We all know what to do. We just don’t know how to convince ourselves to do it.”
— Mel Robbins
How’s the New Year’s resolution going? Did you resolve to eat healthier, exercise more, save money?
Unfortunately, many have already abandoned their goals. According to US News, 80% of people have given up on their New Year’s resolutions by second week in February. That’s only 6 weeks into the new year!
Current society has programmed us to expect immediate results. Technology, customer service, GPS, Facebook, Alexa. All this has created an impatient lifestyle. When we don’t get the immediate results, we get discouraged and move on.
That’s why New Year’s resolutions are almost always destined to fail. We are only thinking about simple solutions to issues that are not so simple.
We need a different method to bring REAL change in our lives
For real change, you must think long-term, as a change in your identity. There has to be deep self-reflection to find the core of your discontentment. From this point, you can discover what led to your current state of discontentment, understand what keeps you there, and create a path to change it.
Sounds simple, right?
When your identity changes, it becomes a multi-year plan. And that’s when real magic and change happens.
I’ve got a buddy, Kevin. He became a long-distance runner a few years ago. Before then, he was a smoker and discontent with his health. His path to change started with self-discovery. He realized he loved adventure and big challenges. So, he decided to become a long-distance, off-road runner. His solution was not to just quit smoking. Instead, he created a lifestyle that didn’t allow smoking. He created new friends, new habitats, new routines. In his new life, there is no place for a smoker.
For Kevin, the reward is greater now! As he is now training for his next ultra-marathon, he knows completing an super long run in a rugged terrain is much more rewarding than a temporary rush from tobacco. He created a plan, created a new identity and solved his original discontentment.
Let’s be clear here – A change in identity is not just one massive jump from where you are to where you want to be. The change is committing to the person you want to be and start taking small steps to get there.
Much like in Kevin’s case. He didn’t stop smoking and run a 10k the next day. He just decided he wanted to be a runner and suffered through short, 2-mile runs. Over time he started adding more distance. He progressed to 3 miles, then 6, 13, 26, 50miles and so on. He enjoyed small wins to build up to bigger rewards.
If you are ready to plan out your change, check out the six tips below to get you started.
- Define Your Why
The challenge is going to be difficult & you will have moments of weakness. It is optimal to define your ultimate driving force or your “why”. Why are you making the change? Are you making the change to be an example for your children? Did your doctor tell you to change your lifestyle? Something else? Write it down and review it constantly. You will need this on days you don’t feel like putting forth the effort to change.
- Start With The End In Mind
You must determine what you really want out of this life. Is it wealth, happiness, adventure? Don’t just think of the issue you see. Think about the bigger solution, which is usually not so obvious.
- Know Yourself
We are all different. You should know what inspires you. And you need to know your limitations and weaknesses. Are you a stress eater? Do you hate surprises? Do you love the outdoors? Know what you like and what you don’t like. Then, you will have a much better chance of real change.
- Develop A Plan
There is too much to lose if you live your life without a plan. A plane does not take off without a destination because the risk is too great. Your life is no different. If you want real change, you must put in the time to plan before you actually do the work.
- Build Routines
Robert Collier reminds us that “success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day-in and day-out.” So, think about taking small steps daily and the bigger accomplishments will come. Consistency is key. Small steps every day
- Find Accountability
Lastly, find an accountability group. Check out my previous article about leveraging accountability. If you want to join an amazing accountably group full of positive folks, consider https://chasingsunri.se/. The content and support from this group is outstanding. Joining the Chasing Sunrise group in January has been the best decision I have made in 2018 so far!
I challenge you to never set a New Year’s resolution again! Instead make a commitment to change your identify and you will be grateful you did.
If you’re looking to make a change, then I say stop worrying about results and start worrying about your identity. Become the type of person who can achieve the things you want to achieve. Build the habit now. The results can come later.