How have you gone with your New Years Resolution (NYR)? Statistics show that after 6 months, more than 50% of people who made a serious NYR have failed to see them through. After 12 months, more than 90% of people have failed. It makes you wonder why with those kind of statistics one would even bother thinking about New Year's resolution? In January, I shared techniques for setting a new years resolution that will help you stay focused. However, the thing we need to keep in mind is that a NYR is all about change – serious change, and what better time to start making a change in your life than today. Anyone who sets a NYR is a person who wants to see change. New Years Day is only one day. You don’t need to wait until the next one comes around to make changes that will improve your kind of life. Do it now!
Anyone who has ever tried to change any part of his or her thinking, emotions, or behaviour knows that it can be a difficult task. The question that we need to ask ourselves is: Why do we have such a hard time making important changes in our lives?
Let’s face it. Change is difficult. There is an old saying. “If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is”. Quick and easy methods that we so often see can often leave you feeling like a failure. Not only does change bring challenges, we have to face hurdles and baggage that may have been in our way for many years, maybe even from our childhood.
Types of baggage include low self-esteem, anger, fear of failure, perfectionism, a need to control, and need to please. These cause us to respond in our thoughts, feelings and behaviours as we would have when we were children, rather than how we should as adults. These behaviours, and the emotions that associated with them are learned, and are often difficult to break through, although far from impossible.
Foundations for Change
Change starts when we come to realise that it is too painful to continue doing what we are doing. In life we are all motivated by two things - pain and pleasure. Everything we do is either out of our desire to gain pleasure or our need to avoid pain. We will actually do more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure.
Pain can be an incredible motivator for change. I remember stepping on a broken piece of cup a few months ago. The direction my foot travelled (down) changed rapidly once I experienced enough pain to register the fact that something needed to change. Now you might say, “Well that’s obvious!” but that is exactly how things are in our life also.
Change also requires that you exercise courage. Change requires risk, and this can often scare people away from going for it. The courage to change means that we are going to have to be willing to acknowledge and confront certain aspects of our lives, and this is something that some people don’t find very easy.
Because change is uncertain, the only way to change is to take a leap of faith that involves a fundamental belief in the vision of who, what, and where we want to be in the future.
One thing we need is a realisation that hurdles and obstacles to change exist, and a determination to clear those hurdles and obstacles is necessary as we pursue our goals.
... Part 2 next month...