Sunday, December 25, 2005

Secrets of New Year's Resolutions that Work

Secrets of New Year's Resolutions that Work

Don’t get me wrong. New Year’s Resolutions can be a great idea. A new year, a new you. Thinner, fitter, less smokey… It’s all deeply compelling. I've only got one question. Why don't they work?
The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is we focus on making the resolution not on keeping it. You get the satisfaction from making the resolution. You’ve succeeded!
Not only that, but we tell family, friends and work colleagues. ‘No thank you, I’ve given up…’ and even more rewards come our way as they admire our willpower and determination. Is it any wonder that our brain decides that making the resolution is enough? Keeping your plan going seems so much less important after a while. All that gratification, just for making a resolution!
Don't fall into Tony's trap
My friend ‘Tony’ does this all the time. He concocts a scheme, usually something big. A script for a new sitcom, a sponsored solo trip skateboarding around the globe, a new business that is certain to ‘go viral'. And people are happy to reward him with attention and appreciation - even admiration. And all before he has set pen to paper, bought a skateboard or written a business plan. Tony forgets that most people are polite.
He waxes lyrical in the bar, at the party, in the coffee shop and it sounds completely compelling. He draws you in and infects you with his enthusiasm. He glories in achievements unachieved, in adventures not experienced and projects not started.
Then a few weeks later you ask Tony how it’s going and…well you know the rest. There were good reasons not to go ahead. Other people let him down, the weather was against him, someone else got there first.
So how do you avoid the Tony trap when at New Year resolutions are firing off like crackers at a Chinese festival?
Reward before effort leaks motivation
Motivation is a fuel that will drive you towards completion of your goal. But recognition, attention and admiration before achievement tear holes in your motivation tank causing leakage. Happily, there is an easy way to prevent leakage and develop a powerful drive to accomplish your goals.
The power of secrets to generate motivation force Showing off your ideas before accomplishing them leaks energy like air escaping from a balloon. But keeping them secret multiplies the pressure, firing your motivation engine to higher and higher speeds. If you treat positive attention from others as a by-product, a happy addition after completing your aims, you will be astounded at what you can accomplish.
How to make New Year's resolutions that work
I’m going to make a small suggestion. Actually, it’s two suggestions. Firstly, don’t tell anybody what you are planning to do. Keep it secret until it has gained momentum and even then, only tell those you have to. And secondly, why wait for January 1? Start, or stop doing whatever it is you plan to do right now. Or failing that, start your resolution on January 2, or 3, or 10.
Make a secret New Year's resolution and see how long it is before people notice. Notice how good you feel with your secret inside as it slowly dawns on people what you’ve done. Go on. Show them what you are capable of.


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