Statistics show that only 8-9% of the people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually keep them. Why is that? Most people regard resolutions as a form of goal-setting. All the advice is about setting and reaching your goals. The problem with this approach is that the original meaning of goal is “limit, obstacle or boundary.” If you are chasing a goal, you are unconsciously buying into the idea of creating limits and obstacles for yourself. Thus, the New Year’s resolutions don’t stick, and actually create obstacles.
Another reason New Year’s Resolutions rarely work is they start from a place of judgement. Rather than looking at what would be fun for you, you look at what you don’t like. Perhaps you look at your body, judge it, and decide you weigh too much. So then, you set a goal to lose weight. Or you decide you’ve been spending too much time working, and should be spending more time with the family. So you set a goal to cut back on working, decide to relax more and hang out with the kids. None of these things are wrong. But when you choose to change something in your life because you are judging that it is not good enough or that you are not good enough, you will not stick with your choice. You will eventually give up and quit and then you have something else to judge you for. So much for a Happy New Year.
What’s the solution?
If New Year’s Resolutions don’t really work, is giving up the alternative? Should we all just resign to accept our lot in life and do the best with what we have? That is one choice; but not the one I recommend. Something greater is possible. You can choose a life that you love waking up to every single day.
Here are my top three tools on how to create the change you desire:
1. Lose the goals. Set targets.
When we set goals, it’s not long until we lose interest or enthusiasm for that goal. When we don’t “succeed” from our point of view, we immediately start judging ourselves. Thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough,” or “I don’t deserve my goals,’” start running through your head.
Targets are different than goals. For starters, a target doesn’t come from judging you. A target comes from looking at what would be fun for you rather than looking at what is wrong with you that you should change.
Another thing about targets is that when you are aiming for a target, what is commonly considered as “failure” just becomes feedback. This feedback is information that can help you adjust your aim and come closer to your target next time. It’s a much healthier and more empowered way of viewing the inevitable twists and turns of life. Aim for your target and if you miss, it’s no big deal. You can just aim and shoot again, and again, and again.
Some weeks you may hit it your target. Some weeks you may not. When you do hit it, you celebrate. When you don’t, you still celebrate. You don’t judge you. You don’t buy the idea that you are a failure. You acknowledge you and keep going. Targets do not include judgment. Targets can change any time you would like them to change. Targets allow for true change.
2. Choose gratitude
Creating the life you desire and implementing the changes you would like to have, all starts with gratitude. Rather than looking back and judging where you have decided you are not perfect, what if you took a moment to say thank you to you? What if you acknowledged what you have chosen? What if you were grateful for what you have created and all of the amazing things and people you have in your life?
I recommend starting a gratitude journal, and every day write 3-5 things that you are grateful for. The things we put our attention on grow bigger. When you write down the things that contribute to your life, when you acknowledge the brilliance of you, not only do you feel better, more of what you are grateful for starts to show up.
3. Make a demand
I see too many people unwilling to demand more from life. Many people see nice things others have, and think to themselves, ‘Oh, I could never have that’. What if seeing others with something can be an inspiration for you to have it too? What if you can start 2018 with the point of view of “If someone else can have something, or achieve something, maybe it means I can too?”
The New Year is the perfect time to make that demand of life. Tell yourself, “I will have it. It may take me a thousand years to have it, but I’m going to start moving toward it today.”
You are far more of a creator than you may know. Let 2018 be there year where you choose it all!
P.S. For the full article in the publication Aspiring Gentleman, and for additional tools for creating a great life and year, go here!