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Kevin Latchford

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Reflection Over Resolution - December 31, 2016

I’ve talked and written about New Year’s resolutions in the past. They are generally not for me. I understand the meaning behind them, the fresh start to the calendar year, and the opportunity to begin anew. I get it, I really do. However, I still believe that what you promise yourself and others through a New Year’s resolution are things you should be doing all along.

 

Think for a moment about all the times you or another that you know say, “my resolution for this year is to lose weight and be healthier”. Or, how about this one, “my New Year’s resolution is to be a more patient person, not lose my temper so quickly, and to be willing to hear others out before infusing my opinion”. Again, why does the flip of the calendar push us to make resolutions. More so, why do so many make these resolutions based on in-the-moment emotion. Take for example the idea of losing weight and being healthier. The jokes are abundant on this topic because people are coming off a glutinous holiday time where they ate and drank as they pleased and now feel guilty about the pounds they put on. Beyond this situation, many cannot relate the idea of their desired weight loss and healthier lifestyle to other factors, such as their blood pressure, cholesterol, sugar levels, stress factors, etc. It’s the New Year and this seems like a doable resolution.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, like I stated before I do get the idea of a New Year’s resolution. But, I believe more in using this time for reflection. Beyond choosing an item or two of change arbitrarily and calling it my New Year’s resolution, I take time throughout the holiday season to reflect on the good things that have come my way. And with the good, so too must I reflect on the not so good. It is through my belief in reflection that I will strive to be a better person – husband, father, manager and sales person. Reflection will point me toward being a better version of myself where a resolution will likely address one small factor. How can I better the whole versus just a part?

 

Most of the time when I debate someone on the topic of reflection over resolution the typical response is I am aiming too high. Really? I generally win the debate when I use the weight loss resolution example.

 

Other: My New Year’s resolution is to lose 15 pounds and get healthier.

Me: Why?

Other: Because I’ve put on a few extra pounds and I want to get thinner.

Me: Why?

Other: Because my pants are starting to fit a little snug and I need to lose weight.

Me: Why?

Other (becoming frustrated): What do you mean why, I just told you.

Me: Ok, but what will you losing 15 pounds do for you?

Other: Kevin, are you dense, I just said I’d be able to fit into my pants better.

Me: Oh, ok. (And then I walk away)

 

A short time later, still frustrated, Other stops me at the New Year’s Eve party and wants an explanation on just exactly what I was getting at by continuing to ask the question Why. This is where reflection comes into play. You said you wanted to lost 15 pounds because your pants were starting to fit snug. However, you never explained how you gained the 15 pounds in the first place. Did you indulge in a few too many craft beers? Did you stop exercising all together? Is there a medical concern your doctor found that caused you to gain weight? Are you under stress at work? Are you having marital issues? Is a family member facing an illness? All of these questions can point to the trigger that caused you to gain weight in the first place. Reflect upon the year past and consider the reasons or the factors that played into the weight gain. Then, should you still want to call it a resolution, layout a roadmap for losing the 15 pounds while addressing the root cause(s) of the weight gain initially.

 

Translating this into my sales career, I too have put on a few pounds over the past year, and I plan to lose the weight. I’ve been working toward becoming a more patient man, but I have a way to go. I consider myself a good husband and father, but can be a little short tempered at times. I enjoy craft beers, good bourbon and I love to cook, yet I may overindulge from time-to-time. I try to be a faithful man in my religious beliefs, but I’m far from what I would call ideal. I know I can do a better job on my attendance record at church. I like to read, try to read for enjoyment, but oftentimes make easy excuses to skip that book I’ve had sitting on the shelf for 10 months. Addressing these types of things will make me a better sales person because they will make me a better person overall.

 

Reflecting upon my shortcomings will lead me into the process of laying out a roadmap for addressing each item. You may call these resolutions; I call them reflection points. What’s the difference? Going back in this post a little bit, resolutions tend to be statements made when the calendar year flips. I’m going to lose weight! I’m going to work on my patience! I’m going to be a better husband, father, manager and sales person! And, while these statements have power, they lack the game plan.

 

My advice as I close out the calendar year 2016 is simple. Find some alone time with a notebook. Jot down your thoughts or statements as if you were making resolutions. Then ponder each and ask yourself Why. Why is this a resolution? How did I get to this point of making it a resolution? What were the causes throughout the past year that have come to a head now? Once you’ve written down the various items you would call resolutions, have reflected upon the reasons why they are resolutions, then and only then will you be able to draw your roadmap for accomplishing each. Oh yeah, one more point, be realistic. Unless you starve yourself, you won’t lose 15 pounds in a month or two. Realistically, you’ll lose that 15 pounds in five to six months and become healthier along the way. Reflect and plan accordingly. Happy New Year – I hope 2017 is a safe, enjoyable and successful year for you.

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