To make New Year’s Resolutions or not to make them? Always the great and passionate debate this time of year. Which side are you on? On one hand, it can only be goodness to set some goals for 2018, right? On the other hand, the forced, artificial nature of the date makes me feel suddenly rebellious. Statistics are no help either. If you, like me have tried and failed (or “renegotiated” until next NYE) with your Resolutions, you’re in good company. Multiple studies estimate that only 10 – 20% of resolutions are achieved. The bad news is that there is no magic wand tied to any date or outside force that will make our dreams come true and our goals happen. The good news is that there is a sort of magic – in our hearts, that gives us the vision, the courage and the persistence to realize all of our dreams and goals. Whether you want to change a bad habit, make new, healthier choices or accomplish a big audacious goal in your life, true, sustainable, action starts and lives when we are resolute of heart. Resolute is defined as a spirit of purpose and determination of actions; when we have our Heartitude® Engaged[i] – the highly effective combination of committed heart and engaged mind. When we are resolute of heart no one and nothing can stop us. Remember a time when you were, deep in your heart, determined to make something happen? Have you ever tried to quit smoking for years only to quit forever on the day you brought your baby daughter home? Ever moved heaven and earth to help a friend in need? Ever failed at something and then come back even stronger and to a sweeter victory the second time? Or the third or tenth? Ever done more than you thought you ever could, doing work you loved with people you respected? If so, you have experienced your heartitude fully engaged! It’s your personal best practice model. You can’t DO resolute, you can only BE resolute and that comes from your heart.
You must step back from focusing on the action phase of the habits you want to change and the goals you want to accomplish and just think, be and feel. Resist that ever present need for action most of us feel at the beginning of the new year. Take time to look inside your heart to what really matters to you this year. With your heart as the fuel, you release your mind to develop a strategy and an action plan. Our minds are geared to respond with logic to the short term rewards of our actions – here’s a plan for change; oh wait, change is hard & uncomfortable; it doesn’t make sense to put ourselves at risk; let’s not do it. Our brains need the heart to stay connected to our deeper purpose. The heart gives us the hope and the energy to create positive change despite the setbacks we will always face. I made a resolution every year to write a book; the fourth year I got cancer and finally listened to the yearning of my heart. When I became resolute in my mission to offer whatever guidance I could to help put more heart into the workplace, I actually got it done. Your heart and mind need to work together to make the best decisions and relentlessly pursue what is right for you.
So, how do you “BE” resolute of heart? You must engage your Heartitude.® You will need to do two things that may be a bit (or several miles) outside your comfort zone. #1: Slow Down; and #2: Experience Your Emotions. We are used to life at a lightning pace, so much stimulus, so many responsibilities, so much to do. We need to stop doing, to just be still, to practice looking and listening to everything both around and inside of us. Leaders with Heartitude know that slowing their pace enough to reflect on their actions, understand their own emotions and show empathy for others actually speeds up the road to their ultimate success and happiness.
Heartitude Works: Tips for Being Resolute of Heart
- The first step is to give yourself the time to slow down. Make an appointment for “planning” & “reflecting.” If things are on our calendar, we do them. You keep appointments with others, why not schedule dedicated time with your most important self?
- Next is to give yourself something to do. The “to do” is to reflect on what you want. A structured plan will reinforce your feeling of accomplishing a tangible task.
- Write down the things most important to you right now. Rank them.
- What do you imagine will become important or more important to you in the next twelve months? Less?
- Make a list of all the things you spent time on in the past 24 hours. Analyze how much of your time you spent on your top 5 high importance items.
- What would you like to spend more time on?
- What would you like to spend less time on?
- What do you need to stop doing to make the time for the important things?
- Practice doing one thing at a time. Especially when you are with another person, put down your phone, quiet your inner dialogue and just focus on the present moment and the interaction you are in. Think of yourself as a reporter trying to observe and absorb everything you can about the experience.
- Schedule time to listen to your staff, your friends, your spouse and your children. Pay special attention to what emotions they are expressing. Consider how understanding their ‘frame of heart” can help you build a relationship, engage better performance or achieve your important goals.
Experience Your Emotions
- Use your list of the 3 most important things to you now and in the future. Close your eyes and get those people, places, goals, accomplishments in mind.
- What feelings do you experience when you immerse yourself in the future “memory?”
- What is different about you now that you have all that you wanted?
- What thoughts, beliefs and feelings about yourself are keeping you from taking action.
- How do you need to think & feel about yourself to make it happen?
- Write Your Ideal Eulogy. It is your last day on earth.
- Read it out loud. What feelings does it evoke? Positive and negative/
- When you feel ready, share your feelings with someone you trust. Put your emotions into words and be as specific as possible. Feel happy? Determine whether you are pleased, elated, cheerful, optimistic. Angry? Are you annoyed, enraged, disappointed? Feel fearful? Are you stressed, frustrated, anxious? The more specific, the more useful.
- Identify the top 3 things that make you feel happy and energized.
- What drains your enthusiasm?
- Collect data on your emotions and work to expand your vocabulary. There are hundreds of “emotion” words, we use just a fraction of them. The emotion named is the emotion available.
- Reflect on what emotions you are most comfortable with and which you are less comfortable with.
- Consider which emotions are useful and valuable to get more comfortable with.
- What negative emotions do you need to acknowledge? What are some appropriate ways of expressing them?
- What positive emotions do you want to express more often? How might it benefit you and others? How can you express appropriately?
The best news about being resolute of heart is that it works whether you are “Resolute about resolutions” or whether you’re a “Heck No, I refuse” kind of human. The magic is digging deep into your heart’s desire and following it through to the actions that move you forward to your ultimate success.
[i] Ruth Rooney. Heartitude Works, Mastering the Heart of Leadership & High Performance. San Diego, Crystal Pointe Media, 2017.
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What engages your Heartitude most fully? How has being resolute of heart helped you survive, thrive or succeed? Go to heartitudeworks.com/blog and leave a comment to be entered into a weekly drawing to win Heartitude Works Swag!
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Here’s to your Heartitude!