Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Make Resolutions Anyway

(All New Years statistics for this post were gathered from StatisticBrain)
Only 8% of us who make resolutions this year will achieve them. This fits in perfectly with the First Law of Decline.  This law is also known as Sturgeon's Law and it states that just about 90% of everything is simply crud. An excerpt from LeaderShift by Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille explains it this way:
Since 90 percent of anything is crud, likewise 90 percent of the alleged leaders [...] are producing cruddy results. It's not that people are crud. In fact, they may be part of the 10 percent in other areas. [...] Understanding Sturgeion's Law helps us study the leadership teams honestly and not be fooled by the endless talk with no results. "When all is said and done, much more is said than ever done." The 10 percent walk while the 90 percent talk.

Now I think there are many factors that play into why most of us don't succeed in our resolutions. One reason may be unrealistic resolution setting. Number nine in the top ten resolutions for 2014 is "To fall in love." Now, maybe some of you are good enough to force something like that into existence, but I for one was blessed with that. So resolutions that one has little control over may be a very low success rate before they're begun. Another thing people may do is take on too much or overestimate what they can accomplish in a short time frame. Best selling author Chris Brady says, "Most people highly overestimate what they can accomplish in one year, yet they greatly underestimate what they can accomplish in five or ten years."  That is to say, set reasonable goals for 2014, ones that can be accomplished in a years time, and set large goals for the next five years and begin work on them now!

I'm not at all implying to dream small. Heavens no!  Dream huge! Dream a dream and set a resolution that will cause you to have to change, grow, struggle, and keep focused.  And if you fail, fail forward. Get back up! Just set reasonable time frames for your magnificent dreams and keep them in front of you daily so that you do something each day to move yourself toward them. It took us how many ever years we've been alive to get ourselves into the messes we are in. For me, it has taken me 30 years to get myself into my mess, it's probably going to take more than one year, or even a few years to get myself out of it.

Another huge reason many of us give up on our resolutions (25% give up after just one week, 36% after one month, and a whopping 54% after only 6 months) is because many people simply can't see their goal through all of the crap they're going through to get there.  Think about it, if you were standing in front of a huge pile of crap would you just walk through it for no reason?  If you couldn't see what was on the other side would you even enter it?  What if your dream was big enough that you could see it over the pile.  What if it was something worthwhile that you could keep your eye on the end result of while wading through the garbage?

Make your resolutions big enough that you can still see them regardless of what you're going through. WRITE THEM DOWN! A goal that is not written down, with a date of planned accomplishment, is nothing better than a wish. You may as well toss a penny into a fountain for that one.  Once you have written your goal down with a date, then you can create an actual plan of action to accomplish it with regular steps to take.  I found a website called Stickk.com that has a very interesting way to help folks who have a hard time keeping goals.  If you're more tech inclined use that or a similar service. But once you write your goal down, read your goals regularly.  I'd recommend reading them every morning and every night, perhaps several times in between.  This is a very important step to keeping the dream larger than the pile of garbage.

So why create resolutions at all if 92% of us won't succeed anyway?  (And curse this Sturgeon guy for pointing it out!) I mean only 45% of us usually make resolutions each year, and the minority can't be correct right?  It's simple, people who explicitly make resolutions are ten times more likely to achieve their goals than those who don't.  That's a significant statistic in and of itself!  Think about it, is there something you want out of your life for 2014?  Wouldn't you want it to be ten times more likely to come true? Write it down, read it daily, take action steps.

One last fact I found interesting: 47% of all resolutions made are self improvement or education related resolutions.  As people we are always changing, we are always growing or declining. There is no real static state.  So with resolutions in regards to self improvement, even if a goal is not fully achieved in time you are still on a journey.  You'll never truly be your best self, because you can always improve, and so can I.  So why not make a resolution for self improvement? Give it your darnedest, and if you don't quite hit the goal, you'll be miles ahead of where you would have been had you not pursued it at all. If you have no idea where to start, I highly recommend picking up a copy of RESOLVED or at a bare minimum the RESOLVED Primer and start learning about the importance and impact of ongoing resolutions, how to create them and keep them.

Here's something I shared on Facebook today and found motivating.

Twelve months from now are you going to be exactly where you are today, except maybe a little older, a little more tired, a little broker, a little more frustrated?  Or you going to move forward in 2014 and give a few resolutions an honest effort?  Please share with me in the comments below what your favorite resolution has been in the past, or what you're planning for 2014.  Have you ever been part of the 8% that succeeded fully?  I'd love to know!  Have a blessed New Years Eve and make it (to quote The Doctor) a fantastic, amazing, and brilliant 2014!