Claim small wins

Today I read a story about Gallup’s new book about the quest for personal happiness, Well Being: The Five Essential Elements.

In the book, Tom Rath and James K. Harter share Gallup’s worldwide research on personal wellbeing, reducing the extensive data to five broad categories:

  1. Career Wellbeing
  2. Social Wellbeing
  3. Financial Wellbeing
  4. Physical Wellbeing
  5. Community Wellbeing

In a teaser story from Gallup Management Journal, under the section heading, Working against our own best interests, the authors explain how their data showed that people often fail at changing their behaviors, even when their long term interests are destroyed by their choices today.

To help you generate that long term wellbeing you seek, the author’s encourage you to  look at today’s decisions not as consequential to your long range goals, but rather as having a real, profound impact on you today. The example they offer is:

…we’re more likely to skip a cheeseburger and fries not when we ponder the long-term risk of obesity or diabetes, but when we consider the short-term reality that devouring it will lead to a “high-fat hangover” that ruins the rest of the day. Or we might choose to exercise tomorrow morning because we know that just 20 minutes of activity can boost our mood for the next 12 hours.

Gallup, using their extensive research, seems to me to have made the case, yet again, for the validity of John Kotter’s Leading Change Step 6: Generating Short Term Wins.

Whether you’re trying to lose weight or remake a company culture, when you tie small successes today with your long term goals and let people (or yourself) win today and win often, you’ll build momentum.

The research, the data and experience prove it’s true.

Kotter believes it. Gallup believes it.  I believe it.

Will you believe it?

Will you create some wins today?

Why not try?

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