The Science in Tradition: How to Make Your Plans for the New Year Stick
- The Lunar New Year tradition hinges upon renewal and the change required to do so This change takes time and requires planning
- Many B2B organizations must deal with transitioning skills and abilities to accommodate change within their industries
- Make the shifts needed for your organization this year by executing a well-formed plan with a foundation of support
In the West, New Year’s is a time of celebration often accompanied by a few resolutions: eat less, work out more, exercise patience, live in the moment. In the East, New Year’s follows the lunar calendar, and it is a thing. A big thing. One of the first phrases you learn in any Asian language is “Happy (Lunar) New Year.” Lunar New Year celebrations vary from country to country, but there are themes that resonate across borders. One thing stands out most prominently: Lunar New Year’s isn’t a one-day event – it can officially last from three to seven days, especially in rural areas – in China, it often lasts a couple of weeks. The days and weeks leading up to New Year’s are all about resetting relationships, paying off debts, making peace with the past and starting new ventures. From the bell ringing in Japan to the water festivals of Thailand, there is a huge emphasis on cleansing and renewal.
The connection between what the Lunar New Year is all about – renewal – and the amount of time taken to celebrate it is not a coincidence. Change takes time. It demands planning. It requires healthy relationships and support. What I find really fascinating is that in the past five years, the advances science has made into brain mapping and understanding how the mind works completely validates those Lunar New Year traditions. You don’t shift a business, a group of people or a single individual armed with just a resolution. You make this type of shift by executing a well-formed plan with a foundation of support, persisting several weeks to several months so it sticks.
This hard truth is non-negotiable when it comes to training people. Many B2B organizations face the huge challenge of having to transition skills and abilities to compete with the changes going on in our industries. In a digital world, it is all too tempting to buy a few videos on a topic of interest, or put together a quick workshop with virtual attendees to excite and energize the team for a new goal. The reality is – a collection of videos and a two-hour lecture do about as much good as a January 1 resolution to hit the gym more often. Skills don’t change because we want them to, just as habits aren’t formed because of one moment of self-reflection.
However, skills and people can change – and change dramatically – if you execute a plan customized to their needs, carried out regularly and over several months, and focused on what working adult professionals need to know to transition skills (key point: adults learn differently). It may not be quite as explosive as the fireworks in the Chinese version of Lunar New Year, but the science in that tradition holds true for the goals and plans that lie ahead of us.
Looking to Outperform your competition in 2016? Start now by utilizing our recommended tools and resources.
Happy New Year!
Photo courtesy of IQRemix.