New Year Resolutions
‘Good resolutions are simply cheques that people draw on a bank where they have no account.’ Oscar Wilde
It’s that time of year again when stuffed with food and drink that we didn’t need, yet thoroughly enjoyed, that we return to work refreshed and full of optimism for the year ahead. We may possibly also have made a New Year’s resolution or two.
Many people like this time of year to think about what they are going to do, change or improve in their lives.
In going about this we need to recognise that as a human we act, feel, and perform in accordance with what we perceive to be true not just about the world around us but also, our self.
What we need to understand is that the mind is a powerful thing but unfortunately, it is far from honest.
Many people will go no further and give up reading this article here; they believe that they are pretty perfect and good at what they do and can see no need to change or look to improve.
These people need to appreciate that everything that we see, hear, and think is ‘filtered’ in our mind by our beliefs, for it is these beliefs that convey to us a sense of ‘what is’. Our beliefs help us to interpret and make sense of ‘our world’, yet we selectively perceive only a part of the total world around us.
We make assumptions that are consistent with our beliefs and ignore or ‘discount’ those that are not. As a consequence many of our beliefs may not be factual even though to us they may be ‘the truth’ and will vary in how absolute they are. This is, for instance, why many people believe that they are the ‘finished product’ and not a work in progress.
Recognising that our beliefs are our best but often flawed thinking about something, someone, or our self, limits us in how we behave, act, live our life, and crucially in this context, how we relate to and work with others.
If we are going to be more effective and productive in what we do in both our life and work (and why wouldn’t we want to?) we need to appreciate that we are not a world on our own but are reliant upon people around us if we are to be both happy and successful.
Inter-personal relationships come in basically four categories: family, friends, romantic partners and
colleagues at work. No matter which category, they are complex for within each of these are a mix of expectations and perceptions where the beliefs by both parties are ‘filtered’ as to how we see ourselves and others see us.
The three main filters comprise of:
Deletions – occur where we ‘delete’ some of the information available to us by ignoring or leaving out a portion of the data. Given the sheer amount of information – ‘stimuli’ – that confronts us each and every second of the day we can only consciously process a small proportion if we are to remain well-balanced. It is therefore important to ensure that we don’t ‘delete’ the useful bits.
Distortions – here we chose, primarily unconsciously, to alter, misrepresent, mistake, or twist information in order for it to fit with the mental image – the model of the world – we currently hold. It is important to recognise that not all distortions are necessarily un-helpful, some can be useful.
Generalisations – these are broad statements that are not entirely true (they may contain a deletion or a distortion or both) because they oversimplify situations, stereotype, or make general conclusions without recognising the exceptions to ‘our rules’. Similar to distortions, generalisations can be a mix of both helpful and un-helpful information with much learning in our life actually taking place through the use of generalisations.
‘Filling in’ in the deletions, understanding the distortions, and recognising the generalisations that we and others are making through our interactions and relationships is the foundation for forming meaningful resolutions – Wilde’s ‘cheques’ – through which we can change and develop our relationships.
The ‘bank with no account’ that Wilde remarks upon is held by ‘the branch’ of self-discipline; an account that many are unable to draw upon to turn a resolution into an action, a change, or an improvement. Awareness is key to opening this account helpful for the joint account here is ‘self-awareness’ – that of ‘being aware’.
With that thought, research suggests that New Year resolutions begun on the 1st January are most likely to be given up by the 12th January and importantly, a habit change – most often a resolution – can take 66 days of commitment to fully take effect.
Smart people – and wouldn’t you like to join them – don’t make resolutions, for they are fully aware of Wilde’s observation. These smart people make firm commitments to themselves that they keep and particularly to other people whom they know will hold them to account.
Why don’t you make a commitment now and sign up for our next training course to improve your interpersonal effectiveness and collaboration with others as few if many people have ever had any training in this vitally important behavioural skill: Our training dates @ CICI (leadersmeets.com)
 British Dietetic Association (2017) research reported in Sunday Times, 31st December, 2017.
 Gardner, B., Lally, P., & Wardle, J. (2012) ‘Making health habitual: The psychology of ‘habit formation’ and general practice’, British Journal of General Practice, 62, pp 664-666
‘Introduction to Collaboration and Collaborative Working’
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In a recent CICI survey (September 2023) some 75% of respondents from across the Constriction sector reported that ‘they had not received any training in collaboration or working collaboratively’.
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