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Entries for the 'Resolution Recovery' Category

When the Means Have Become Ends

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

If you have a focused, hard-driving working style, it can be difficult to see alternatives that merit consideration.

In this week’s discussion of our 4th podcast on recovering from bad New Year’s resolutions, we’re looking at those who are disciplined and intentional to the point of rigidity. They’re getting amazing things done, but have become slaves to their methodology.

What we’re looking for are ways to turn the equation around and get back in touch with the original attraction that motivated the New Year’s resolution in the first place. The “means” have become the “ends,” and we want to recover our ability to identify and stay in touch with the goal (i.e. the original “ends”) we’re shooting for.

The tendency to switch attention to our means and methods can blind us to the impact our actions are having on others. Our heightened focus comes at the expense or our peripheral vision.

To focus on the means is like trying to drive straight by looking at the lines on the road. There is a limit to what you can observe by doing that. To focus on the ends is to direct your eyes down the road to where you want to end up. The steering takes care of itself and your peripheral vision is freed up to notice exponentially more.

Enhancing your peripheral vision doesn’t necessitate becoming less focused, but more. The difference is whether your focus is on the means or the ends.

Catch up on the entire series on Bad Resolution Recovery.

Listen In -> Bad Resolution Recovery #4: The Rigid Disciplinarian

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

Are you so focused on the implementation of your New Year’s resolution that you’re not enjoying its benefits anymore?

Our final podcast conversation in this series addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the Rigid Disciplinarian.

To give this person credit, he or she can make things happen. Of strong will, they can make difficult choices and implement new patterns, behaviors and/or practices.

On the down side, though, this person often becomes the unwitting slave to the methodology. The plan has taken over. They lose their ability to use discretion and nuance complex situations. Their intense commitment can blind them to their impact on others.

Is this you? Listen in.

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Listen In -> Bad Resolution Recovery #3: Half-Hearted Intenders

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

“Oh, did another year go by before I tackled my New Year’s resolution?”

Our third resolution maker is the “half-hearted intender.” This person may love the annual tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions, but ends up returning to life as usual with little change to show for the exercise.

In this week’s podcast discussion, Claudia and I appreciate the strengths of the easy-going, take-life-as-it-comes type of person and offer a couple of suggestions for moving forward on your resolutions without having to morph into some sort of driven maniac.

Listen in.

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When Realism Morphs Into Cynicism

Monday, February 18th, 2008

A strength of the cynic is their grounding in reality. Sure, maybe to a fault. But let’s not lose this gem no matter how hidden by the crusty exteriors.

When it comes to wanting change (e.g. making a New Year’s resolution), the resolution cynic actually has the most potential for choosing something within reach.

The disappointment with resolutions may come more from buying into the cultural norm of setting lofty aspirations, rather than from any flaw in the practice of an annual self review.

If you are fed up with resolutions, you may find it helpful to return to your roots, so to speak. What will work? What can I act on today? What are the obstacles and how will I address them?

Instead of giving up and blaming the resolution process when things don’t work out, trust your intuition and take a step back into a more grounded reality. It’s a harsh place, but you are comfortable there and would benefit from approaching change one harsh step at a time.

What do you think?

Listen and participate in the entire discussion on Bad Resolution Recovery here.

Listen In -> Bad Resolution Recovery #2: “Don’t Bother” Cynics

Saturday, February 16th, 2008

“New Year’s Resolutions are bunk!” (Usually screamed in even more colorful language.)

At the other end of the spectrum, there are those of us who have given up on New Year’s resolutions. “Why set myself up for failure?” we ask ourselves.

In this week’s podcast interview, we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the attitudes of this group of cynics.

The risk, of course, of not scheduling a regular season of self-reflection and change is that in our busy lives we may not get to it at all. That’s a big downside! We may have thrown the proverbial baby out with the bath water.

Join us in the discussion. I think you’ll be surprised at what we can learn from the “Don’t Bother” cynics!

Listen in.

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Noble Ambition or Self-Sabotage?

Monday, February 11th, 2008

We are currently discussing how New Year’s resolutions go wrong. It’s February and we’ve already failed, given up or forgotten the noble aspiration we chose just last month.

In this week’s podcast chat, Claudia and I discuss one type of resolution-maker, those who shoot for sweeping change. On the one hand, I want to tip my hat to those with high aspirations and aggressive ambitions. What a great problem to have, if you can even call it that.

The problem emerges when we observe (if we can take an honest look at ourselves) that we keep falling short of our ambitious goals. Do we make adjustments that will serve us better, or do we keep doing the same things (in the name of determination, of course)?

Today I want to wonder aloud whether the practice of setting out-of-reach New Year’s resolutions may not be a subtle form of self-sabotage.

Are we possibly shooting beyond our reach, so we can at least feel good about the scale of our ambition without actually risking failure at a more modest level? After all, if we fail to reach the moon, at least we were shooting for something impressive. If we fail to make a small adjustment, then we are without excuse and it hurts more.

But by limiting ourselves to out-of-reach goals, we inadvertently sabotage our own chances to effect meaningful change over time. We create a reach-and-fail cycle instead of a step-and-achieve cycle.

Believing that a big reach is better than a small step, we set ourselves up for failure rather than achievement. I say let’s set ourselves up for achievement and look for the steps toward change we can take today.

Listen to the entire conversation here. Or listen to the most recent podcast by clicking on the player in the right column.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh?

Listen In -> Bad Resolution Recovery #1: Sweeping Changers

Friday, February 8th, 2008

Probably the main reason New Year’s resolutions go awry is that we take on too much at once. We shoot for sweeping change.

Noble as these aspirations are, they often result in discouraging us. Anything less than full implementation gets experienced as failure. Resolutions become not fun real fast as we swing between inspirational goal and deflating reality.

In this week’s podcast interview, Claudia and I discuss alternatives to this all-or-nothing approach to change. Consider incremental adjustments that take you one practical and achievable step at a time toward your admirable aspiration.

Join the discussion. Listen in now.

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Instead of “Resolution” try “Adjustment”

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, we tend to think in all-or-nothing categories. Success or failure. Treasured annual tradition or wasted exercise in self-flagellation.

What Claudia and I are trying to do in our current podcast series, is help us find ways to keep the benefits of the tradition but lose the baggage associated with its impracticalities.

It is a good practice to periodically pause and take a look at oneself. Think through what’s working well and where adjustments would be appropriate. The new year provides a convenient calendar point around which to schedule such a review.

Instead of throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water, join us in this process of customizing the resolution making and keeping process to fit your working style.

Click the audio player in the right column to listen now. Or subscribe to the audio feed to receive each recording as soon as it is posted.

Listen In -> Recovering From Bad New Year’s Resolutions

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

Now that January is about over, is the same true for your New Year’s resolutions? All those bold decisions, ambitious plans, and good intentions from 4 weeks ago… If they’re scattered around your feet as just so much discarded failure or discouragement, then this is the podcast series for you!

Claudia Rempel is back in the studio with her flair for getting to the core of issues. Instead of getting caught in a pattern of make-a-resolution -> break-a-resolution each year, we discuss ways to redeem this tradition and turn it into a useful change tool.

In this series we will look at four types of resolution makers:

  1. The Sweeping Changers
  2. The Don’t Bother Cynics
  3. The Half-Hearted Intenders
  4. The Rigid Disciplinarians

Each approach has a downside that sabotages our desire for change. But each approach has an upside that we don’t want to lose track of either. Join the discussion as we have some fun getting inside why change is so hard for us.

Listen in.

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