Over 96 million adults made New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. Those individuals vowed to start or stop doing something that would have a positive impact on their health, happiness or character. As a result, during the first two weeks in January, health clubs were filled to capacity, self-improvement books were sold at record rates, and Pastors preached in crowded churches. Unfortunately, for too many people, the third week in January is when excuses start to become more powerful than promises. Soon 92% of the people who made a resolution will admit to giving up on their goal to create positive change this year.
The reason so many people fail has nothing to do with a lack of desire. When someone makes a resolution, their aspirations are always high. However, the motivation to take the action required to succeed starts to fade during the execution process. Before long, the results we long for turn to regret because we don’t get what we wish for in life…we get what we work for.
The dictionary defines ‘resolution’ as a decision or determination to do something. Synonyms include perseverance, tenacity; strength and fortitude. What’s not mentioned is the fact that we can’t resolve to do anything meaningful in our life until we develop the courage to move out of our comfort zone on a daily basis.
When you stay in your comfort zone, you maintain your old habits and your brain feels safe and secure. You can predict what will happen next and how you will respond. You can survive operating below your potential but you can’t thrive. In fact, the comfort zone should be called the danger zone because if you stay in there too long, you stop growing and your dreams die a slow death.
This year, resolve to get comfortable being uncomfortable while you do your best to keep moving forward. Break out of your old routines by taking small steps…not giant leaps. The big hairy audacious goals might look good on paper, but when you’re trying to replace a negative habit with a positive one, size matters and small is better than big.
Fortunately, we can learn to build positive behaviors into our daily routines and it’s not very hard to do. We just have to base our actions on our commitment, not our feeling. If you wait till you feel like doing something to change your behavior, you’ll never leave your comfort zone. Decide today what positive goal you’re going to achieve and commit to taking one small step outside your comfort zone. It’s important to keep moving forward, especially when you don’t feel like doing it.
For example, if you want to be healthier this year and you didn’t attend a health club regularly last year, you’re setting yourself up for failure by resolving to go every week. You’re better off creating the goal of getting up from your desk and moving every hour, or parking your car further away from your destination, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Your brain will try to convince you the positive action you plan to take is not important or trick you into believing you can start the new behavior tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes. Just do it and you’ll be glad you did.
You can use the same philosophy with any behavior you want to change in your personal and professional life. Just pick a positive goal and identify one small action that will move you out of your comfort zone and toward your objective. Soon your behavior will turn into a habit; and before long, you will be healthier, happier and more productive. You will also inspire those you lead and love to keep moving forward when it comes to changing their behavior. As Emerson said a long time ago…”What you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say.”
Let’s Get Better. Together! Bill Durkin