The statistics are in on how well we keep New Year’s Resolutions and it doesn’t look good. Forbes Magazine reports that while 40% of us make New Year’s resolutions, just 8% actually follow through on those goals. We rarely get to February before we’re reminded that every year we make new year’s resolutions, and every year we fail. We just can’t seem to stay committed, enthusiastic, or determined enough to keep our good intentions. But the word “resolution” is simply another way to express the desire for change. And when you discover the secrets to real change, your resolutions will start to stick.
One of those secrets is size. In my book “Jolt: Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing,” I reveal that resolutions need to be big enough to matter. Most people don’t change little things, so start with the biggest areas of your life that need to change and need to change now. I call these changes “revolutionary” because they are serious, critical, and there’s no turning back.
Revolutionary changes signal to your family and friends that this year, your life is going in a new direction. Whatever those changes may be for you, make them big and make them loud. Once you’ve figured out the list of those revolutionary changes, here are some tips for making those resolutions stick:
1. There Can Be No Other Choice. We usually think hitting bottom is the end, but the truth is, it can be a new beginning. I’ve discovered that if there’s any other option, most people will take it. The vast majority of new year’s resolutions fail because the stakes simply aren’t high enough. When it’s not important, we don’t take our resolutions seriously. What do you need to change that’s really “life or death” for you? An extra ten pounds might not be much to most people, but for a model, actress, or athlete, it could kill a career. Don’t make a resolution unless it’s really critical.
2. Change What Matters. Take control of your priorities, and you’ll take control of your life. We often fail because we don’t take the time to decide what’s really important. A promotion has little value if it comes at the expense of your family. Most of us float through life never giving a though to what we want to be remember for accomplishing. My advice? Stop spending so much time on what other people think is urgent, and spend more time on what really matters to you.
3. Eliminate Destructive Distractions. Release the negative baggage from your life. Stop re-living your last failure and start focusing on the future. The divorce, firing, bankruptcy, or other disaster in your past does not determine your future. I was fired from my job at 36 and now, two decades later I realize it was the best thing that could have happened. You can’t see what’s coming if you’re looking in the rearview mirror. As long as you dwell in the past, you’ll never discover your destiny.
4. Finally, Build a Motivation Machine. Discover the difference cheerleaders can make. Long ago, athletes discovered the power of a cheering section. As you work through the most challenging aspects of personal change, you need people who believe and will encourage you, so go public with your new dreams. Get rid of the negative people in your life, and surround yourself with people who are convinced of your possibilities!
Start thinking now about how you’d like your life to change in 2014. Even in February, it’s not to late to start the journey…