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  • Writer's pictureDaneen Skube, Ph.D.

Interpersonal Edge: New Year’s resolutions that work!


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Q: It’s that time of year again when I’m motivated to improve my performance and opportunities at work. I always start out with grand plans and end up binge watching my favorite shows. Is there any secrets you teach your clients on how to set resolutions that they’ll actually do?


A: Setting resolutions that work means ditching grand plans. A sure-fired way to get demoralized is to reach for the stars. Instead, think about the smallest improvements you could make. It’s fine to use your ambitious goal as a light house, but you need to start by creating a road map from where you currently are.


On one piece of paper write your magnificent plans. Now, on another piece of paper, write the smallest step you could take that would move you toward your goals. If you want to get a degree, why not start watching YouTube videos on educational topics?


Tiny steps won’t give you bragging rights at New Year parties, but they’ll put you on a new path. The reason most of us don’t make important changes is we believe we must have impressive plans. Admitting, “I’m reading a book on interpersonal skills,” sounds mundane but is easy. Stating, “I’ve decided to pursue a PhD,” is more impressive but hard.


The issue with grand plans is if they are so grand we tell a few people, get tired, and take a nap. Research has even discovered that the more people we tell about lofty goals the less likely we’ll achieve them. It turns out that talking about a goal reduces our motivation to take action.


Between doing and talking the activity of doing will definitely get you further. What matters isn’t how impressed others are, but the fact that you’re moving one step closer. Most successful people who enjoy their careers toiled away quietly doing small things for a long time.


There’s a popular myth that successful people rose effortlessly to the top of their industries. Their marketing people may wish you’d believe this idea. However, if you dig into anyone’s career that impresses you, you’ll find a mountain of tiny tasks done for years got them where they are today.


Some successful people enjoy presenting themselves as so exceptional they rode a rocket to the stars with zero effort. All this myth does is discourage everyone else from being willing to toil away in obscurity, doing mundane tasks until they achieve a breakthrough.


Honest, humble people will tell you it was hard work, took a long time, and they were lucky. Even Warren Buffet, the luminary financial expert, admits he was fortunate to be born with a specific skill set in a time that rewarded his abilities. He jokes that if he had been born in cave man days something would have eaten him since he is slow and not strong.


One huge reason to pick a career with tasks you enjoy is if you don’t enjoy the simple parts of a career you won’t stick around long enough to climb any ladder. Nobody starts at the top. Everyone starting out does unimpressive work as they learn their craft.


Imagine in 2023 that your New Year’s resolutions are the foundation of future success and be willing to pour the footings for a long, profitable career. Your willingness to do the simple everyday tasks is the only way anyone builds a quality career!


The last word(s)


Q: I feel inspired to be more productive this year and am trying to figure out my priorities. Is there one tip you give your clients to sort out what matters to them?


A: Yes, as Mahatma Gandhi, India’s spiritual and political leader in the early 20th century, clearly stated, “Action expresses priorities.” Observe what you do, not what you say you want to do.



Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker, also appears as the FOX Channel’s “Workplace Guru” each Monday morning. She’s the author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). You can contact Dr. Skube at www.interpersonaledge.com or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies. (C)2022 Interpersonal Edge. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.





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