Studies show that you likely won’t stay committed to your New Year’s resolutions. Like many other days of the year, you’ll decide to do one thing…and then promptly go and do something else (erm…most likely the opposite of what you’d like to do).
This has fascinated me ever since I began my coaching work. What inspires us to follow through? What’s the secret to consistency and commitment? What sparks lasting change?
This interview series with top business and life leaders answers just that. So if you’re looking for the key to sustain your dreams simply follow the advice below.
Q: The New York Times reports that four out of five of us break our New Year’s resolutions. And a more recent study from the University of Scranton gives even bleaker statistics. How can we stay committed?
By staying committed! David Campbell said, “Discipline is remembering what you want.” The biggest myth (and time waster) is searching for some secret trick, system, app or technique to help make ourselves follow through. But the answer is not out there. It’s inside us. We human beings have so much innate power; we just have to use it. To create any result, you have to be clear on exactly what you want, get emotionally connected to why it’s important to you, and then work your ass off to make it happen. But you can’t do this one time – on New Year’s! You have to re-commit every single day and consciously direct your attention, time and energy to make progress and not give up until you get there.
Q: Most people claim they’re too busy to stick to the goals they set. What’s your remedy for over-stimulation, over-commitment, and general busyness?
You’re in control of how you spend your time, not anyone else. So stop over-committing and start saying no. Clear the decks and break the addiction to busyness. If you really want to create more time, challenge yourself to eliminate at least 80% of your screen time (TV, Internet, social media, email etc.). Most people can regain 2-5 hours per day. Yes, per day! The world is a huge digital distraction mecca if you allow it to be. But remember that every device has an off button. Use it.
Q: For all the multi-passionate entrepreneurs out there, myself included, how do we determine what resolution to tackle first?
You have to decide what’s truly most important to you. There can only be one number one priority, one number two priority, one number three priority and so on. The number one priority should naturally be tackled first. Most people are afraid to prioritize because they don’t want to choose one thing over the other. They’re afraid of “limiting their options” or not choosing the “right” first priority. But when you fail to decide your top priority, you waste time and energy jumping back and forth, second-guessing yourself, and you fail to make any real progress in any area. Make a clear top priority choice, start gaining momentum in that area and use your momentum to fuel all of your projects ahead.
Q: Do your resolutions ever feel overwhelming, too ambitious, or just plain scary? How do you deal with that?
I only focus on outcomes that I’m truly excited to create. If I’m not genuinely excited about a project, I won’t commit in the first place.
Q: When resolutions lead to results, how do you celebrate?
Music, dancing and partying with friends.
Q: One of the things that really inspires me about your business is what a blast you all are having. What’s your best advice on how to keep it real and fun?
Remember that the energy you bring to any project impacts the outcome. Plus, the truth is that we’re all headed to the same destination — eventual death. Keeping that in mind inspires me to inject as much fun and humor into my life as humanly possible.
Q: Also incredibly uplifting is how social change is baked into your business model. With all the options out there, how do you decide where to invest your resources?
Before we partner with any organization, we get to know the founders and teams, we look at their track record, impact in terms of lives changed, and the specific initiatives they’re working on. Two other resources to check out: A Path Appears, a fantastic book by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and GiveWell.org.
Q: What am I not asking? Any additional advice as we move into the New Year?
You have the power to create an extraordinary life. Take the time to look in your heart and decide what you really want. As Franz Kafka said: “By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.”
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