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The Foundation for Better Resolve   

It’s that time of year. Resolutions are fresh.

Gyms are full. Meals are more nutritious. Intentions are solid. And we all know the rest of the story.  

As cited in a Psychology Today article, “Astudy by researchers at Scranton University found that only 19 percent of individuals keep their resolutions. Most are abandoned by mid-January.” 

So, why do we lose our resolve? Why do we tend to be so bad at sticking with behaviors that we profess to be committed to? 

An explanation is offered in that same article: “As for the failed resolutions, there’s a good chance many of those individuals established a New Year’s resolution because they felt pressure to do so, not because they were actually ready.”

“The truth is, most resolution failures don’t stem from a lack of willpower. They fail because people shouldn’t have started them on January 1st.”

“What are the chances that you’re going to be ready for the action stage [of change] at exactly the same time the calendar rolls over to a new year? They are probably pretty slim.” 

The article outlines a 5-stage model of change.

The stages preceding “action” include contemplation, in which we think about the pros and cons of change. Let’s focus on that for a moment.  

What criteria are we each using to evaluate the pros and cons of any change we are considering? What do we actually value enough to make us choose exercise over TV time on the couch? Nutrient rich meals over quick and oh-so-delicious meals full of added sugars and saturated fats? Quality interactions with people we love over spending hours of time online?

Something other than the calendar has to push us out of our current behavioral ruts. 

In the words of life and business strategist Tony Robbins, 

Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.

So, what is painful for you right now? And why is it painful? Often, living in contradiction with our personal values becomes increasingly painful. If we value an energetic lifestyle, it may be only when we are unable to join in on activities that we actually commit to behavior change. If we value strong relationships, perhaps noticing a weakening bond with someone we care about motivates behavior change. 

I encourage you to reflect on your personal values, identify a pain point, and begin to contemplate a change.

Rather than worrying about a date on the calendar, pay attention to your internal life compass. 

Written by: Sandy Tush, Partner – Milestone Leadership 

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