Who in the world taught us that it is proper and acceptable to make New Year's resolutions? And why is it the most popular thing to do at the start of the year? People expect it. You'll see television news crews roaming the streets asking, "What resolutions have you made this year?" Most people will rattle off at least the top three:
- Lose weight
- Quit smoking
- Make more money
There are all sorts of lists compiled that cover the "top 10 resolutions people make" but what's interesting is these lists rarely change from year to year. We all keep making the same promises to ourselves. Think about it: How many times have you resolved to lose weight? I know. Me too.
But here's good news to get us all off the hook. Resolutions do not work. No this is not a profound revelation but that's beside the point. It seems we still haven't gotten it yet or we would stop doing it. But think about what a resolution is. The very nature of the word has doomed us to defeat from the very beginning. To resolve means to "solve again." Really? There you have it. The real reason you're not getting what you want year after year.
You see, on a psychological level it looks like this: You make a statement that says you will "solve again" that problem of last year. You get fired up, motivated or inspired. This time it will work! You write it down. You tell people. Two weeks in you realize it's not as easy as you thought. A month later you've changed your mind. You get discouraged and believe that maybe things just don't work for you, that you just have no commitment, or maybe you are so screwed up it really will take divine intervention to get you right. Six months later you find that piece of paper again. You try to "solve again" that problem and the cycle repeats.
But take heart because it's not your fault! No one has taught you how to stop solving again! It's not about re-solving. It is about a 3 step process that will kick your solving again problems for good.
1. Decide. Decide is one of my favorite words! I know that sounds really geeky but there is power in decision. At its true root meaning, decide means to cut off or kill. Think about the power in that. When you decide, you become a strategic thinker. You get involved emotionally, you begin to attach a consequence to your decision. You know that if you don't do this, that won't happen. Decision paralyzes procrastination. It defeats laziness and it kicks apathy's butt out the door. When you decide you will, you will! You decided you would get married. You did. You decided you would have kids. You did. You decided you would read this blog post. Good on you.
2. Create ONE Habit. Experts say 21 days and you'll be doing things without thinking about it, otherwise known as a habit. I don't know about all that. How long did it take you to make a habit of brushing your teeth? Twenty-one days, three days, three months, whatever. When you establish a habit you are training your body, your mind, and your environment to align with your decision. I've heard it said if you don't like doing something, but you want the result that doing it will bring, make it habit. Sooner or later you won't have to think it anymore, it will be part of you. Not doing it would be more difficult and strange. All you need is one. One repeated action over the course of whatever time, done the same way over and over again. One habit of getting up on time sets off a chain reaction of events that will rocket launch you in ways you could never predict.
3. Go back to number 1. That's right, make your decision again. Everyday is a new day. We've already forgotten about 2012. People are ready for you to move on already. Yesterday was good for you, congratulations. But do it again. Before your feet hit the floor decide who you will be today. Decide how you will be. Decide when. Then get up and all day, make that same decision. Pretty soon you'll realize it's really not about the goal you're setting out to accomplish. It will be who you become in the process.
You might not even realize it but there is already a certain level of commitment in you. How do I know? Because at some point in your life before reading this post you have re-solved a problem. Now you can use this simple process, with focus and purpose to move your life forward. Happy YOU Year. It's going to be your best one yet!
**What's your 2013 decisions and habit? Leave a comment below and let's continue the discussion!**