Long ago, Aristotle observed, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” After spending another January helping to pave the road to hell, I realize that my habits have again defeated my New Year’s resolutions.
In Small Move, Big Change, Caroline Arnold responds to a question many people continue to ask: “Why is it so difficult keep commitments, to follow through on resolutions, to make the changes that we know will achieve our personal growth and professional development?”
Years ago, after numerous struggles and frustrations, Arnold tried something different: “I assigned myself a small but meaningful behavioral change — a microresolution — and I succeeded in changing myself immediately. Yet it was only after succeeding at several microresolutions modeled on the first that I realized I had stumbled onto a method for making targeted mini-commitments that succeeded virtually every time.” She had established a new pattern of behavior, a new habit.
Why do resolutions fail? Arnold suggests five reasons, none of which is a head-snapper:
1. We make the wrong resolutions whereas microresolutions focus on doing, not being. Being different follows, rather than precedes, deliberate action.
2. We depend solely on willpower to succeed whereas a microresolution is designed to reform a precise autopilot activity and requires little willpower to succeed.
3. We’re too impatient whereas, when completing microresolutions, the key to lasting transformation is not speed or force but nurture.
4. We underestimate our mental and emotional resistance to change whereas microresolutions foster self-awareness and expose the hidden attitudes that thwart success.
5. We expect to fail whereas microresolutions are easy to keep.
Just as it is so easy to make a list of resolutions, it is just as easy to make a list of reasons and key points. It is important to note that, in her Introduction and first few chapters, Arnold identifies the WHAT and then devotes most of the material that follows to explaining HOW to use microresolutions to transform a life permanently.
I hope you are now resolved to read Small Move, Big Change: Using Microresolutions to Transform Your Life Permanently.
To learn more about Caroline and her work, please click here.
To watch her presentation at Microsoft headquarters, please click here.