So, it’s the end of January. If you made resolutions at the beginning of the month, have they stuck and turned into habits or have they been forgotten, pushed aside by items of a higher priority?

If your resolutions haven’t evolved into actions, don’t feel bad about it.

Yes, a new calendar year is an inspiring time to think about how this year can be different, yet it is only one time, just one opportunity to consider what you are doing now, how you are accomplishing it, and why you are exerting energy on it.

I don’t make resolutions. Instead, I think about what I want to do and what I need to do.

Want to do vs. need to do can be done on a tactical or strategic level.

Here’s how I do it on a tactical level. Every Monday I make a very short (no more than 5 items) list of what I want to do and what I need to do.

The want to do side includes the items I enjoy and are easier to accomplish. I tend to gravitate towards these actions. I’m good at these things, and they are fun to me.

The need to do side includes the items I do not enjoy and are harder to get done. I tend to avoid these actions. I may or may not be skilled in these areas. Sometimes they require more energy than I want to exert at the time, and they don’t seem fun.

I repeat the exercise monthly, quarterly, and yearly, focusing on the big picture for me and my team.

Many of us create resolutions around items we feel we need to do. I need to exercise. I need to be patient. I need to network. I need to be strategic.

For a need to shift to a want, you must identify the end results or benefits of the action as well as the consequences of failing to take it.

Once you spell out the reasons why you need to do something, it can become easier for you to take concrete steps towards action. And you can begin to see how the action helps you, how it affects you. And it begins to turn into a desire—a want—vs. a need.

This is a big leap for many leaders. It takes a good deal of EQ (emotional intelligence), specifically self awareness, to get to this point.

The next step can sometimes be just as difficult. I’d argue it is even more critical. It is moving from “I want to do this” to “I know how to accomplish this.”

This is where and when an executive coach is a perfect partner. I help leaders move from need to want to can do.

So, as you consider what’s on your agenda for the first quarter of 2012, break down your list and first distinguish between I need to and I want to.

Then, as you review your desires in a conscious manner, solicit help from your leader, Human Resources/Training, mentors, advisors, or an executive coach so you reach the state of can do.


© Leila Bulling Towne  2012

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