Silicon Valley coach shares the secret to sustaining personal change in 2020.

When January hits, particularly in the dawn of a new decade, many of us take inventory of the changes we’d like to implement in the coming era. Others are wary of making grand proclamations in the way of ‘new year’s resolutions’ in light of well known research that proves 80% of people fail to keep their New Years’ resolutions, with most people giving up on their goals as early as January 12. Yikes!

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The reason most people fail to keep up with resolutions is because they set vague goals like “make healthier choices” or try to overhaul their life too quickly with changes. Psychologists agree that goal setting is most effective when people create concrete, small changes that build over time. Further, research has shown that people who are internally motivated are more likely to invest time in maintaining change with more success, than people who rely on external motivators to sustain change. When we expect specific outcomes as a result of our hard-earned changes that aren’t entirely in our control (such as landing a promotion or new role, improved mood, relationships or physical transformations) we can easily slide back into old habits rather than maintain change.

Many of Silicon Valley’s top leaders utilize executive coaching as a powerful resource for building and sustaining change for their professional and personal growth. One effective tactic for identifying and sustaining change I use as an executive coach draws from the toolbox of one of tech’s biggest successes- Marc Benioff, Co-founder and CEO of Salesforce.  He developed the V2MOM template for setting annual goals across the organization, creating a new V2MOM and sharing it with the entire company, asking every employee to create and publish their own annual V2MOM plan. Simply put, the V2MOM is a framework for identifying the vision, values, methodology, obstacles and measures for building and sustaining any desired change. Drawing from my background in cognitive behavioral neuroscience methodology, I’ve added a supplemental list of accountability/sustainability questions that I plan to use with all of my clients in our work together this year.

(Set aside 7-10 minutes and write out your responses to the prompts below)

In 2020 I want to change:

If the opposite of this change were to be true, then I would expect:
The actions that best support the desired change are:
What hard choices/conversations will I need to face and act upon in order to make headway on this change?
Objectives and Key Results (OKRs): By holding myself accountable for the above actions, I stand to gain:
By not holding myself accountable and/or maintaining the status quo I stand to lose:
What thought(s) do I need to actively challenge in order to stay motivated and on track?
What thought(s) remind me that this course of action is core to who I am?
Who can I enlist to remind me of what matters most on the road to working on myself?
What values are important to me and keep me grounded during the highs and lows of the journey?
What self care choices and pleasurable activities should I prioritize to help me sustain my emotional, social and physical health and wellbeing?
Lastly, what is the very first thing I can do to get started? When and where will this take place and who else, if anyone will be involved?
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): when I look back on 2020, what measures can I use to determine how I’ve made progress?

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