The One Resolution You Should Make In 2017

Coming into 2017 Gary Keller’s excellent book “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” was at the top of my summer reading list to (re)read. I find that this is a fantastic book to keep in mind when starting out anytime new (particularly a New Year) as the central theme of the book presents a powerful question - “What is the one thing that if done makes everything else easier or unnecessary?”. As a psychologist working with businesses across a range of industries I’d say that the answer is to work on improving personal resilience (or ability to bounce back from adversity) and wellbeing.

In recent times much has been made of resilience and personal wellbeing to the point where some commentators have written the concept off as a fad. I believe that this is a mistake however as currently we are facing a stress epidemic. At work the common story is that staff are increasingly asked to do more with less (resources, and time) and with advancement in smart devices we’re more connected then every before. As a result, the line between work and life for many has all but disappeared. It’s no wonder that at least one in every two people (50%) will suffer from some form of mental health disorder at some point during their lives - look around your office - is it you or the person next to you?

Resilience and wellbeing matter - The fact is that no strategic business asset can maintain its value if it is not regularly maintained, and this is especially true of our most important asset (ourselves).

So how do we boost our resilience and wellbeing in 2017?

1. Catch you unhelpful thinking patterns

Our thinking patterns define how we look at and respond to the world. Helpful thinking patterns lead us to experience the joys of life while unhelpful thinking patterns can send us on a road to despair, depression and burn out. The three unhelpful thinking patterns to watch out for are:

-      Worry - believing that the worst will happen to us (or those we care about).

-      Demand - willing the world to bend to our will (the shoulds, and musts).

-      Blame - (You made me…).

These thinking patterns have one thing in common - they put us in a position of disempowerment. To overcome the grips of unhelpful thinking patterns we firstly need to recognize them by challenging them. Start by asking firstly “Is the way I’m thinking true (where’s the evidence)?”. Secondly, (regardless of whether or not the thought is true) ask “Is this thought helpful for me right now?”. Finally, try to reframe the unhelpful thought by asking “how could I look at this in a different way?”.

2. Get in touch with your emotions

Emotions make us human, but for some of us our emotions can rule our lives. The first step to taking control of our emotions is to recognize our own signs of stress (e.g., tension, racing heart), and to take time out often to “check-in” on how we’re feeling. Once we become good at recognizing our emotions (and when they get the better of us), we can take two different courses of action to regain control:

  1. Problem solving: Many of us are great problem solves when it comes to our work tasks, we’re methodical, we consider many different angles and are able to come up with a number of solutions which may solve our issue. Unfortunately, when it comes to personal issues our problem solving skills often go unused. The next time you have a personal issue that causes you stress start with a pen and paper and work through your problem in the same way as you would a work task. You may be surprised at how small big issues can become once broken they’re down.
  2. Adaptive coping strategies: Adaptive strategies allow us to relax and regain focus. Slow deep breathing, guided meditations, and listening to music are simple effective and free coping strategies that work for many people looking to overcome stress. A note of caution on coping strategies is that any strategy that is used in excess can become a cause of stress in itself (e.g., reliance on alcohol to relax).

3. Take control of your lifestyle

It’s now undeniable that there is a connection between the body and the mind with good nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep vital ingredients to strong wellbeing. Unfortunately, when we’re stressed we tend to go for the easy options (e.g., comfort foods, binge watching Netflix) however while these may seem beneficial in the short term (immediately relieve stress), they’ll lead to worsened wellbeing in the long term. Taking a disciplined approach to nutrition, exercise, and sleep is one of the best ways to boost wellbeing long term.

4. Start with your why

Life should be enjoyed. So many of us get stuck in the day to day rut of work that we lose sight of our dreams. To boost wellbeing long term do one thing every day that connects you to your long term dreams and the legacy that you’d like to leave behind.

The One Resolution You Should Make

This year when your setting your new year’s resolutions there is one thing that you can do that if done will make everything else easier or unnecessary - focus on building your resilience and personal wellbeing.

HR Business Direction can assist you with creating a resilient workforce.


Alistair Kerr, MPsychOrg; PostGradDip Psych; BPsych

Organisaitonal Development Strategist | Psychologist

07 3890 2066

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