It’s the time of year when most of us decide to do some things differently. There’s something powerful about a new year as we assess our lives, our business, and even our relationships with others. The prospect of a new year lends itself to a fresh start. The reality is many of the intentions to behave differently in the New Year will not result in sustainable change. To really change what we do, we must change how we think.
Let’s take the ever popular lose weight and get in shape resolution. Anyone who’s been to a gym in the first few weeks of a new year can tell by the unusually large crowd that a wave of good intention has swept through the masses. By February or March, the newcomers are often nowhere to be found. For the most part, what we work to change are the activities. What we tell ourselves is that we should be in better shape; we should get to the gym. Talk to someone who works out consistently and what you often find is that they want to be in the gym and working out is something they enjoy rather than endure. To sustain new behaviors, we must adopt the mindset of those who are already consistent at that behavior.
Our mindset isn’t something we are stuck with; it’s something we created for ourselves through repetition over time. We can change it the same way.
The same is true in business and for business leaders. Leaders who bring out the best in others always seem to believe that they have people who are capable of more. Leaders who believe there is a bright future ahead for the business spend time helping others see potential for success.
The real question as we enter a new year and set goals and aspirations is not, “how do I need to behave differently in order to accomplish more?” It should be, “how do I need to think differently?” Decide how you need your business to change for the coming year. Understand specifically what changes you need to make as a leader to help it make those shifts. Then, examine how you need to think and what you need to focus on in order to operate in that way.
You may even find it useful to seek out people who operate that way consistently and learn from them. Don’t make the mistake that most people do when they seek to duplicate success; don’t focus only on the actions or the so-called “best practices” that the successful person is exhibiting. Focus on the mindset they have as they put those actions into play. Duplicating that will not only help you change your current behaviors, but sustain them as well.
This year as you seek to lead differently, accomplish more, or achieve something different, create the mindset for yourself that will help you get there. Thinking like last year will get you last year’s actions and last year’s results. If you want something different, you will have to think differently to achieve it.