I believe the latest number is about 7 percent.
That's right. About 7 percent of people who make New Year's Resolution actually have any sort of success maintaining those commitments.
That means that for 93 percent of people, New Year's resolutions are a time of inward reflection and contemplation followed by a prolonged season of guilt for not following through. Oh well, there's always next year.
I gave up on New Year's resolutions awhile back. It was all a little too cliché for me. Half-heartedly going into something because I desire change yet not really being intentional about how I plan on getting there. It's like setting yourself up for a nosedive.
If you've still deciding to wade into the waters of a New Year's Resolution and attempt to be in the 7 percent, first of all I tip my hat to you. Secondly, I pray you did not join my gym because the first few weeks of January are crazy insane.
Regardless of whether it's a New Years resolution or you just need to make changes here are a few things to consider:
1. Don't do it alone.
Accountability is the key. There will be days when you don't feel like it, you want to give up, or you want to revert back to your old ways. There is no substitute for people in your life walking alongside you.
Please remember, accountability is only as good as you make it. Give people the right to hold you accountable and/or slap you if you need it. Also, it's just more fun when you have other people are involved.
2. Be intentional.
One quote that has become my slogan for the past several years is actually very simple: "Intentional people are disciplined people who end up somewhere on purpose."
So many people think that they will close their eyes, go to sleep, and wake up with new habits, a new level of maturity, etc. You won't arrive anywhere by accident. You must be intentional and have a plan.
Only 5 percent of the world's population have ever written down their plans/goals.
Among that 5 percent are the majority of the world's most successful individuals. Coincidence?
3. Take baby steps.
It sounds basic but don't jump off the high dive before jumping from the ledge. You usually crawl before you walk. So many people want to make huge, drastic changes in their life and they want it right now. You are setting yourself up for failure.
Develop manageable, attainable goals and then begin to go for it. If you haven't worked out or ran in 4 years don't start running 6 or 7 days a week. Establish goals that challenge you and at the same time are attainable.
4. Count the cost up front.
It always seems like so many New Year's resolutions are reactionary instead of calculated. You look back on the past year, identify the things that you want to do differently, and then attempt to make changes.
Here's a great question to ask first: How committed am I to this process? Most habits take a minimum of 6-8 weeks to become implemented into a routine. That means the passion that you had on week one will be long gone by week five and you have to determine how committed you are to this whole thing.
If you're overcoming an addiction, trying to change a lifestyle habit, implementing new routines in your life, etc. it takes both time and a whole lot of commitment. Count the cost up front.
Just like a marathon runner prepares for the "runner's wall" they'll hit around mile 18-20 of their 26 mile journey, you must prepare for the wall. You will face obstacles, you will want to give up, you will lose motivation at times. Prepare for the wall and be determined to plow through.
Amidst all the resolutions and changes you desire to make in 2011 my prayer for you is this: Choose to spend time with the people that truly matter, identify your priorities and keep them in the proper order, and live a life of love that will remain long after you are gone.
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