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Are You Too Comfortable?

Whether you’re reading this around the New Year or not, there are a couple essential points to remember when making new commitments…..

U.S. News found that nearly 80% of all people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to keep them by the second week of February. Another study showed that only 8% actually achieve their resolutions as a whole. This means 92% of those who make resolutions fail! Should we be concerned?

Actually, yes, we should be. If we want to live a wholesome, productive life – full of vibrant health, positive mental optimism and success – there is a real need for making personal changes in our lives. There are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions. However, the most obvious reason most people overlook is the holiday itself.

Often, these resolutions are made simply out of tradition or without any planning. You’ve heard them (and maybe you’ve even said them yourself) before: “I am going to lose weight” or “I want to read more” or “I’m going to start exercising”.

Change requires singleness of mind. Permanent lifestyle changes come as a result of regular periods of deep self-examination and a commitment to endure the mental, emotional and sometimes physical pain necessary to produce successful change. It is much more than a one-day, once-a-year thing.

Some psychologists believe North Americans have fallen prey to comfort addiction. In other words, we have become a people who aren’t used to putting in the consistent hard work to make change. “Avoiding uncomfortable yet useful states keeps us from reaching our full potential,” write Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener in their book The Upside of Your Dark Side. We have grown to love our comforts. We are rattled – sometimes seriously – if we don’t have them. “Make no mistake, material comforts affect our ability to psychologically adjust to our surroundings and to deal with difficulties.”

If you truly want to be successful at making changes in your life, you will need to be willing to suffer some discomfort, to metaphorically eat some dust, suffer some heat exposure, and face some driving rain without an umbrella. You can make changes successfully when you are willing to put in the effort to do so. You need not fail! No matter what problems or challenges you are facing, make the commitment to pursue personal growth. Keep your resolutions – no matter what time of year they are made. The only one to hold you accountable is YOU.

If you really want to make lasting change, there are 2 critical components to consider:

1. WHY do you want to make changes? You must have a big enough reason to stay committed to your goals when circumstances get difficult. Your beliefs will determine how you behave. Do you REALLY believe that the changes you want to make are important, or are they just a nice idea? Dig deep on this one – it can be difficult. WHY do you want to exercise (more)? WHY do you want to quit smoking? WHY do you want to be a more patient spouse/parent? WHY do you want to get better sleep? WHY do you want to be a better steward of your money? You must answer the ‘WHY’ questions first.

2. You MUST create small ACTION STEPS. Without this critical process, your goals or resolutions are just ideas and dreams. This is the ‘HOW’ that follows the ‘WHY’. Consider rewards or punishments for yourself for completing small action steps (or not completing them). Write them down. It can be helpful to have an accountability partner, however, you will have to hold yourself accountable – no one else can do that.

If you put a little bit of introspective work into these 2 steps, dreams will literally turn into reality. It might not be easy or comfortable. But if you have a really good ‘WHY’, it will certainly be worth it.

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