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Now, I’m really going to do it!

‘I relapsed into my old habits for a while, but on December 31st, I will stop smoking.’ While we are chatting, my colleague lights up his second cigarette in less than one hour. What is it about all those solemn promises we make on New Year’s Eve? It seems as if everyone wants to change the world, but most of those ambitious intentions are petering out.

How many people have you heard swearing, when uncorking a champagne bottle, that they intended to spend more time with their family? ‘No more long working days at the office! I must start working more efficiently. And yes, I’m really going to listen to my employees. I’m going to work out three times a week from now on!’ It seems as if the sky is the limit!

However, on January 1st, you wake up with a hangover and a bunch of good intentions. What to do now? It is not easy to stop smoking and you can’t combine all this physical exercise with your family life. This is the beginning of a knock-out race which will last for 365 days. From time to time, we have to adjust our intentions: ‘No problem. Next week, I will be running my legs off on that treadmill and one cigarette after diner won’t make any difference anyway’.

Before you will realize, you will have given up on all your good intentions. Life is a process of trial and error, but relapsing into your old habits causes stress and frustration. This is why I will give you a few tips I often discuss during my coaching sessions.

  1. Mojo! If you intend to read only one book this year, you should definitely read ‘Mojo’ by Marshall Goldsmith. {mosimage}Goldsmith describes Mojo as ‘that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside’.
    He drags you along and explains how to find a healthy balance between what he calls ‘long-term benefit’ (meaning) and ‘short-term satisfaction’ (happiness). Finding this balance is a challenge, but maintaining it is probably even more difficult.

  2. Intentions are often doomed to remain intentions because they are not realistic. Watch out for euphoria: be ambitious, but don’t rush things. By defining some concrete goals, you will have more chances to succeed: proceed step by step, but on a daily basis!

    If you want to stay fit, start jogging by sticking to a running program, but don’t expect that you will be able to participate in a marathon soon. If your ambitions are unrealistic, you will get discouraged and probably quit. Why wouldn’t you try it together with other people? You could practise a sport in group or decide to come home early one day a week in order to have dinner with your partner.

  3. Stick to your planning! I advise you to pin down in your agenda the things which are really important to you. Inform your employees about the fact that these things are ‘non-negotiable’. You could, for instance, pin down two hours a month to talk with your direct employees. Perhaps, one of your employees could help you to coach your team?

  4. Evaluate the situation each month. What have you achieved? Evaluate yourself and adjust where necessary. It is very nice to do this in group: in your private life (together with your partner or friends) or at work (together with your colleagues). Teamwork leads to extra motivation because union is strength. It is fun to stimulate and encourage each other!
tèn company wishes you a happy Mojo year!


By Herman van Herterijck

"my ambition is to put the importance of pragmatic and continuous self-coaching on the agenda of current business leaders"

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