After receiving very positive feedback on our blog contributions last year, we would like to continue this still young tradition of the Liechtenstein Academy Blog also this year.
Also in 2019, it is important for us to consider very different perspectives in order to offer you the most stimulating possible offer. Once again, we have been able to attract four well-known guest authors, who, with no editorial filters, write about their personal thoughts. Look forward to complex issues, simply explained by Ulrich Schnabel, philosophical insights from Dr. Ina Schmidt, astute thoughts by our language and legal expert Carlos A. Gebauer and constructive considerations of our health expert Christoph von Oldershausen.
We wish you a stimulating read.
Your Liechtenstein Academy team
Like every year, many of us are facing the big question: What good intentions do I have to start the new year with? A few kilos less on the ribs, doing sports regularly, more time just for me... Many of the resolutions we hear from ourselves, our friends and acquaintances sound like this or something similar.
At least in the professional context, we have learned that resolutions or goals that can be influenced by our own behavior should be formulated as specifically as possible. The SMART rule, for example, helps us here. It stipulates that we use the following list to formulate our goals:
So «More time for me» becomes «I want to create a two-hour window every week in the first 8 weeks of the new year in which I learn to play guitar.» This SMART target formulation is a good first step in the right direction and increases the probability that the desired goal (= the good intention) will actually be realized. An essential factor is having to tackle the background: Why do I want more time for myself? How do I spend this time concretely? How much time is realistic in my current situation?
This is where we could stop and let things run their course. If we can believe the current statistics, two thirds of all good intentions will fail by the end of January. Fortunately, this does not have to be the case, because more and more studies are pointing in a clear direction: Those who deal thoroughly with what can go wrong on the way to achieving goals and proactively remove possible obstacles are more successful in the implementation phase. Psychologists call this «frustration vaccination» – a term that, in my opinion, could not be better chosen.
Let's take another concrete example. You have noticed that after running you are very proud of yourself and have a clear head, but that you only manage to get into your running shoes every two to three weeks at the most. The evenings and weekends are usually already packed with (leisure) commitments and sometimes you simply lack the energy after a long working day. This is going to change next year, so formulate: «I will go running every Monday morning for at least 30 minutes». Whew, EVERY Monday is a lot. Not to mention in the morning. What obstacles are you likely to encounter and how do you deal with them?
«It's raining, it's cold. I just want to stay in bed.» I understand that. That's why you check the weather forecast for the morning on the evening before the run, get your running clothes ready then and place a second alarm clock in your living room with a 1-minute delay. If you have already got up, the rest is much easier.
«I got to bed an hour later than planned and I'm still tired.» The world doesn't end there. Sleep is important, yes. But you don't want to run a marathon, you just want to run for 30 minutes. You can do that with one hour less sleep than usual. And to get to bed earlier next Sunday, ask your partner to send you to bed at 22:00.
«I just don't feel like it. Nobody will notice if I skip it today.» Wrong thought. You have agreed in advance with your favourite colleague/friend/partner that they will ask you every Monday how things went – in the truest sense of the word. And who wants to start their week with a lie?
This may sound terribly uncomfortable when you first read it, but the truth is that a consciously controlled change in behaviour does not come about by itself. First and foremost, it needs an investment in the form of your energy. Choose wisely which battles you really want to fight out with yourself, prepare yourself well and be prepared for all obstacles that will definitely come your way. The reward is a large portion of self-efficacy and the certainty that you can do it.
Have you ever put a good intention into practice with all its consequences? How did it feel? What could have caused you to almost fail?
Written by: Christoph von Oldershausen