ll be more likely to stay motivated to reach them – and celebrate with victories and gratitude when you do.

Tech

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