Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Won’t Stick

Some people won’t even make New Year’s resolutions anymore. Not because they don’t want to improve their lives, but because they’ve tried and failed so many times, they’ve given up. It’s not the resolution maker who’s the failure, it’s the methodology we’ve been using to try and bring about radical change in our lives.

To add something to your life, you have to give something up. I believe this is the number one reason why most people fail at changing their lives. They don’t want to give anything up – they just want to add more! Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have vowed to start exercising. You already have a full life, you’re not spending hours sitting on the couch staring at the ceiling longing for something to do. You already feel like your days are too short. But you make the resolution that you will exercise for at least an hour everyday. You plan to get up an hour earlier.

This plan is DOOMED I tell you! DOOMED! You probably don’t get enough sleep as it is! You can’t simply dip even further into your already depleted reserves! You might make it for a week or two, until the sheer exhaustion forces you to hit snooze and beat yourself up for being such a weak willed failure.

Here’s the real deal – to add anything, you HAVE to give something up. To add an hour of exercise each day, you have to decide what current activity you are willing to give up (sleep doesn’t count – most people aren’t getting the eight hours they need already). Are you willing to stop watching your favorite television program? Are you going to spend less time with your children or your significant other or your friends? These aren’t easy choices, but they are the ones that have to be made if you really are going to change your life.

The same choice has to be made if you are going to change something in your business. If you want to expand into new territory – what are you willing to give up? Your smaller clients? Your lean staffing? Your low payroll? To add something new, you have to give something up or the addition will never happen. The key to success is making this choice consciously.

This is harder than you think – most people do not want to give up anything. They want to keep all their old habits and routines AND have the results of their new activity. I am telling you, you have no room in your current life for any additions. You have got to let something go. Want to be more organized? What current activity are you going to give up to get the time to be organized? Want to lose weight? What current food based activities are you willing to give up? What are you willing to give up that will give you the time to prepare low calorie meals and to learn about nutrition? Want to meet new people? Advance at work? What are you currently doing that you are willing to give up to create the required time to pursue those goals?

This process requires being honest on your part. You may say, “There is no way I’m willing to give up any of my time with my children to start exercising.” Okay, then you can either 1.) find something else to give up, 2.) exercise with your kids (but realize the limitations and have reasonable expectations), or 3.) admit to yourself that exercising isn’t as important to you as the other things in your life.

This process will help clarify what is really important to you. It will help you realize that your life is the result of a series of choices you make. The key to having the life you want is making these choices consciously.

To summarize:

Realize you can’t have it all and stop trying to -you only set yourself up for failure.

Decide what you are willing to give up in order to have something else.

Truly let go of the things you are not willing to make time for. Celebrate the time with your children, don’t spend it beating yourself up over not exercising.

All of your goals don’t have to be accomplished today. Maybe you spend time with your children now while they are young, and you launch your exercise program when they are older.

Stop comparing yourself with others. Some people may seem to have it all, but trust me, they don’t. They made choices too. I can spend hours in the gym because I made the choice not to have children. And this life is all about what brings YOU joy, not what others are doing. They might be making more money, but they may have a lot more stress. You can’t know what their lives are really like, so stop thinking about it. You get one shot to live YOUR life.

If you will use this method of consciously choosing how you will spend your time, and as a result, how you will live your life, you’ll have a lot more happiness. Just remember, for lasting change decide exactly what you will give up to add the new behavior. Here’s to a great new year!



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