We are mere days away from celebrating the start of a new year. As 2013 is gently laid to rest, 2014 will be born with all the energy, excitement and optimism that accompanies each new year.
Many of us use the time between Christmas and New Year to meticulously write out our list of resolutions of all the many things we will do differently starting the moment we open our eyes on the morning of January 1.
And this time we mean it.
And most of the many will break those resolutions before we go to bed on the night of January 1.
I have never been either a fan or an advocate of new year’s resolutions as they are far too hastily compiled. Many resolutions make the list without any thought attached to them and are easily broken, discarded and forgotten because a goal, without a commitment, is like a car without an engine – it’s not going anywhere.
Many people have told me that years and years of making and breaking resolutions have trained them to no longer even make the effort but instead to live their lives behind a mask of happiness which they wear daily to disguise the sadness and emptiness that resides within their souls.
Years of repeated failure to successfully implement the changes that they wish to enjoy in their lives have left them believing in what the experts call “Learned Helplessness” – a false sense that there is no point in even trying anymore.
So we affix that mask of happiness even tighter and go out into the world with our fixed grins and false swaggers.
That is no way to live.
So let’s, each of us right now, make this New Year’s resolution:
I HEREBY RESOLVE TO MAKE NO MORE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS – EVER!
If we are serious about making any changes in our lives let’s not make any haphazard, quasi-serious, poorly thought out, spur of the moment semi-commitments to something where the odds are heavily stacked against us.
Instead, let’s approach this as a serious project to be researched, analyzed, planned and executed.
Let’s begin by taking the time to clearly define and articulate exactly, precisely what it is we want.
Now, more importantly, let’s answer this question: what will achieving this goal do for me?
In answering this question, take as much time as you need to really address the following;
- What, and how much, pleasure will achieving this goal bring into my life?
- What, and how much, pain will achieving this goal remove from my life.
Once you have done this you are ready to address the most important question of all; how important is it to gain that much pleasure and/or to avoid that much pain? How badly do I want this?
This is the pivotal question. If you cannot answer this question with laser-like clarity and if the pleasure that achieving this goal will bring you is pleasure that you can happily live without, and if the pain that achieving this goal will remove from your life is not really that much pain at all, then the likelihood of you staying the course – doing what must be done to achieve the goal over time – is extremely remote.
The real question you’re asking yourself here is, “How important is it to me to have the things that achieving my goal will bring into my life?”
And the answer is, if you want any chance of really achieving that goal, it better be hugely important, massively important, enormously important and damn important.
Remember, we only ever do one thing – we do what is important in the moment. So, if we can easily live without the pleasure that achieving this goal will bring us, and comfortably live with the pain that not achieving it will leave us to bear, then there is a strong probability that our goal will enjoy the same fate as all those many New Year’s resolutions from years past.
Remember, we are already committed to the very behaviors that produce the very results that we wish to change. If we weren’t committed to them, we wouldn’t keep doing them.
If we really wish to change, we must begin with an unstoppable commitment to maintaining the new behaviors that will bring new results, along with new pleasures, and without old pains, into our lives.
To do this requires far more than a split second, random decision to make a New Year’s resolution.
If it is important enough, crucial enough and vital enough then, the possibility of failure will be permanently removed as an option and we will face each day with the joyful knowledge that new pleasures will soon be ours to enjoy as existing pains will soon fade into distant memory.
And that, my friends, is an amazing way to begin a new year.
Happy New Year.
Till we read again.