First of all... Happy New Year! I, like many of you, hoisted my champagne glass, tooted my party horn, and hugged and kissed my friends at the strike of 12 all in celebration of the new year.
Isn't it exciting? Simply crossing the threshold from one year to the next somehow rekindles our hopes and dreams, bathing us in an ocean of possibility.
So, with all the promise that a new year holds, a great majority of us have again made certain decisions, large and small on things we would like to change this revolution around the sun. Of course I'm speaking of New Year's resolutions. The idea being to take a little time to reflect on our lives and decide what changes we would like to make. This moment when the calendar resets seems ripe to make any course corrections on our journey to move more fully into the life we most deeply dream of living.
Sounds like powerful stuff. However let's be honest, most New Year's resolutions -- including many of my own -- have, in the past, carried as much substance behind them as a National Enquirer article. "This year I'm going to lose 20 pounds and keep it off. And in other news, three-headed winged triplets return from year long stay on Mars."
Why is this? Well, for years I blamed New Year's Day. I mean, New Year's Eve is great, but New Year's day, talk about anti-climatic. Just hours before I was on top of the world and went to sleep counting my blessings, dreams whirling in my head, and anticipation for the coming year coursing through my veins... and by "anticipation" I mean champagne, but the point is, I'm feeling great. Then I wake up New Year's Day and....everything is the same as it was!
I'm in the same bed, the same small apartment, the same dust is on my guitar, the same bills, the same phone calls I need to return, the same money issues. Where's my new Rosario Dawson look-a-like girlfriend, my lime green Lamborghini? It doesn't seem that I'm scheduled to appear on Letterman any time soon, and, to my knowledge, not only have I not received a pleading letter from Calvin Klein himself that I be this year's CK lead male model, but I actually think I have gained a few pounds since last night.
In the past I would really ponder this dilemma, for at least a good 2-3 minutes, and then I'd remember that someone had sent me a YouTube video I needed to watch, I had to call my parents to wish them a Happy New Year, and I needed to go to the store if I wanted to eat anything, as I had finished off the last of the cereal and OJ when I got in last night. Bottom line, before I new it, I was back in the throes of "business as usual." Life went on as it did before, and I was generally too busy to notice. That is, until Dec. 31st rolled around, when once again I would promise myself that this time it would be different.
This year, again with resolutions on my mind, I was in the grocery store New Year's eve, and I asked one of the workers if she had any...to which she replied, "same as last year, gotta quit smoking...(then with a slight laugh) but I know I'm not gonna."
Were we alone in this morbid cycle? Well, according to a recent study the answer to that riddle is a resounding "no." It said that literally 90% of all New Year's Resolutions last 10 days or less. 90%! That makes this problem one of epidemic proportions. It basically means that 90% of us are living the same year over and over. I heard a speaker say it this way..."Some of us will live 90 years, but most will live one year 90 times."
So how do we change this? Or more accurately, how do we change?
Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to be looking at the "art" of making change. Now I could have said "science" -- and that would have been equally true -- but one of the first keys is to "making change" is changing the way we hold "making change." Science appeals to the logical, rational part of the brain, little emotion, little feeling, which is where most of our society lives, most of the time. The "art" of something appeals to our creativity and our passion, full of emotion and feeling. This is no small difference. Science has shown it to be paramount in making lasting change. (And yes, I get the irony of using science to prove the importance of not using a scientific approach to making change).
What it means is that we are much more likely to actually change something if we have a strong feeling or emotion tied to the change, than if we simply have logical reasons for wanting it.
In business, salespeople are taught that people make buying decisions based on emotion, and justify their decisions with logic.
Car salesmen are experts at this. First, you go for a test drive, you touch the leather seats, you hear the Bose surround sound, you experience the power of the 6 cylinder engine at your command, and you feel the wind in your hair with the top down. Then and only then do you talk about price. They know that if they can create a great feeling, one that you attach to owning the car, they've got you. Then all that's left is to figure out the logistics of what monthly payment you can afford using some Einsteinian algorithm that I have yet to comprehend, but that's another story).
The point is that desire is the first step in creating change. We do have to want it. But our logical society has us wanting things logically. I should quit smoking because it's bad for me, because it causes cancer, or because it's such a waste of money. However these "logical" reasons are no match for the "feeling" that nicotine creates in our system, or should I say the lack of nicotine creates. Withdrawal is not a good feeling and therefore we throw logic out the window and once again promise ourselves that we will quit tomorrow.
Incidentally, studies have shown that out of all the methods and products used to help people stop smoking, two things are far and away the best cures for permanently quitting.
1. Having a doctor tell you that you are literally going to die soon if you don't stop.
2. A child being born into your family.
These two things create a massive feeling to want to live. A feeling that is stronger than the temporary discomfort of withdrawal. Quitting now becomes, not only possible, but permanent.
So the first challenge of our 2010 Keep the Change series is to go through your list of resolutions and ask yourself why you want them. Do you have a list of logical reasons? Or does the mere thought of making this change create a strongly desired feeling inside of you? Narrow your list to only those that elicit strong positive "feelings" in you when you think about them.
This will give you a great head start on keeping the changes you want, and making 2010 a truly new year.
Peace and Innergy,
The Baietto Brothers
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