So what are we actually after when we create New Year’s resolutions? What do we want when we resolve to do better?
As I sat down to write this post, I found myself wanting to know the history of New Year’s and, subsequently, the desire to create new resolutions. It turns out that people have practiced New Year’s resolutions for at least 4,000 years. Over thousands of years and millions of people, that is a lot of intention; Intention to do better and be better.
So what are we actually after when we create New Year’s resolutions? What do we want when we resolve to do better or be better?
We are ultimately looking for a transformation. We seek to learn, grow, transform, and be a better version of ourselves.
Successful transformations require three key components:
I will argue that number 2 is the most important component. Your transformation and the way you experience it depend greatly on your surroundings. When you place yourself in a situation where you receive the gift of psychological safety, you are more capable of learning and growing.
Psychological safety is the theory that you can share your experiences, thoughts, and beliefs in a safe place: one free from embarrassment or rejection. When we are psychologically safe and share through group discussions, our minds can more easily think, process, and absorb information. Healthy discussion, and sometimes debate, will ensue - healthy being the keyword here.
So what can we look for when seeking a psychologically safe environment? We look for mutual trust, openness, a desire to learn, and a growth mindset in others within the environment. We look for healthy discussion, inclusion, and support.
For me, that space was the Severn Leadership Group Fellows Program. During the program, we read the book The Boys in the Boat and discussed the concept of "swing": when a group working together in some capacity falls into sync with each other. Work becomes fun, projects can be easy, and most certainly a safe space has been created.
I experienced "swing" with the other Fellows in my program. We were a group of individuals with no prior history, yet we were all there to experience transformation. We each brought different experiences and opinions. We shared openly, listened intently, asked questions, and grew with each other. It was an environment that I had never experienced before. One where I truly felt safe to be myself, share my challenges, and learn from others. We were in full swing within the safe space that SLG had created.
As we embark on this new year and you consider your resolutions, I encourage you to consider what transformation you wish to experience beyond resolutions. And as you narrow your focus and find your space to begin that transformation, keep in mind the environment in which you will spend your time.
If you are interested in learning more about this safe space to grow with peers and mentors, check out SLG's events page for one of their Discover SLG informational meetings or one of the upcoming cohorts.
Karen Murphy values connection, community, and relationships. With a considerable background in people leadership and a professional coaching designation, Karen works with others to develop their own unique skills and create and grow a career they love. Karen is also a seasoned real estate professional with experience in commercial, corporate, and residential real estate.