Best Holiday Wishes from the Daymark Group! As we approach the Holiday Season and New Year, many begin to review and reflect on this year while planning and making resolutions for the next. I have often wondered why resolutions fall by the wayside, and how we can positively support each other for success. I heard Harvard Professor Robert Kegan address this topic at a recent Institute of Coaching conference.
The brain is tricky, he explained. No matter how sincerely we want to break a habit or set a goal such as weight loss, we have an inherent immunity to change. Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey explain that we’re physiologically “lured” into doing what we’ve always done, no matter how strong our intentions. And yet, some people do succeed! We all know ex-smokers, nail biters and formerly obese people.
Kegan explained that you cannot fix an adaptive problem with a technical solution. A diet, for example, is a technical solution to being overweight: To lose weight, eat less and exercise more. But the problem is more complex. Unless you change your mindset (an adaptive solution), you won’t sustain new habits.
According to Ron Heifetz, author and leadership expert, one of the biggest mistakes executives make is applying a technical solution to an adaptive problem. It doesn’t matter how much you change what you do. If you don’t shift the way you think, you’ll revert to doing things as you’ve always done them.
Why would any intelligent human being say he’s committed to doing one thing and then do the opposite? For that matter, why do we set goals and let them slide? Why is it so hard to “walk our talk”? After all, no one feels good after a relapse. We don’t set out to fail.
The answer lies in a concept called competing commitments. Once we understand and accept that we often have conflicting desires, it’s easier to find workarounds that help us meet our goals.
So when you set out to achieve change, write down your goal. Then next to it, write down all the things you do (or don’t do) that go against accomplishing this goal. Some of these make perfect sense. There are many good reasons we don’t follow through with what we say we want.
These are our competing commitments. And until you take a hard look at these, you’re more likely to go back to doing what you’ve always done.
For an in depth tool to help you work through your commitments Please visit the daymarkgroup to read further and gain some insight into your own patterns.