Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?
Or, even when it isn’t New Year’s, do you tend to make New Year’s Resolution style wishes for change in your life?
Take a moment and think about it, and also consider how well those type of resolutions tend to work out.
How do you feel making them?
How many times have you made the same one?
How many have lead to success?
How do you feel about them 3 months, 6 months, or 9 months later?
According to most polls, the majority of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions each year. Additionally, regardless of the time of year, a large group of people take the same approach to making changes in their lives, waiting for “the perfect moment” to start, and trying to make a drastic change.
Unfortunately, these wishes for major, near-instantaneous change often lead down unpleasant paths littered with failed efforts and damaged psyches.
As an example, according to one statistic I came across, only 8% of people find any success with New Year’s Resolutions. (I have no idea about the validity of that statistic since it was unsourced. The more important point is that regardless of the exact number, those types of resolutions don’t usually work out well.)
This means most people unwittingly set themselves up to stumble and fall — which we all do at times — and they usually end up feeling worse and less capable than before they tried to make a change.
In part due to this, for most situations, I’m not a big proponent of New Year’s Resolution style wishes.
However, even when something doesn’t work the way we wish, if we look from a different perspective, there are many good lessons to be found.
Lessons of New Year’s Resolution failure
Examining the failure of these types of resolutions, one big reason for their failure relates to how in the majority of circumstances, the most successful way to make lasting — and big — change is to take small steps, instead of giant leaps.
Regardless of the manner in which you’re looking to make change though, there is a second lesson found in the failure of New Year’s Resolution style wishes.
That second lesson is that no matter what your goal, there is an incredibly important element to understand if you want to be truly successful, and that element is your “why”.
This element — knowing your “why” — is one that’s emphasized in How to find your way in life…, and it’s one that’s important across the board.
Knowing your “why” gives you an unlimited source of motivation because your true “why” is fueled from inside and isn’t reliant on external factors that come and go.
When we look at New Year’s Resolution style wishes, we see that a big point of failure comes from the fact that their success is reliant primarily on the sheer force of a person’s willpower.
While some of the issues related to relying so much on willpower are addressed by taking a kaizen approach to change, the biggest issue that remains is that we often source our willpower’s fuel from external factors, such as “I’m going to lose this weight/quit smoking/etc. because it’s the New Year.”
Eventually, that external source disappears — e.g. come February, the New Year motivation is usually gone — and our willpower dries up.
Knowing your deep down “why” gives you a fuel source that won’t run out. It gives you drive from the inside instead of the outside. That means outside factors won’t limit you in the same way they otherwise would.
When you know your “why”, you can make mundane, unpleasant, and frustrating tasks feel worthwhile, easier to get through, and even something you look forward to.
If you hit a big hurdle, or find yourself struggling to take action, a deep-rooted “why” will give you the drive to move a step forward.
To keep moving when you have your “why”, all you need to do is to pause and deeply consider what that “why” is, and what it means.
If you remember the real deep down reason you are doing something, you draw from an energy that will get you moving again, and will almost pull you along by itself.
For example, if you’re trying to lose weight just because it’s New Year’s and that’s what people do, once a week or two passes, your reason is gone. However, if you look deeper and see that you want to lose weight to be healthier, feel younger every day, and live long enough to watch your kids grow / to grow to old age with someone, those reasons don’t disappear in a week, they stay with you to draw upon. (Of course, establishing a good strategy is important for execution of your goal. Your “why” helps you get there though.)
Why is the “why” so powerful?
The power of your “why” comes from it’s inherent nature.
Your “why” is profoundly personal.
It reaches deep down and resides close to the core of your being and the root of your own internal power.
Your “why” touches something bigger and more important than the superficial externalities we usually look towards. As a result you feel the weight of its impact on you and your world, and its meaningfulness gives you motivation.
The deeper you go to find your “why” the more powerful and more lasting it becomes.
Find your why
Understanding how your “why” can be powerful is one thing. Seeing it in action is another, and that means it’s time to go and find yours.
Pause and take the time to find your “why”, and you will see better progress than if you didn’t.
Find your “why” for whatever changes you are looking to make.
Use it to motivate you and to pull you through the times when you feel the urge to give up.
Find the “why” for the small things you do in life and they will become easier to do. (For example, doing mundane chores aren’t so hard when you realize how it makes the life of a loved one just a little bit better. Suddenly, the desire to procrastinate on those chores isn’t so strong.)
Then go and find your life’s big “why”.
New Year’s Resolutions, and that style of change-seeking usually doesn’t work very well for people.
One big reason is that people base their motivation on an external factor that eventually will disappear.
To find more success in whatever you take on, find your deeply rooted “why”.
Actions to take:
- Find your “why”.
Fellow Journeyer @ BigSkyRise
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