By Kathy Whitney, Listing and Marketing Manager DuBois Realty Group
“It’s only January 5th,” a coworker said to me when I asked how another coworker was doing with his New Year’s resolutions. Her response, “it’s only January 5th,” was oddly encouraging as I was already fretting about being behind on mine. Her response was a reminder that building new habits, breaking bad habits, changing one’s mindset, and reaching goals are all hard things and they all take time.
I’m a results-driven person, I relish the idea of New Year’s resolutions. Grab a legal pad, favorite pen, look to the horizon of a fresh year, and then go. There is an endless list of things to fix, change, and improve. “This is going to be THE year,” I say each New Year’s Day with high hopes. Alas, I’m also human and failing to reach a goal makes me feel completely unmotivated. Like many, I end the year the same or in slightly worse shape, having missed all the marks set January 1.
This year I determined to be successful and learn more about the psychology of goal-setting.
Ray Williams, writing for Psychology Today, says, “the inherent problem with goal setting is related to how the brain works. Recent neuroscience research shows the brain works in a protective way, resistant to change. Therefore, any goals that require substantial behavioral change, or thinking-pattern change, will automatically be resisted. The brain is wired to seek rewards and avoid pain or discomfort, including fear. When fear of failure creeps into the mind of the goal setter, it becomes a “demotivator,” with a desire to return to known, comfortable behavior and thought patterns.”
Well this explained a lot. As I dug deeper into this protective behavior of the brain, it became clear that our brains work against everything we want to change, our fear of failure sabotages us, and we often assume reaching a goal is reward enough in itself. I mean, one of my favorite quotes of all times is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The reward of a thing well done is having done it.” Not true!
So, with this newfound knowledge in hand, I decided I don’t need new goals, I know what I want my “future self” to look like. What I decided this year was to set small, frequent milestones with rewards attached, build mindfulness into each day and employ a mantra for the year – “No excuses!”
About the “future self,” when DuBois Realty Group scheduled a business planning day in October, our CEO and fearless leader Marnie DuBois sent homework to our entire team due at planning day. We were to complete a “future self” exercise. There were six areas to contend with – Professional Self, Financial Self, Physical Self, Social Self, Spiritual Self, Family Self. We each filled in our visions for ourselves, three-years out. When we got to planning day, we began by creating vision boards reflecting our “future selves.” The idea was we couldn’t create meaningful business goals if we didn’t first identify our individual goals. Business goals must help each of us meet our personal goals. Brilliant! I could write an entire blog post about why we love working at DuBois Realty Group, in fact, I will someday. We are so committed our hashtag is #DRG4LIFE!
So, our business planning session this year primed the pump for our teams’ resolutions/goal setting for 2018. I polled each one in our group as to their resolutions, and not surprisingly, they all had a response for me in record time (before the day was out). Here are their goals:
Marnie DuBois: My intentions (not resolutions) are the following:
- To go outside everyday. I realized that I get through a day without getting any real amount of fresh air. It think this intention/resolution will get me outside and hopefully turn into increased activity and exercise.
- Go to Yoga at least once a week. The older I get the more I realize how tight everything is getting and how that is a perfect storm for injury. Stretching and mindfulness once a week will be good for me.
Katie Martin – My resolutions or goals for this year are be to build the foundation of a happy and healthy life for my daughter.
- Being a genuine person, putting others before myself and keeping an eye on the big picture, are all things that will help me excel in my new career!
- Loving my work and what I do will make me a happier person, thus creating an overall happy family.
Heather Radford – 2018 “The Year I Learn to be Good to Myself.”
- My focus will be on health and balance in all areas of my life.
- I want to bring my A game to my team everyday and in order to do that I need to have balance
- Keep working on my fitness minimum 5 days a week, also run a sub-30 minute 5K at the Dempsey Challenge (Good Lord, this will be difficult)
- Cut extraneous (and often unnecessary) spending to start improving our financial future now that we have a baby (YAY for the baby, BOOOO for less shopping)
Brian DuBois – My focus for 2018 is the Dempsey Challenge.
- I’d like to get my entire family involved. Although this is my ultimate goal, lack of participation from family members will not deter me from participating. I’m targeting the 25 mile course.
- The reason for this goal is to continue our support of this organization and friends of ours who have benefited from this tremendous community resource, but also as a way for me (and my family) to set our sights on becoming more physically active outside of other structured activities, something where we need to motivate ourselves. I’m curious to see what this journey brings our way…
Kathy Whitney – Focus on physical, mental and spiritual health and energy – Mantra – No Excuses
- Building meaningful movement into each day – working with a trainer and increasing yoga practice to 5x weekly. Reward – a massage at each season’s beginning.
- Spending 15+ minutes outside each day. Reward – new gear each season.
- Committing to 1 weekend away with husband 4x yearly. Reward – not sharing!
So I, along with my teammates, have already identified our future selves, and we have our vision boards as physical reminders of where we want to be. What we need now is to set ourselves up for success. No excuses, mind the science. We know what we want. We don’t need more goals. We need rewards and mindfulness and patience to get there. These things take time.