When resolutions really work – the development wheel of change

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Last month I wrote about setting resolutions. Well, to be honest, my first tip was not to make them, at least not on New Year’s Eve! But, as I went on to explain, resolutions can be a powerful catalyst for change, we just need to set them and follow through on them in the right way to have a good chance of success. In this blog, I want to share Complete’s secret recipe for making, and most importantly, keeping resolutions that deliver results – the development wheel.

Having the motivation to change

All resolutions involve change – we want to do something different, maybe even be someone different. And change is hard. We are creatures of habit.

For a resolution to work we need a strong motivation to change and that usually means that we need to be feeling uncomfortable enough with the status quo to want to do something about it.

When you’re considering a resolution, think about how much it’s really hurting you not to change. How much does this thing matter to you? It needs to really matter for you to have the motivation to change.

As human beings we want to stay in our comfort zone, we become attached to what feels familiar or what we know whether it’s good or bad. It’s only when we start to notice a growing sense of pain that we are motivated to change. We’ve all heard of people who stay in a dysfunctional relationship longer than they should and only leave when the status quo becomes unbearable and a taking a step out into the unknown seems more preferable.

Once you’ve found something that is causing you pain or discomfort, you are ready to step across threshold. And that’s where Complete’s Development Wheel can help you navigate the journey of change …

The Complete Development Wheel

There are four phases of change in the development wheel.

The four phases of the development wheel are relevant to any kind of change we are seeking to make in our lives, including resolutions. It’s really helpful to explore these phases as they will help you achieve greater awareness of the process of change and your reaction to it. Through greater understanding, you can increase your chances of successfully achieving the change you desire.

Let’s take a look at the four phases:

Development Wheel
Development Wheel

A. DISCOVER – Wake up

The first phase is about knowing that you want to change. I talked about this above in the section about having the motivation to change. In short, things become so uncomfortable that you ‘wake up’ to the fact that change needs to happen.

B. DECIDE – Own up  

The second phase is about taking responsibility for the change you need to make and committing to it. A lot of people will ask for help with a resolution and that’s good to get you started, but you can’t put ownership of the change on someone else. For example, someone who wants to lose weight might sign up for Weight Watchers. That’s fine if it helps, but you can’t blame Weight Watchers if you don’t end up losing the weight you want, you have to own the change.  

Tools and resources can help you with your resolution. They can be very practical – if I’m going to get fit, I might need appropriate running shoes for example, but also think beyond the equipment. You might also need tools to help you with emotional shifts to take more control of your life or plan strategies that will help you when the going gets tough. Whatever tools and resources you need investing energy to put them in place will be effort well spent.

C. DEVELOP – Grow up

Now you’re ready to start to grow up and start the work to realise your resolution. Take time to appreciate even the small steps towards your goals; quick wins can boost your energy and help with motivation but only if you notice them!  This stage in the wheel might also require some deeper work if success keeps evading you. For example, if you notice a repeating pattern stopping your progress you may need to think more deeply about what is causing the same old issues or barriers to show up.

Often, we need to lean into the long-running limiting narratives we have told ourselves and that can block us from making the real shifts we need to develop and grow. A long running fear of failure could block us from trying anything new or different, just in case it doesn’t go well. You need some deep-thinking work to fix the deep stuff. It’s not always easy and you may need more support and help but the benefits of being liberated from self-limiting patterns or beliefs can be life-changing.

D. DELIVER – Show up

Finally, you have made the change you resolved to achieve. You are now showing up differently. You may return to your ‘normal’ world, but you are ready to operate in a different way. More than that, you can inspire other people to go on their own change journey too. Not because you’ve talked about it, but because you are living the change and others can see that it really works.

And that’s it. It won’t be easy, but it will be incredibly rewarding. If you’ve reached that pain point to motivate you to change, think about using the development wheel to set you up for success. And let us know how you get on.

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