New Year's Resolutions Do Not Work - Here's what can

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

That magical time of the year, when we all make resolutions we know we won't keep.

Here's the rub:

  • Everyone wants to change something
  • Very few go further than the magical thinking exercise of the "New Year's Resolution". 

You are probably in that frame of mind right now.

The 2021 Breakthrough Worksheet is Here 
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Here's the truth

A Resolution without an Action Plan is a Pipe Dream, Wishful Thinking, a Fib and a Fable.

You don't want this change enough to do the work to make it happen. Sounds good when you say it to friends, everyone knows it carries no meaning. 

Unless This Time, You Really Need Something to Change

How can you make it happen this time, even if you have failed at resolutions in the past?

So let's look at the research and our 10 year's experience coaching physicians. Then let me show you a Practice and Life Change Checklist that gives you a fighting chance of creating a lasting change this year.

A dollop of research:

In a 2014 report, 35% of participants who failed their New Year's Resolutions admitted they had unrealistic goals, 33% of participants didn't keep track of their progress, and 23% forgot about them; about one in 10 respondents claimed they made too many resolutions.[9]

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail,[10] despite the fact that 52% of the study's participants were confident of success at the beginning. 

Our Experience Coaching Physicians:

We are all hard wired and programmed to be Lone Ranger, Workaholic, Perfectionists. We are typically on the verge of overwhelm at work even at the best of times and easily distracted by one or more patient priorities.

In order to be successful at long term change ... there must be more structure than just a Resolution ... basically a Wish. 

Here is a checklist that works - raising your odds of success well above 50%, even for busy doctors.

NOTE: All of this takes place via writing - with a pen or pencil on paper. Your personal journal is best. Our 2021 Physician Breakthrough Worksheet is here. Research shows writing/journaling accelerates personal change. If you don't write these things down ... they will not happen.

Practice and Life CHANGE CHECKLIST

1) Make a list of the things you want to change. 
Take your time here - bigger is better for this task. 
Dump it all out of your head onto the paper.

new-years-resolution-doctor-physician-low-hanging-fruit2) Prioritize
Pick one, just one, only one
Make it SMALL. Smaller is better here. Ridiculously small is best. 
Recognize your programming to either pick:
a) The biggest, hairiest, most audacious one
And let that programming go.
Pick a little goal here ... the traditional low hanging fruit.

3) Decide how you will measure success. What are you going to count or how else will you know you are successful in this effort. You must measure something here or you will fail. 

4) Decide your first action step to make this little change happen.

5) Schedule that initial action step. Put it in your calendar.

6) Take the action step. Knock it out. Git 'er done.

7) Celebrate. Celebrate the action step in some small way. I know you are not used to celebration. DO NOT skip this step.

8) Go back to step four and repeat the cycle with the NEXT Step until you are:
- Successful - then celebrate like you won the lottery.
- Decide this change is not important enough to continue.

9) When you have dialed this new result/habit into your practice or your life, grab another or rest on your laurels ... you choose.




What's on your list, important enough for this kind of focused action?

When will you get started?


Tags: stop physician burnout