New Year, New You! Did you start January with a roar?
Every year, January feels like a new beginning. Once Christmas and New Year is out of the way, January brings the opportunity to take positive steps towards the life we want to lead.
We fill our brand-new moleskin journals and lifestyle apps with New Year’s Resolutions. We make plans to reinvent ourselves, to become healthier and happier. We make goals to turn our lives around.
At work, it’s a similar story. Team leaders and managers use January to set “exciting” goals for the next twelve months. Employees are encouraged to take up new challenges, hit new targets, work on new skills and overcome weaknesses.
It’s February – Still Motivated and Resolved?
The problem is, that by the time we reach the middle of February, the early motivation for our new year’s resolutions has begun to wane.
There are those who manage to maintain the January momentum well into spring. And if you are still keeping up with your resolutions, well done! Please, do share your secret.
For most of us, though, our resolutions lasted a few weeks at best, and at worst, barely got going in the first place.
If January bursts upon us with hope and opportunity, February brings a return to equilibrium. At work, employees return slowly to default behaviours. Those lagging behind, fall back further, and those who are unhappy, begin looking for the perfect new job and the real change they yearn for.
Why does this happen every year?
Achievable Goals and Realistic Expectations
The problem is related to our very human habit of creating unrealistic expectations and setting unachievable goals. Whether it’s personal targets or organisational expectations, we often set challenges for ourselves we have no chance of achieving.
We start with the right motivations – the desire to take up new habits and behaviours is heartfelt. But, making big changes in just one month and maintaining them for an entire year is a super power few of us possess.
In a team situation, setting unrealistic expectations is counterproductive. Particularly if the expectation is about “overcoming weaknesses” or developing skills people simply don’t possess.
The result is, failure and disappointment. Which can lead to despondency, disconnection and disengagement from the team and even from the organisation.
Self-Awareness and Strengths
Understanding why this happens, is about understanding true self-awareness and the role our unique strengths have in motivation.
Everyone has strengths. What might be called our “secret powers”. These are the unique strengths, talents, knowledge and skills that help us to do what we do best every day, whether at work or in our personal lives.
Strengths are not necessarily related to skills. You might be good at something, but not necessarily feel energised by doing it. Real strengths are the key to your motivation. Your strengths are what keep you engaged in the activities you undertake, both in your personal life and at work.
If you are self-aware enough to uncover your secret powers, to know your strengths and motivations, you are on the path to understanding how best they can serve you.
Uncover Your Secret Powers!
A great first step to developing a self-awareness and understanding your and other’s motivations is to explore your own strengths. The Strengthscope® questionnaire we utilise at Co-Creation, delivers exceptionally accurate results on strengths and motivations. Engaging with our self-awareness process allows you to fully understand what energises you and how you resource yourself for your daily activities.
A simple starting point is to think through these three questions:
- What activities give you most energy?
- When was the last time you were “in flow” and loving what you were doing?
- What drains your energy?
Thinking through these, allow syou to begin exploring where you get your greatest energy, and what drains your energy and motivation away.
Setting Goals that Compliment Strengths
Spending time understanding your motivations and strengths puts you in a much better place when it comes to goal setting.
Your secret powers are the unique qualities that bring you the most energy. So, it makes sense to think through how best you can utilise them in your goals.
For personal goals this might involve:
- Setting challenging “stretch” goals in areas that are known strengths
- Learning new knowledge or skills in areas of strength
- Finding opportunities in your areas of strength to motivate others
For your organisation, it might involve engaging in a process to uncover the different combinations of strengths that exist in your team. Then, planning on how best you can use each person in their most effective areas.
The Keys to Success
Failing in your new year’s resolutions is not uncommon. We all fall short when we aren’t engaged in our areas of interest.
Knowing your strengths opens up the greatest opportunity for success. Being self-aware allows you and those in your organisation to work smarter and more productively. As well as helping to maintain a better balance between work and your own interests and personal goals.
By starting in a place where you are engaging your secret powers, you’ll be motivated to set resolutions and goals you can definitely achieve, and be happier to push yourself forward.
If you would like more information about strengths, or about engaging and utilising the strengths in your team, contact Co-Creation and let us help you uncover your secret powers.
At Co-Creation, we have been working with a number of organisations around adopting a strengths-based approach using the Strengthscope® profiling tool. If you would like to find out more about becoming Strengthscope® accredited by attending an open programme, or running an in house programme, please do see our latest event dates and information.