“The gist of New Year’s Day is: Try Again.”
Frank Crane, 20th Century American Film Director
Image from Unsplash by Brooke Lark
If you ever established a New Year’s Resolution and came up short, you are not alone.
Statistics show over 90% of people have the same experience.
Studies have shown that even when doctors tell heart patients they will die if they don’t change their habits, only one in seven will be able to follow through successfully.
It appears that desire and motivation aren’t enough, even when it is literally a matter of life or death.
It is also clear that the status quo has a pretty tight grip on what Roger Kegan calls The Immunity to Change.
What patterns of thinking and doing would have your “Try Again” efforts work this time?
Beyond limiting your focus on fewer priority objectives, consider adding a wide variety of social and structural supports to bolster your motivation and ability to succeed this time.
“Work for a cause, not for applause.”
Image from Flickr by Jody FaFerriere
I’ve been interested in what motivates people since I was a boy. In my youth, I washed cars, mowed lawns, and shoveled snow—all to earn a buck and purchase things I desired. The Thank You’s I received for a job well done also meant a lot, especially when they were heartfelt.
As I grew and continued to investigate what motivated me and others, it was clear that applause or extrinsic factors still have a hold on many of us. At the same time, the intrinsic aspects of a passionate purpose seem to take things to greater levels of fulfillment and life satisfaction.
Examine your own levels of sustainable satisfaction and fulfillment when you work for a cause. How can you capture the best of both motivators?
“Everything will change when your desire to move on exceeds your desire to hold on.”
—Alan Cohen, Author of Daily Dose of Sanity
Image from Joomlaworks.net
The ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes once said that if he were given a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, he could move the world.
Consider, today, your most deeply held commitments for a better future as your long lever, and your most important and foundational values as the fulcrum on which to place them.
One of my other favorite quotes is, your commitment supersedes your comfort.
How and in what ways can you experience the world-moving changes you desire by living each day more consistently with your most cherished commitments and values?
“Inspiration usually comes during work, not before it.”
—Madeline L’Engle, American 20th Century Author
Consider these three definitions of the word “inspiration”:
- Divine Intervention
- An instance of breathing in
- That which brings about creativity or perseverance
I suggest we blend the three together. My reasons will be more readily apparent through the following example:
Imagine you wake up one morning and you are not particularly inspired to go to your health club and work out. The exercise gods simply haven’t infused you with enough energy to leap out of bed and into your sneakers.
In spite of not “feeling it,” you garner the discipline to just do it, and minutes later you are on a bike, a treadmill, or an elliptical machine. You notice your breath growing faster and more pronounced, which increases your mental and physical state, and gives you the energy and momentum you need to gain all the good that comes from rigorous exercise.
How can you simply begin a project, motivated or not, and let the effort and engagement of the first few steps energize you so that you keep it up and finish more inspired than you ever imagined?
“Do a little more each day than you think you possibly can.”
– Lowell Thomas, American journalist
Image from Flickr by Jessa9
Exploring our limits is a useful exercise in a coaching relationship. By doing more, we usually achieve more.
I attend a local fitness center called Lifetime Fitness – which is a great name and an excellent example of branding. Among the staff are 25 personal trainers who support thousands of individuals to achieve their personal fitness goals. With physical and sometimes mental coaches by their side, people discover that they are able to do a little more each day than they think they can.
In what areas of your personal or professional life are you capable of one more rep, one more mile, or a little more of something than yesterday?
Select a friend, family member, mentor or coach in your life to push or pull you to be your very best each and every day.
You can even be your own coach by establishing a “one more …” Post-it note reminder in strategically placed locations in your environment.