It’s that time of year again. Time to figuratively (or literally) clean out our closets from last year’s missed opportunities and set new goals for the shiny new year. The sad thing is that 99% of people who set New Year’s resolutions begin their quest with conviction but soon slip back into the same pattern of behavior they were trying to change. Have you ever wondered why there are so many unfulfilled beginnings?
I think the number one reason is that we underestimate the difficulty associated with the change. It’s easy to put down a conviction on a piece of paper, but giving up that dessert, putting down that cigarette or waking up an hour earlier to go to the gym are really hard changes. We also don’t always see tangible progress right off the bat. We live in a society that craves instant gratification. Yet most of the results we desire from such changes don’t happen overnight, and when we don’t obtain immediate success, we quit.
I think of the story of young Nancy Murky who was diagnosed with polio at the age of ten. Her therapy called for her to swim to strengthen her muscles and she would go the to pool and practice swimming every day. It took her one full year to be able to swim from one end of the pool to the other. At the age of nineteen she won the U.S. National Freestyle swimming championship. I have to think, how many of us would have made it past that first year, that first month, that first week!
So as you approach your resolutions this year. Start with something that is attainable. Small wins are much better than large losses. Remember to keep your primary tasks primary (put first things first as Steven Covey says). Don’t stray from your convictions and don’t be swayed by the limitations of others. Others will always try to set your agenda and those with weaker convictions will tell you “it can’t be done”. Be part of the 1% that keeps its resolution. Happy New Year!