The work of man is achieved in accordance with practical wisdom and moral virtue; virtue makes us aim at the right mark and practical wisdom makes us take the right means. ~ Aristotle
A week from today, 25 % of us will have abandoned the resolutions we’re making right now (Washington Post).
The top New Year’s resolution?
As if I needed to ask – of the 45 percent of us making resolutions, losing weight is at the top of the list. So, in about a week, not only will millions of us be fatter, but millions of us will be depressed.
Clearly we have a problem but, before offering you some suggestions to increase your odds for success in 2017, take a moment to think about the company you work for and answer the following question:
What tools does your organization most often reach for when attempting to fix problems?
For most of you, the answer to this question will be: rules and incentives (aka carrots and sticks).
And how is that working out for you?
If Jeffrey Pfeffer is right, rules and incentives are having a negative effect on your engagement and work satisfaction; and, if Barry Schwartz is right, rules and incentives, while being good in the short run, are chipping away at what Aristotle referred to as your “practical wisdom.”
Return now to your New Year’s resolutions and ask the following question:
What tools are you planning to use to reach the desired outcome?
Ummm…by chance are you planning on using rules and incentives?
If, as suggested by Michael Mosley’s best seller The FastDiet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Secret of Intermittent Fasting, you’re planning on using intermittent fasting to stay healthy and live longer then the answer to that question is “yes.”
How do you think that is going to work out?
I will be the first to admit rules and incentives work in the short run. However, given the number of us who will be making the same resolutions next year, it’s better to appeal to practical wisdom if you want to play the long game. This holds true for individuals as well as organizations as it allows one to know when and how to make exceptions to rules, and when and how to improvise.
How do you do that?
Although we all learn differently, the important thing to appreciate is that wise people are made not born, as noted by Barry Schwartz in this TED talk. As such, if, in a week, you’re one of the 25 percent who have already abandoned the resolutions you’re making right now: stop beating yourself up, shake it off, learn from your mistakes, and get back to it.
What about me?
I still have a few days to think about it but, thanks to my seven year old son, I’m thinking about setting a resolution that involves the guitar. My son is learning to play this year in school and, at the encouragement of his instructor, I’ve tested the waters to see if it’s something I can make room for in my life and I feel confident I can in 2017: Since I’ll most likely be fasting in the New Year to fit back into the expandable pants I mentioned a while back, this will give me something to do during mealtime.
Have a resolution you want to share? Shoot me an email – it would be an inspiration to know that, despite the odds, I’m not the only one who is planning on improving myself in 2017.
Before checking out, for those of you who are planning to take up dancing (or the accordion), here is Diego el Cigala singing “En Esta Tarde Gris.” Those of you wanting to quit smoking might skip the video and just head to our Manufacturing Peace of Mind™ playlist to listen to the song.
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