Why New Year's Resolutions Don't Work...
Updated: Jan 25
(and more importantly, the 3 simple steps to making them work every time)
How many times have you heard someone say that this is going to be the year they make it happen?
How many times have you said that very same thing?
And they meant it. You meant it. You really really wanted it.
It didn't happen. Why?
If you ask people about New Year's resolutions you will stir some strong opinions and emotions. Anywhere from "They're stupid!" to "This year things have GOT to change!!".
My favorite is "I'm sick and tired of the same ol' same ol'."
New Year's resolutions represent a poignant, marked moment in the clicking over from this number to the next. It says that one is gone, you can't have it back. You are a year older. Is this all it's gonna be for the rest of my life?
It's a marked moment because of the decisive change of a number that's keeping track of our time. And it places, front and center, the questions: Are you going to change what you don't like? Do you believe you can do it? Do you believe in yourself?
You've tried to change before and you didn't do it. Why would now be any different?
A better question is: What's the real reason why I stopped?
If you had just continued to pursue past resolutions, you would have, more than likely, achieved them. Right?
So why DID you stop the behavior?
1. It was too uncomfortable (difficult) and
2. You didn't expect that level of discomfort for that long
3. You convinced yourself that your effort wasn't worth it and or your efforts were a waste of your time and energy
It wasn't that you weren't succeeding. You were (trust me, you were... if you're taking action toward what you want, you are on the path to success).
BUT... at some point you decided that the success you were getting wasn't worth the discomfort you were going through. So you quit.
Or more likely, you began to talk yourself into quitting until you finally came up with a good reason justifying your decision to quit; and then you quit, because that made it feel better.
Until next year rolls around.
You allowed your focus to shift from what you wanted (your goal) to what you didn't want (being uncomfortable and wasting your efforts and time).
GOOD NEWS!!! IT'S OK.
You're not a bad or lazy person because of this. You just don't understand how to use the right mental tools to keep you going. By the way, what I just described is exactly how most everyone approaches their New Year's resolutions. And that's why they fail time and time again.
Here's how to fix it.
The 3 Simple Steps to making that resolution stick.
1. Get a VERY clear vision for what you want
2. Decide what you're willing to do and sacrifice to get it
3. Learn the subtle art of shifting your focus
What??, What's up with #3?... You thought I was gonna say something like "Never give up" or "Do it or die trying".
Stick with me here, this simple trick of learning to shift your focus is even more interesting than it sounds and it's the key to your success.
First things first. It's not enough to say "I want to be fit", "I'd like to make more money" and my favorite... "I just want to be happier".
You've got to get crystal clear about what you want and why you want it.
When you say "Get fit"– what does that mean? Lose 50 pounds, run a marathon, do 50 pushups?? What do you mean specifically?
What is "more" money? Do you want to double your income? How about turn your yearly income into your monthly income? Do you want to create another stream of income?
What is "happier"? Family, business, relationships? Is it about the amount of time you spend doing something you love, something you're passionate about? What's the thing you want to do that makes you happy and how much time do you want to be doing it, per day, per week?
This is so critical because you are going to come up against days when you feel like you're not getting anywhere. You're gonna feel down. Statements like "I'm still fat" or "I'm weak and tired" or "My business isn't getting any better" , "I spent too much money", "My relationships are crap", "I'm depressed" are going to start taking a punch at you and you are going to need a way to punch back in order to keep going.
Trust me, when this counter-attack takes place, and it will, it will come at you full force. It's your old programming and all it wants to do is get you back to "normal". It wants to put an end to all the discomfort of change.
You can't measure "happy","better", and "more" and that's exactly what you're going to need to fight back when your old self shows up and starts making the claim that all your efforts are being wasted.
I've lost "x" amount of pounds. I am running "x" amount of miles further or I'm "x" time faster. I'm now spending "x" amount of time doing something I love that brings me joy. My income has increase by "x" amount. I now have "x" more business opportunities.
You see, it's this concrete, measured information that will serve as proof that whatever argument that is being made that your efforts are being wasted, is not true.
You are a sitting duck without it.
It's critical and you can never get it if you don't get clear about just what it is that you want.
Second, decide what you're willing to do and give up in order to get it.
Sacrifice is giving something up in the short term to receive something greater in the long term.
Now is the time to have the conversation with yourself about just how uncomfortable you are willing to be to get what you want. Not when you're smack dab in the middle of your crappiest day.
Are you willing to be tired? Frustrated? Confused?
What are you going to do when you feel this way? Make the decision now. When is enough, enough for you?
I would venture to say that if you've chosen to do something that represents achieving A LOT more happiness and joy in your life, you would be willing to endure a lot to achieve it.
Make the decision now so you're not blindsided when these moments show up. You knew they were coming. Choose how you will respond now so your response is automatic. You will say: "This is just part of the process of getting what I want. I knew it was coming and I choose to keep achieving my goal."
Then pull out that concrete evidence and prove to yourself that what you are doing is working.