Desire is the key to motivation, but it's determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal - a commitment to excellence - that will enable you to attain the success you seek. - Mario Andretti
“I never really make it past mid-February on my resolutions.”
“I know I should be doing (fill in the blank) but I just can’t get motivated.”
“I really struggle with motivation.”
“I have absolutely no willpower.”
“Once (fill in the blank) happens, then I’ll be happy/successful/fulfilled.”
Sound familiar? I know I’ve said each of those at least once in my life. There’s so much judgment in those statements. So much self-scrutiny. So much frustration and stuck-ness (yes, I made up my own word; I got stuck trying to figure out another way to articulate the essence of being stuck, but I digress). I hear these and other similar statements from my clients when they first come to me seeking a way forward. They are ready to expand their businesses and grow beyond anything they’ve ever achieved, but they are scared, and often floundering in that fear to the point of paralysis. Enter the coach - with love, magical fairy dust and a whole warehouse of tools, tips and tricks.
You might ask, “What does that list have to do with rejecting resolutions anyway?” Thank you for asking. Here’s the skinny: New Year’s Resolutions on their own are simply a statement of a hope or vision; “vision” assuming the person making the resolution proclamation has taken the step to envision the outcome of the resolution(s). Most people make resolutions and may write them down or declare their intentions on their social media pages, and yet have no plan to get there, ultimately landing on the never-ending treadmill of self-criticism and frustration, and quite possibly questioning their abilities overall. This is why I dislike resolutions so.
I advise that you reject resolutions, not because I am convinced that we are destined to fail if we set them, but unless we take the time to work all the way through the vision, seeing ourselves successfully completing in our mind’s eye, and planning the strategy from the end to the beginning, the determination and motivation most certainly will not magically appear. In order to cross the finish line, we need to train and practice and relentlessly commit to completion. Most people declare their resolutions in the excitement and rush to the new year, but peter-out in less than a month, and only 8% of all resolution makers achieve success by the end of the year. Those who “explicitly make resolutions” are 10 times more likely to attain their goal than people who do not explicitly make resolutions. What does that mean, exactly? This is where I can help.
A resolution by definition is the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. (Merriam-Webster). Therefore, we can assume that a resolution is the action necessary to change a particular behavior in order to achieve a desired outcome. We can stretch that a little to conclude that our habits and daily action steps are what will ultimately lead to behavioral change, and so, what we need is a plan that not only sets our vision, but also determines the daily action steps necessary to achieve the success we desire.
If we are rejecting resolutions, then how will we ever get things done? How will we reach our goals and achieve the level of happiness and bliss we crave? In my mind, it is relatively simple, and will begin to feel easy once you get started. Below is an outline to get you started. In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more for each area.
In this order, and until it becomes habit to do so, define your goals and the way to achieve and surpass your hopes and expectations in the following manner:
- Set your Vision. Get really involved in the outcome. Picture it. Write the story about a day in your life once you’ve achieved your desired outcome. Detail how other areas of your life will be positively impacted by achieving the outcome. This is Vision.
- Get Determined. This is not a fight. This is not a struggle. This is an unrelenting desire and commitment to see your vision through. This is your inspiration. WHY is achieving this outcome important to you? What specifically will you gain? In understanding this, your determination will build.
- Make a Plan (and stick to it). You may need to adjust your plan, but start with one. Once you have your vision and determination, the plan will help you feel less daunted by the mountain you are about to climb. My favorite method is to work the plan backward from the finish line to the starting line. Chunk it down into incremental (not baby) steps.
- Get Strategic. What roadblocks will you likely encounter? (Hint: roadblocks are usually self-imposed; you’re welcome for that insight). What are you willing to do to work around those roadblocks? What happens if you get distracted or discouraged? What will you do then? How will you complete the daily steps to get closer to the finish line? THIS is your strategy. Specific work-arounds to roadblocks and specific daily inspired action steps.
- Create Motivation. Notice I didn’t say “find motivation” or “get motivated”. Nope. Create it. Your inspiration will fuel your motivation, and sometimes that is where the good ‘ole “fake it till you make it” comes in really handy. How do you need to feel every day to take the steps you know you need to take to get closer to your goals? How will you feel when you cross the finish line? How can you create that feeling naturally?
I invite you to take a few minutes to hand write your initial responses to each of the steps above for one of your goals. Start with one for today. Sit with your notes and contemplate how you feel. Allow the thoughts and feelings to marinate and become real to you. This is moving you in the direction of achieving your goals. Is this a resolution? Yes, AND now you are resolving on your terms. Set yourself up for success and see your vision through.
Please share your thoughts and insights in the comments section below. I’ll be back to share more and to support you.
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Blessings. Gratitude. Love.
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