As a FranklinCovey Consultant and Facilitator, I have the honor and privilege of working at the best Leadership and Behavioral Change company in the world. Our mission is simply this: We Enable Greatness in People and Organizations Everywhere. When working with the thousands of clients I encounter as a FranklinCovey behavioral change expert, a question I frequently encounter from clients is; how do I change a behavior, and make it stick? The answer I give them is to start by accessing their current paradigms.
A paradigm is defined as the way we see the world. In other words, the lens through which we perceive the world around us, or how we process our environment on a second to second basis. It’s our mental map for interpreting all of the events that take place in our lives.
Paradigms can serve us well and help us lead productive and truly effective lives, or they can work against our ability to be effective and hold us back from achieving our wildest dreams, sabotaging our every attempt at getting better. It’s up to each of us to continually access our paradigms and decide if they are in fact positive or negative forces in our lives. It’s important for us all to know that we, as human beings, have the ability re-script and change the current direction of our lives, in order to set ourselves on a path to happiness and fulfillment personally and professionally.
To help us understand the process of altering our paradigms and changing habits in our lives, I’ll refer you to the below diagram of the See, Do, Get Cycle. How we SEE the world, or our PARADIGMS (beliefs and mindset), determines what we DO, or our BEHAVIORS, and our behaviors determine what we GET, or our RESULTS.
You’ll notice that this cycle moves in a clockwise fashion, with one concept feeding the next, and all rolling back up to reinforce the SEE or our PARADIGM. This can be a vicious unproductive cycle that holds us back, or a very productive and beneficial cycle that propels us forward to new heights of productivity in all areas of our life.
Our paradigms are affected by many things in our lives. What we watch on television, what we read, our education, religion, prejudices, biases, etc., basically all of the data that enters into our brains on a regular basis, to include first and foremost, something that most of us take for granted; our language. The internal self-talk, AND the external language we use on a regular basis has a profound effect on our belief systems and how we live our lives. Medical research using MRI technology has shown time and time again, how profoundly our language affects our ability to achieve greatness in our lives.
That takes me back to the title of this article. How to make your New Year’s resolution(s) stick. The reason most New Year’s Resolutions don’t last, is because once people decide they want to make some changes in their life, they move directly to changing the “DO” part of the cycle, or their behaviors, which is a great way to start, however the mistake they make is doing this without first changing their PARADIGMs, or belief systems.
Dr. Stephen R. Covey so eloquently stated “If you want to make minor changes in your life, work on your behavior. But if you want to make significant, quantum breakthroughs, work on your paradigms.”
For example. Let’s say you want to make the New Year’s resolution of getting to the gym, working out, and getting in shape. Let’s also assume that you have practiced some effective goal setting techniques, perhaps from FranklinCovey’s Five Choices to Extraordinary Productivity or the Four Disciplines of Execution, and going to the gym and partaking in an exercise program was going to be a productive part of your overall health goals for the upcoming year.
You find a gym, visit with a salesperson, and sign up for a full membership. You’re excited and ready to start this new, healthy phase of your life, and decide that Saturday morning is going to be the magical day that will set the tone for the rest of your life. You start off strong, and after a couple of days, weeks, or even months, you’re back to the old routine.
To make lasting behavioral changes and to truly make your resolutions stick, you must:
- Be Open to Change
- Be Intentional and Aware of Your Self-Talk
- Learn Everything You Can About Your Goal
- Focus on Your Circle of Influence
- Power Through Setbacks
Learn more about the timeless principles in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by registering for a complimentary webcast.
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