I hereby resolve…blah…blah…blah
The best resolution you could make in January is to not make a New Year’s Resolution. They rarely work, and tying them to the New Year nearly ensures they never will.
Last year I reported that 97% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight actually weigh more 12 months later. New Year’s Resolutions enrich companies selling diets and ab-duction machines, but they don’t effect real change.
A New Year’s Resolution is almost always focused more on celebrating the decision than on resolving to be different. There isn’t a wit of difference between Mardi Gras and New Year’s Resolutions. Both of these “decision” mechanisms are built on putting things off until a special date where you can then celebrate the decision to start losing weight, working out, spending time with family, or giving up smoking.
Until then, you can go on pigging out, being mean, ignoring family and smoking like a chimney. Now that you’ve announced you will quit on some future date, your self-destructive behavior is actually permissible to “get it out of your system”. Mardi Gras and New Years makes your actions downright celebrated – get your glutton on, because soon you’ll be in a forsaken and tortured desert of good living.
Getting Ready to Get Ready to…
Here’s a clue – the more you need to point to January 1 as the day “I will absolutely start doing or stop doing x”, the less you probably mean it. If it’s important, change now. If you have to walk on coals or chant at your vision board to prepare for the big day, you can save yourself some self-imposed guilt and just keep going with what’s not working.
My mother passed away a few weeks ago. She used to tell me, “Chuck, there’s no such thing as excuses, there’s not even reasons, there are just priorities.” She lived that out well, making no excuses and simply doing the things she found important. She didn’t live to make decisions on special days; she just DID what she VALUED.
How to Change Something
We do what is a priority, not what we SAY is a priority. Last year I gave you three few practical suggestions on how to DO our priorities. I added a fourth this year:
1) Don’t “get motivated” Most of this walk-on-coals stuff is emotion-based and has no lasting power. You’re either committed or you aren’t. I don’t get motivated to brush my teeth. I either do it or I don’t.
2) Run toward something, not away from something. People who want to lose weight rarely lose any. “I want to stop being fat,” is running away from being fat. “I see myself living a great lifestyle,” is running toward something. Run toward a great life, not away from being fat. Read, Get a Second Planet.
3) Make decisions through a new lens. See yourself and/or your business AS IF YOU WERE ALREADY THERE. Read last years New Year’s Resolution post on how Peter Arnell went from 406 lbs to 150 lbs and stayed there. If you can’t already CLEARLY envision yourself exercising three times a week, don’t even start.
4) Diligence, not Discipline – Anybody can have the DISCIPLINE to do something for 30 days. But few people will have the DILIGENCE to continue for the rest of the year. Diligence is a drip system. Do the right thing a little bit every day – it will add up to something big down the road. Diligent rules; discipline drools.
The above four steps are all about intentionality vs. hope. Intention is the key because:
You get what you intend, not what you hope for.
New Year’s Resolutions are full of emotion-based “hope”. Real decisions are full of intention and don’t need a special day or audience to be walked out into the open.
Don’t get there. Be there.
Don’t gin up the motivation to do something on a special day. Just start living the way you know will make you more successful. Today. It’s OK to cheat on your New Year’s Resolution and start it a few days before January 1. Especially if you actually want to change.
Where do you want to be in 2013? Tell the world here, be there inside today, and then let’s go do it on the outside for the whole year. Carpe Diem – seize TODAY and enjoy doing changing something that will make your life, and maybe even your checking account, richer.