Friday, December 21, 2007

Your Path to a Successful Resolution


For many people this is the last week before they change their lives forever. This is the last week of gluttony before they begin to eat their new diet, this is the last week of sloth before they decide to exercise, or this is their last week of greed before they begin to spend more time with their families. This is the week of high hopes and good intentions, the week where everyone is planning on becoming better.

Unfortunately, the reality for the majority of resolutioners is that this is the last week you will have hope, because most resolutions don’t make it out of the first month.

This doesn’t mean that we sack our hopes and continue with the status quo. This doesn’t mean that we throw our goals out the window and succumb to the life we are tired of living. This does mean that we need to understand why we fail so that we have the ability to continue once failure happens. Failure doesn’t stop our resolutions, quitting does. One (quitting) we have complete control over and the other (failure) we have partial control over.

The first reason our resolutions don’t work is because we fail to talk to ourselves correctly. When we make resolutions we frequently use the word “don’t”. “Don’t eat too much food”, “don’t miss the day at the gym”, “don’t waste the day”. When it comes to focus, your mind doesn’t recognize the word “don’t” and because of this we create a negative self-fulfilling prophecy which empowers exactly what we are trying not to do. If we put a purpose to our thinking then we have a more powerful thought process. "I am going to the gym today because………” allows us to focus on why we are doing what we are going to do and takes out the passive nature of “don’t”. When we speak to ourselves powerfully, we create powerful thinking, which then creates empowerment.

The second reason resolutions fail is because we attach our goals to people outside of ourselves. “I am going to spend more time with my family because they need to see me more often” is a great resolution but is essentially generic and external. Half of this resolution is dependant on the idea that your family will be around to spend time with you. Any changes we make in life need to be selfish acts. This does not mean that you are a selfish person; it just means that you need to take control over you before you can become anything to someone else. When we act on the behalf of others, they have the control. When control is outside of ourselves then we don’t stand a chance to make the change because we don’t have the investment in change.

The final reason resolutions fail is because we are afraid to fail. Our fear of failure allows us to back out once things get tough. By doing this we are able to justify to ourselves that we chose to quit, we didn’t fail the task. Your reality is that if you are making a resolution, at some point you will fail, temptation during the initial stages of change are just too great. Failure however is not the end point of the journey, instead it is a new beginning where you are able to start off smarter then you were the last time you started. If you are unwilling to accept your role in failure then you are destined to repeat the same exact failure. If you are willing to see your fault, then you are willing to go beyond fear and enter empowerment, which ultimately will create the change you are seeking.

If you are among the millions of people who make resolution at this time of year, remember that without the power of you, your resolutions don’t stand a chance. If your current state of mind won’t allow you to commit, then save yourself the time and don’t try to fake the commitment. If you are seeking change in life you need to understand that resolutions aren’t a once a year thing, resolutions are an every day effort that ebbs and flows with the demands and changes of your life; once you are ready to accept them.

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