Infinite Resolutions for Ongoing Success
It’s common knowledge that most resolutions fail pretty soon into the new year, but maybe there’s something in the way we make traditional resolutions that contributes to this.
For example, if you want to eat food that is better for you and the environment, you might make a New Year’s resolution to complete Veganuary. However, after a few New Year drinks into the early hours, you get a whiff of a bacon butty. The saboteur voices in your head are too strong and you fail at the very first attempt. Those internal saboteurs then tell you there’s little point carrying on now that you’ve already failed, and you quickly revert to your usual habits. Or you might even complete Veganuary but choose a beef burger as a treat on February 1st, then fall back into your old ways pretty quickly over the following weeks. Either way, the resolution soon fizzles out.
However, if you structure the goal differently, you can use events such as Veganuary, Dry January, etc., as encouragement, rather than a simple fail or succeed situation.
In an insightful and inspirational interview for The High Performance Podcast, Susie Ma speaks about infinite purpose, a concept she learned through listening to Simon Sinek. In simple terms, the idea is that your purpose isn’t ultimately achievable, but that it carries on and keeps driving you to do better. In Susie’s case, the infinite purpose she created for herself and her company, Tropic, is to help create a healthier, greener and more empowered world. Note, it is not to create the healthiest products in the UK. Or to achieve a particular environmental standard by 2025. ‘Healthier, greener and more empowered’ is ongoing – it’s infinite and it contributes to a cause bigger than just herself.
Of course, we are all human and we all slip up. The benefit of an infinite purpose is that we can improve next time. So, if our New Year’s resolutions become ongoing, or infinite, then slipping up on January 1st isn’t an instant fail because we can still improve next time, and the time after that. It focuses more on the overall trend, rather than every single case or limiting us to a specific period of time. And, like values, it acts as a guide if we are unsure what to do.
In Tropic’s case, if they find themselves unsure whether to press ahead with a new skincare product, they can ask themselves, ‘Does this product make a healthier, greener and/or more empowered world?’ If the answer is ‘no’, it guides them back to the drawing board until it becomes a ‘yes’.
In the Veganuary example, if you switch the resolution from being ‘to complete Veganuary’ and instead have ‘make more sustainable food choices’, it becomes an infinite resolution. It is ongoing and can apply throughout this year and any that follow. It enables you to keep trying and improving as your knowledge and that of the wider world progresses, while the event – Veganuary – is simply an encouragement which enables you to start building a new habit and gain insight and inspiration from others.
Consider your own New Year’s resolutions or your goals for the year. Some will be finite – you may want to run a specific time or distance in a race or hit a specific income target by the end of the year. Some will be milestones along the road to longer term success. But what if at least some of your resolutions became infinite? What guiding influence would it have for you in improving your decision making? How could it help you achieve sustainable change, rather than just a short-term benefit?
To discuss how we can help you define and live your purpose, vision and values, contact me via email@example.com or sign up for the 6-week My Personal Charter coaching programme, starting from just £195 per person.