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Time for a Change? What To Do When You Veer Off Course

Time for a Change? What To Do When You Veer Off Course

It’s always a good time to revisit your goals for the year. Accept, adjust, advance.

The New Year marks time on the calendar; this turning of the page often sparks a visceral drive within us amidst a cultural atmosphere around us to get a fresh start in our personal or professional lives. Most of our resolutions, or goals for the year, fall under one of three categories: improving physical health, emotional health and relationships (including your relationship to yourself), or career prospects. Within these categories, we tend to decide to change a habit that doesn’t serve us, or a acquire a new habit that does serve us.

Failure: Few of Us Are Resolute All the Time

The trouble is (as many of us know from experience) – you are most likely, in some way, to break your resolution.  That’s because your mind likes to repeat habits—not make new ones.  I really think the problem with New Year’s resolutions is that people feel that just because they broke it once or twice that it’s no longer any good. Few of us are resolute all of the time—especially when it comes to new habits.

The key to change is not to let a failure destroy the initial conviction.  You can make the most of it by using the awareness that your mind seeks to repeat habits (not create new ones), and keep your initial conviction strong despite knowing that you might stumble along the way. There’s a simple mantra I use with myself and with my clients:

Accept, adjust, advance.

Accept Adjust Advance by Joe Caruso

For more about creating new habits, see also:

Take a lesson from military paratroopers – they jump out of an airplane, set their sights on the target, and constantly veer off course the moment they leap from the plane. Yet somehow, they make subtle corrections, stay focused on the target, and manage to land in the right place. Remember, very few things go exactly as planned. Heck, I’ve been to my fair share of meetings that steer off course the minute they begin!

Sometimes it feels as if the distance between where we are and what we want is so great that no matter what course we set it will be nearly impossible to get there. But we can take two lessons from the paratroopers.

  • Make a leap of commitment with our first step.

  • When forces beyond our control take us off course all we need to do is…accept, adjust, and advance.

We need to remember that we can get off course and still hit our mark if we’ll just accept what is happening, adjust to the new conditions and keep going toward what we want.

My plan is to accept, adjust and advance my way throughout all of 2016.

© Joe Caruso and Caruso Leadership, 2016. Reprints available with permission.

More resources

For more about defining your goals and resolutions, see also:

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