It’s that time of year again. The time for resolutions that you meant to achieve last year, yet somehow the desire dissipated a few months in. It’s ok, you’re not alone. I’m still dropping the same 15 pounds from 2016. However, “resolution” is a funny word. We all use it, but can you define it?
Resolution is defined as a firm decision to do or not to do something. The definition uses the word “firm” as if to say that there is no other option. Why do so many of us fall short year after year to achieve what we firmly decided to do or change?
Photo by Hassan Saleh on Unsplash
What’s even more impactful is that the antonyms of resolution are words like lethargy, lazy, indecisive, weakness, and insincere. Those are strong words. For me, they cut deep. Nobody wants to be known for those traits.
I want to be known for finishing what I start and transforming my circumstances. If you really want to engage with me on this topic, let’s exchange the word resolution for “mission.”
When you’re on a mission, failure isn’t an option. A mission towards your purpose should make time stop.
Have you ever wondered why we fail to achieve our missions? The formula for success is much easier than we admit. However, until we can be honest about our distractions and “know thyself”, it will be difficult to follow through on our 2019 missions! Why aren’t we motivated?
Photo by Johnson Wang on Unsplash
Most of us can rattle off a few cliché motivational quotes, but many have lost their visceral impact. They sound good rolling off the tongue, but we have yet to get command of the things that distract us. I want to share the reasons I have fallen short at times, and changes I have had to make in order to accomplish my most important missions.
“Greatness isn’t about money. It’s about achievements.”
I sought motivation without inspiration.
Simply put, motivation comes from our environment and inspiration comes from within. We all need motivation, but motivation is like fuel to your vehicle. The fuel helps your car go, but it’s not the main reason why it’s moving. You need to find inspiration for what you want to achieve. Inspiration is found by asking yourself why. Why are you doing what you are doing? Who are you changing for? Answering the why is a game changer.
Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash
I didn’t create imposed discipline.
Imposed discipline is easy to understand because it’s all around you in your daily life. Your job or school is a perfect example. There are a multitude of accountability factors that keep you focused and motivated on work. Plenty of people controlling your time and focus. Also, there are deadlines and consequences for missed deadlines.
It’s not enough for you to set up goals for yourself. You need to include consequences for not staying steady on your mission. This imposes discipline. For example, let’s say you have a goal of getting fit before a summer vacation to the beach. What if every day you didn’t complete your exercise routine you had to burn a $20 bill. Sounds radical, right? Maybe that’s the point. Discipline is more about decisions than diligence. You have to eliminate the number of decisions required in a day. Streamlining your life and decisions means you aren’t as distracted. Most of us spend tremendous mental energy making choices everyday. Make choices before they come up. Then choose to stay focused on your priorities.
Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash
My environment didn’t change.
Personally, environment has the most impact on my ability to complete a mission. I love being part of a team or being surrounded by like-minded people going in a similar direction. Have you ever noticed that when someone has big fitness goals, they seek out fitness models or extreme trainers who inspire them, and that’s all they focus on? I get it, but sometimes that comes with a level of intimidation. Intimidation leads to excuse making. I believe there is value in finding someone who’s on the same path as us but only a few steps ahead, chasing their own goals. It’s more believable that we can run with the person 10 steps ahead of us, not the person 3 miles ahead. When they are close, you can watch the pace, and make small adjustments on the way. If you’re chasing the guy who is 3 miles ahead of you, you only get to hear the stories from someone else of what it was like.
Photo by Nathalie Désirée Mottet on Unsplash
I tried to change too much at once.
Most people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year. Creating a habit of change is hard for any of us, but small bites of accomplishment give us the encouragement to keep making progress. Try limiting your mission goals down to a small number of bite sized achievements. If it takes you months before you can feel progression, the likelihood of you sticking with the process will decline
I was impatient about results
We live in a world that demands instant results. Missions valuable enough to stretch you out of your comfort zone, rarely have instant results. Your mission should have stages of tangible results you can measure along the way. Don’t forget to celebrate and track them along the way. One of my 2019 missions is to learn French for a trip I have later in the year. So far I have downloaded a language app called Duolingo and averaged 5-7 minutes a day learning basic greetings. I may not be serenading my wife with French flirtations just yet, but at least I can locate a restroom for my toddler. You have to celebrate the small wins.
Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash
I forgot to plan for “off days”
Some days I am off and other days I am a different kind of off. I am sure you can relate. I’m not talking about the days you’re on vacation or not living your regular life schedule. I’m talking about the days when you are sick, going through a difficult situation, or little humans in your life needed you and you don’t control your day. The truth is, we just don’t have the ability to be “on” all the time. It would be silly for us to think that we wouldn’t make mistakes or have a bad day or have things come up that are out of our control. The important thing here is to remember not to let these things throw you off your long-term mission. Don’t let one bad day ruin 60 days of continual effort.
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash
Draw a line in the sand
The most important thing to remember here is that there’s something magical about a fresh start. We all love it. That’s why we use the first day of the calendar year as our New Year Resolution Day. You don’t need to wait until the first day of the year. You can draw a line in the sand any time and any day you want. Success and failure both require momentum. Choose wisely.
“Life is a balance of letting go and holding on.”
Patrick Sirmeyer is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the staffing and recruiting industry. His wheelhouse includes Sales, Executive Search, Team Building, and Organizational Leadership. He lives in Winter Springs, Florida, with his wife, 2 kids and 2 spoiled dogs.