It’s day four of the New Year.
Raise your hand if you’ve managed to keep your resolution and not slip within the first 100 hours of 2017?
I can’t say I’ve done perfectly with mine.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how we all pick and keep our New Year’s resolutions. This is a bit weird for me to share because it’s an unusual goal, but my 2017 resolution is to treat my feet better.
As you can imagine, I travel a lot managing Pivot Journeys. And I’m a runner. I’m also a New Yorker, which means I walk pretty much everywhere.
All of that means I need my feet to be in really good shape. And they haven’t been for the last few years. I have a lot of pain in them from time to time, gotten lots of cortisone shots, and I’ve broken a toe twice in the last few years, which led to me to stop running for over four months recently.
I went to physical therapy for a few months and have been getting better. But going to PT means you have to take the time for the session, as well as the time in between sessions for different exercises. Toe curls, foot rolling, and ankle strengthening exercises. Ugh boring and hard to find motivation for it. But my feet are too important to everything I do to not make this a priority.
Yesterday, I was thinking about how when I work with clients on their career goals, I always start with helping them understand and think through their unique talents and strengths so that they can use them to make the career change process less painful or overwhelming.
I’m often on a soapbox about how great the Gallup StrengthsFinder tool is because it gives you language and actionable strategies to understand and put your greatest strengths to work.
So yesterday I realized as simple as it sounds now…
We’d all be better off picking goals that relate to our unique talents. And we should go about achieving them first and foremost by using those strengths.
Let’s say your goal is to find a new job in 2017. Depending on what kind of person you are, and the way that you approach problems and challenges, you’re going to go about finding a new job differently than someone who has a different set of strengths.
But if you put more time and energy into the actions that play most closely to your strengths you’ll likely struggle less and be more successful in your path towards achieving your goals.
For example, if you’ve got a lot of relationship building skills, you might find yourself doing a lot of networking and informational interviews in your quest to find your next position.
But, if you’ve got a lot of strategic thinking skills, you might find yourself analyzing the job market, sifting through lots of job postings on various websites, and deep in thought about what the ideal picture of your future is.
Both of these ways of approaching job seeking are great – you need a combination of them to be successful. But focusing on the ones that come more naturally to you will increase your likelihood of success.
That’s the main point behind strengths-based development; utilize your natural strengths and you’ll be more successful than if you worry about all your weaknesses.
So I thought about what that meant for me. I have a lot of relationship building and executing strengths. So how do I apply those to my fancy feet?
I immediately go to the idea that I should schedule time on my calendar to do the PT exercises; actually put 30 minutes on my calendar at a set time everyday.
And then I thought about how maybe a reward for doing all my exercises could be meeting up with a close friend for a relaxing pedicure every month.
I’ve also asked my husband to help keep me accountable. So when we’re watching TV I do ankle-strengthening exercises with my IT band and it doesn’t seem quite as annoying.
Executing and relationship building strengths in action!
So think about your unique talents... these are the secret weapon you already have to making your resolutions successful.
If you’ve taken StrengthsFinder, take a few minutes to think about how your top strengths could further your achievement of your goals and resolutions. If you haven’t taken StrengthsFinder (check it out here), think about what you do really well in your personal and professional life?
And apply these to whatever your New Year’s resolution is.
Are you a great communicator?
Think about how you might keep yourself accountable by writing in a journal every day. Or find a friend who you talk with often and tell them about your goal and communicate with them often about how it’s going.
Are you great at research and data?
Think about all the tools there might be out there related to your goal. Maybe even keeping track of your progress with a spreadsheet filled with data relating to your goal might get you fired up everyday.
Are you really good at problem solving?
Think about all the potential challenges you might have related to achieving your goal in the future. Come up with solutions and work-arounds that you could deploy if needed so you’re ready to overcome those roadblocks if/when they happen.
Are you really good at building relationships?
Think about who would be the best people to understand and help you achieve your goal. Reach out to them, talk to them about it, and ask for their help. Think about who you’d like to help in return? You never know what kind of collaboration opportunities there might be.
I think you see where I’m going with this…
As Tom Rath, the author of StrengthsFinder 2.0, and Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes said:
“The key to human development is building on who you already are.”
For more resources to help you achieve your 2017 goals, check out the Pivot Yourself program, upcoming Pivot Journeys, and individual coaching packages designed to help you take your career to the next level and make 2017 your best year yet.