Forget Resolutions, Focus On Evolution
I remember hearing a story about an eight-year old girl who decided to give up pop for her New Year’s resolution. She lasted four weeks. Then one day, in a moment of weakness, she ordered a pop at the movie theater. One of her friends asked her about her resolution. She laughed and said, “Oops! I forgot, I guess I will have to give it up again next year.”
By the middle of February about 63% of all people will have failed at their New Year’s resolution. One of the problems with resolutions is that we assume one decision will fix our lives forever. Real change does not happen with one resolution, it happens when you start thinking long term. Much like the girl in the story, don’t quit once you take a step back. Don’t let one mistake or one bad week derail the promise that you made to yourself to become a better version of yourself.
Bill Gates said, “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
After being enlightened by that, I started to realize that one decision couldn’t alter my life. Rather, it is daily habits of discipline and consistency that bring about substantial change. If your goal this year is to increase your income 10%, but you only achieve 8% growth, did you really fail? What if over the next five years your income increases 55%? Then, in actuality, your income would be averaging an 11% growth thus your first year goal is a success.
Before we dive into the tips for maintaining a long-term approach to goals, let’s take a look at the positives in your life.
- You are already doing amazing work – Take a moment to reflect on the great things you are doing right now. This could be in business, health or family.
- Think about evolving rather than changing. Change is a scary word to a lot of people. If you focus each day at getting 1% better in the areas of your life, the rest will take care of yourself. You don’t have to change, just evolve into become a better version of yourself.
It’s not just about 2017.
2018 seems like a long time away, but as you think about the plans you made for 2017, were they arbitrary or based in fact? One of the best suggestions I ever heard to increase success was to sit down for a few hours each day from December 27-31st and evaluate what you did the previous year. Where did you put your time, where did you put your energy, are your relationships better or worse? How much money did you spend, and did you achieve your goals? Once you do that, you have a working framework for what needs to change. If you have no idea what you did in the past year, that’s ok. Remember we are focused on long term growth, not small sized tweaks.
- Start keeping track of the areas in your life during 2017. I focus on the number of times I eat well, exercise, read, journal, connect with clients, and waste time. Because I had all of those details from 2016, I was able to evaluate the things I needed to keep doing in 2017 and the things I needed to stop. Rather than fumbling around with what direction to choose, I knew exactly where to go and what to do.
- Make a “Stop Doing” list and a “Start Doing” list. For me, I decided that I needed to stop using my computer at night and start playing more games with my children. Because I replaced one bad habit with a better habit, it is easier for me to keep doing it for a longer time.
- Determine what habits you want to keep, but delve into the reasons why. If you need help processing that, check out the blog post Change Your Habits, Change Your Life
You may also want to read Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why or check out his world famous Ted Talk “Start With Why.”
The New Year is an exciting time to evolve into the best version of yourself. But don’t settle for a temporary change when the answers to unlocking the best version of yourself are inside of you and ready to break free.