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Gaining Momentum in Resolutions

Friday, April 8, 2011 by Slaughter Development

Being that it’s now four months into the new year, some of us may be contemplating exactly how we can regain momentum on our otherwise abandoned New Year’s Resolutions. Well, if motivation is what you need, Slaughter Development’s founder has some advice on why starting over is not just refreshing. It’s also productive.

The article “Why Starting Over is Productive“, written by Robby Slaughter, was recently published in the January 2011 edition of Health Minute Magazine. For your convenience, the entire feature is below:

Why Starting Over is Productive

It’s another year, which means millions of people are setting new goals and starting fresh. We are signing up for gym memberships, buying diet books and resolving to be smarter, healthier, more spiritual, more caring and more effective in our daily lives. Yet at the same time, we know that not all of these lofty ideals will become a permanent reality. In fact, The Miami Herald reported on a study that found 97% of all New Year’s resolutions are left unfulfilled. If we are so terrible at meeting our goals, why do we make them in the first place?

There is a reason that we take January 1st as an opportunity to make bold plans about our health, lifestyle and career. We find comfort in using a date on the calendar to mark a turning point. A new year is a watershed moment that lets us discard the past and embrace the possibility of the future. Resolutions aren’t just about making plans: they also require that we let go.

Psychologists have extensively researched not only the way we make decisions, but the way we perceive decisions in others. Through a phenomenon called “spontaneous trait transference,” science explains that we have a strong tendency to associate qualities with the people making statements, not the object of the statements themselves. If you talk about the achievements, intentions or failures of others, those listening will tend to connect their emotions to you.

When we go to make changes in our lifestyle, the same principle applies. We work to put old, bad behaviors out of mind and bring new, positive activities to the forefront. We therefore associate ourselves with success and possibility. That’s why it feels good to resolve to change.

Unfortunately, most of us wait for the excuse of an annual tradition to set goals. Instead of using an arbitrary calendar date for defining our objectives, we should make improvement a part of our everyday lives. And furthermore, few of us work with others to build accountability. Remember, “spontaneous trait transference” works best when you are sharing stories and ideas with other people.

This year, make a resolution to start fresh and improve your health and well-being. Don’t worry if you’ve missed the January 1st deadline—any day is a good day to make a change for the better. But do take time to reach out to friends, family and colleagues to seek their help in improving. The best way to lead a healthier, more productive and more satisfying life is with the company and confidence of others.

Robby Slaughter is a Principal with Slaughter Development, an Indianapolis-based business process and workflow consulting company. His new book, Failure: The Secret to Success is available now at

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Like this post? Here are some related entries from The Methodology Blog you might enjoy:

Resolutions for a New Year - On Wednesday, Slaughter Development presented the first session in the 2010 Productivity Series. The program for this month was “How NOT to Make New Years Resolutions at Work” and the slides are now available here on The Methodology Blog. Read on »
Resolve To Succeed in 2010 - Believe it or not, it’s time yet again for fresh goals and new beginnings. The question is, how will you manage to keep momentum accomplishing them in 2010?  Read on »
Goodbye, January - The first month of the new decade is over. Did you accomplish your goals? Is measuring success based on the calendar a good approach for success?
Read on »
Want to learn more? Register now for the 2011 Productivity Series

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