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Commitments and Confessions

It’s January 8. One week after New Year’s Day. Confession time—how many of you have already broken your New Year’s Resolutions? How many of you knew that you would break it, so you didn’t even bother to make one? Research shows that of the 45% of Americans that make resolutions:

  • 25% give up by the first week (TODAY!)
  • 36% give up by the first month
  • 54% give up by six months
  • 92% don’t make it to the end of the year

Why?

Typically, New Year’s Resolutions are attempts to fix something “broken” in our lives. We see something in ourselves that we don’t like and set out to solve the problem. We want to lose weight so we exercise more. We want to spend more time with our families so we plan activities and vacations. We want to become more well-rounded so we find a new hobby. All great goals, but if these were easy fixes, we wouldn’t have to resolve to try again every January 1st.

What if the key to success isn’t to find the right solution but rather to find the right problem?

There is a reason this problem exists in your life—something that is preventing you from making a lasting change. There very well may be a lot of outside forces fighting against your success, but if we’re really honest, our worst enemy is often ourselves.

To close the gap between where we are and where we want to be (we call this The Growth Gap) we believe that:

  1. We have to identify what we value and want to be true of our lives (to be healthy)–our COMMITMENT.
  2. There are things we could do to make those values a reality in our lives (get up an hour earlier to exercise)—our RESOLUTION.
  3. However, we don’t do those things because, deep down, there is a worry or fear that we may not even know about (What if I fail?)–our RESISTANCE.
  4. To protect ourselves from these fears, we do something that works against our goals (make excuses), and this shows us something else that we are committed to (not taking risks) which competes with our other values from Step 1—our COMPETING COMMITMENT.

New Year’s Resolutions generally stop at Step 2. We identify something we want to be true about us, and we set out to fix it. But without taking the time to examine why we are stuck where we are today (Steps 3 & 4), we’ll likely end up in the same place next Jan 1st.

Rather than focusing on the solution, your challenge is to spend a few moments thinking about the problem and what it can teach you about you!  What else are you committed to that is holding you back (ex: status, stability, getting along, peace, being in control, being right)?

Use that insight to form a resolution that has more than an 8% chance of success…and good luck!