What would it take to actually implement our New Year’s resolutions? Resolutions are fine. They are collections of good intentions. But when we actually want to implement resolutions, inward psychological change is required in order to follow through with outward behavioral change.
Simply put, our internal processes directly influence our behavior. The way we perceive a goal strongly influences the likelihood of that goal being achieved. Allow me to share a personal example. For many years I aspired to become a writer. I believed I had something to say; something to contribute which would help this world change for the better. And for years, I was successful…slightly. I produced an article here and there, along with the first few pages of many manuscripts. What I’m saying is that I REALLY wanted to be a writer, but I wasn’t actually writing much at all. Now, I’ve authored five books and am working on more. What changed?
As with all of life, there were many changes which led to major behavioral change. Yet, there’s one change which can help us all turn aspirations into habits. The title “Writer” had to go. Over time I realized that my perception of a writer’s life is a picture of passivity, tedium, boredom, and very little people interaction. So, predictably, when I tried to “be” a writer, I abandoned that project quickly, unconsciously steering myself away from an unattractive way to live. The change in my writing behavior came when I discovered the title “Content Creator.” I noticed I create content for written pieces, but also for many types of training events. My content creating was for sermons, blogs, seminars, workshops, keynotes, and so on. So I began to think of myself as a content creator rather than writer. My perception of a content creator is very active, engaged, and forward-moving. This internal psychological change opened the door to external behavior change.
As we pursue our aspirations for 2019, we will make more progress by stepping back and reflecting. What are our perceptions in the background which influence our behavior in the foreground? Making the time to identify our driving perceptions will save us time spent in frustration and disappointment when our resolutions go south.
So here in 2019, may our New Year’s aspirations become real life habits through changing our perceptions.