From the category archives:


Resolutions without Resolve

by Haider on January 2, 2009 · 0 comments

in Habits

New Year’s resolutions seem to be made more out of tradition than a true commitment to the changes these resolutions are meant to bring about. In fact, many people begin their resolutions NOT with: “I resolve to…” but with: “I know I won’t be able to do this, but…”

They then wonder why New Year’s resolutions don’t seem to work!

But there is a crucial reason why resolutions don’t work that goes deeper than what people actually say and which may sound like an odd reason, considering the frustration people experience when they don’t stick to their “resolutions.”

The simple reason is this: People don’t WANT to fulfill their resolutions!

Sounds crazy? Well, this is the kind of world we’re living in, my friend. :)

Allow me to explain why that is.

They Want the End and Not the Means

Most people want to be healthy, without doing any of the things that a healthy lifestyle is based on. They want a healthy body, not a healthy life. This doesn’t work in the real world. You can’t feed your body junk and expect your body to process it as nutritious food. You can’t abandon exercise and expect your body to create muscles out of thin air.

If you don’t want the means to fulfilling your resolutions, you really don’t want to fulfill your resolutions. Not in the real world, anyway.

They Are Afraid of the Changes the Resolutions Will Bring About

Fear of failure is a topic discussed widely in personal growth circles, but there’s another fear that cripples the ambitions of many people: the fear of success. This is an idea that was brought to my attention by Dr Neil Fiore in his magnificent book: The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play.

We sometimes don’t see projects through because we’re afraid to fail, and by not attempting to work on the projects, we feel satisfied that we have at least avoided the label: “failure.” But there are times when we fear being successful, because that would bring about changes in our lives that we’re not willing to welcome so readily.

A simple example is becoming a celebrity: you don’t want to be known for your accomplishments because you’re too afraid that it will expose you to the world, and deprive you of the privacy you currently enjoy and cherish. Being a famous actor doesn’t simply involve acting. It involves dealing with the paparrazzi, attending events, being interviewed, etc. If you don’t enjoy these things, you may not want to risk becoming a celebrity so you don’t have to face all these things.

The same is true with smaller-scale projects: you might fear the jealousy your success will attract, the responsibility that comes with your accomplishments and a host of other by-products that have you pushing your goals away instead of embracing them and working to fulfill them.

Their “Want To” Conflicts with Their “Have To”

Many resolutions are cliches that are in popular use: stop drinking, quit smoking, care for the needy, etc.

Such resolutions don’t usually stem from a personal desire, but an obligation they feel they have to fulfill, but they don’t really want to. They’re quite happy smoking, but smoking is considered an unhealthy habit, it’s not always fashionable, it comes up on the top list of resolutions to make, etc.

As long as there is no personal desire to see the resolution through, there will only be self-deception and guilt. That’s hardly a recipe for fulfilling resolutions.

Add Resolve to Your Resolutions

If you truly want to see your resolutions through, you must develop the DESIRE to do so!

This can be done by:

  • Enjoying the process as you progress towards your destination
  • Accepting the by-products that come with your resolutions
  • Making resolutions that truly stem from your personal goals, and not ones borrowed from others

Whenever you feel apprehensive about your resolutions and think that you may be sabotaging your success with your own hands, the most likely reason is that you don’t WANT to fulfill your resolutions.

Listen to your emotions and look for ways to develop the true desire to achieve your goals.

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