It’s that time of the year again, and you’re scribbling down potential New Years resolutions on a cocktail napkin at your company’s holiday party.
You’re excited for the change: you can just see yourself in that bikini/car/house/condo in Fiji. What better time to finally hammer down on your goals than New Years?
It’s a definite and concrete point in time for change, and although you know the date is arbitrary, it just feels different—2012 will roll over to 2013, which might as well be a new decade as far as you’re concerned, and you’re going to party it up on December 31st so that you can have one last smoke or chocolate cake before the new you emerges on January 1st.
This all sounds great in theory, but unfortunately, it’s likely that you’ve already failed before you even began. Here are five reasons why your New Year’s resolution was destined to fail right from the start.
When you say that you want to do something but you don’t feel it down in your bones, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.To succeed, you need to want something so much that you’re willing to do almost anything to achieve it.
With all change, there comes a time when the going is going to get tough, and if you don’t have enough emotional intensity behind your resolution, your resolve will easily wear down. When that happens, it’s only a matter of time until your new resolution is but a distant memory.
Some people get up every day at 5AM and go running. Others exercise every day after work, and there are those who make it to the gym 3 or 4 times a week. All of these people have different standards for the dedication they give to their health and body.
The state of anything in your life is a direct reflection of the standards you hold yourself to: anyone can literally see your standards by looking at your body—whether you smoke, have ambition, work out, etc.
If you want to quit smoking, then you have to hold your health at a higher standard. If you want to lose weight, you have to hold the appearance of your body at a higher standard, and you must hold to this standard with everything you have.
If you decide that you want to stop smoking, but you keep ashtrays in your house (just in case), you’re not willing to burn your boats—your whole heart isn’t into the attempt, and you’re going to fail the first time your willpower is challenged. If you really want to resolve to do something, put yourself in a situation where you can’t go back at all, or at least not without great difficulty.
Burn your boats and believe that you’re going to find a way or make a way to stick to this.
Internal motivations are always stronger than external motivations, and internal motivations that are backed by a strong emotional desire are always stronger than internal motivations backed by a weak emotional desire.
Make sure that your reasons aren’t external, and that they align with your values and beliefs. Then, back those reasons with strong emotions to increase your chances of success. If doing so just isn’t possible, maybe this particular resolution isn’t what you truly want.
Do you find yourself saying to people, “that’s just who I am” whenever you talk about a weakness of yours? Maybe you’ve always been “big-boned” or “temperamental” or “distracted”. You may wish to resolve to be more organized, but you believe that you’re a “naturally disorganized” person.
You can’t resolve to make a chance that goes against your beliefs about your “self”: those beliefs are limitations, and you haven’t believed in them since birth. You can either choose to believe something else, or choose to hold on to that belief. If you choose the latter, don’t try to make a resolution that contradicts it since you will inevitably fail.
Now, how resolute are you really? Take a look at your resolutions and find where your weak spots are—be honest and true to yourself.
If you really want change, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of only wishing for something. It’s true that when you fail, you won’t be disappointed, but it also means that you’ll never make progress. Progress is growth and growth is life, so aim for some personal growth this year and make 2012 the best year yet.
Featured photo credit: Fortune teller with her crystal ball via Shutterstock
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