We all want change, but only few of us really intend to change.
How often do you think to yourself, “Gee, I really want to lose a few pounds, have more energy, enjoy work and just be happier?” If you are like myself, many of my loved ones or pretty much anybody, you probably have thoughts similar to this daily. This is why we often come up with some great New Year’s Resolutions, some amazing goals to start living the life that we have always dreamed of! The problem is that most of us, regardless of how many times we swore to ourselves that we would meet our resolutions, fail miserably. Why?
Well, I think that there are three main reasons why we fail at our New Year’s resolutions, reasons that we mostly fail to consider. First, let’s start with a very common reason why we think we fail, which I argue is entirely false: the ever so popular, “I just set my goals to high.” No way! We use this excuse mostly when we encounter a little obstacle in the way of meeting our goals. On the surface this makes sense: If the goal is too lofty, we are likely to fail. The problem here is that we have been taught to create safe goals that are within our grasp (SMART goals), which suck our passion dry, mostly because these goals don’t call us to stretch ourselves to our full potential. If you really care about a goal, a resolution, then you will stop at nothing to meet that goal, leading to the real reason why we fail.
REASON 1: Our resolution was too small. It wasn’t a resolution.
Let’s think about what a resolution really means. A resolution is a declaration that is formed after putting a good amount of thinking, aligning your mind, body and spirit, and concretely declaring that you WILL make a change. Deciding to lose ten pounds is not necessarily a resolution. It can be if loosing ten pounds would require an incredible amount of personal growth, but come on, most of us can resolve far more than that. A good resolution might be that you are going to drastically improve your health. Then you can create a plan to improve your health which includes learning more about how to be healthy, getting a health coach or associating with some healthier people, establishing a workout routine, improving your diet and loosing ten pounds along the way. We fail because we haven’t made a resolution that will seriously impact our lives, leading to another huge reason why we fail: emotion.
REASON 2: We lack an emotional connection with our resolution.
Sure, we can be really smart in laying out exactly who we want to be, but to see those goals to fruition, we must step outside of our head and use our heart. So many of our goals are centered on a logical thought process: “Well, I really should get into better shape because it is important to be healthy.” While our brain has its place (mostly for helping us figure out how we will reach our goals), it is our heart that drives our commitment to each of our resolutions. Once we attach a meaningful, emotional connection to our pursuits, we become unstoppable: “I want to become a healthier version of myself, so that my wife will be inspired by me again!” Even if we have an amazing resolution, an emotional component is absolutely essential. But there is one powerful factor that can destroy even the most powerful, most emotionally charged resolution: a lack of support.
REASON 3: We need support.
Once we are emotionally invested in something meaningful, we are likely to become a bit vulnerable, especially at first. Have you ever been so passionate about something, a book, a game, a desire, a job, a person, and someone just destroyed that fire by saying something negative, destroying your hope, diminishing the value of your beloved desire? I know I have. And while this may seem out of control, it is important that we intentionally choose supportive people who will stand by us in our adventurous pursuits to fully develop ourselves.
HOW WE WIN: The cocktail for success!
So if you are tired of always failing at your New Year’s resolutions, if you are tired of failing at your goals, I encourage you to join me in the pursuit of a much brighter future. As you think about 2017, draft a resolution that would really change your life. In the current book I am reading, Millionaire Success Habits, by Dean Graziosi, Dean challenges his readers to envision their next year as the best year of their life. Think about what resolutions you could make to make 2017 the absolute best year. Then spend some time thinking about why this is important to you and attach an emotional connection to your resolution. Finally, surround yourself with others who will support you no matter what, who will only help you and never diminish the significance of your pursuit.