New LIFE Resolutions – Part 3: The Paradigm Shift on Resolutions

New Year ResolutionOver the last couple of years, I have had a major paradigm shift when it comes to New Year Resolutions.I have asked myself some very deep questions and have tried to have a very honest conversation with myself. I have asked questions like:
-Why is it that people fail so miserably at goals they set for themselves even when they know that failure at those goals means continued self destruction?
-Why is it that we give up on our goals when the going gets tough?
-Why do New Year Resolutions fail so quickly…What does it take to have successful new behavior goals?

Well, the result of the answers to these questions is that I no longer really have New YEAR Resolutions. I have New LIFE Resolutions. I have resolutions that are LIFE changing, not “year” changing.

I have come to know some incredibly critical thought processes about resolutions that have helped me and I know will help you as you try to set goals and resolutions for the New Year and beyond.

Here are two of the most critical ones.

1. If it is really worth fighting to change that thing this year, it should really be worth maintaining that change every year:  Think about it! If the benefits are indeed as high, if those resolutions are indeed worthy of your thought, time, investment and self denial at the beginning of this year, shouldn’t they still be that important next year?

I’ll prove it to you. Pull out your list of New Year Resolutions or think about people’s list..or maybe even your list last year. They generally fall into two “main” categories.

-Quit a terrible habit (Smoking, Drinking, Overeating, Overspending, Gossiping etc)
-Start or do more of something important (what you are passionate about, love more, be more patient, more spiritual, more healthy etc)

Those are things that we ought to be doing for LIFE…not just this year, and our method of executing that resolution(s) must reflect that. We must set goals and strategies that turn these resolutions into LIFESTYLE changes.

2. Part of the reason we fail at New Year Resolutions is that we see those resolutions as a means to an end and not AS the end itself: Even worse, we see them as a means to a shaky end. We unconsciously (or maybe even consciously) say things like:

-I need to start eating healthy so I can lose some weight and when I do, I’ll feel better about myself and fit in better clothes.
-I need to get closer to God so that I can get something (marriage partner, direction, healing …)
-I need to stop overspending so that I can save more
– I need to stop overdrinking because I usually have to drive myself home and I could get into an accident.
-I need to start looking for a new job that I am passionate about where I am more appreciated

You see, none of these are bad in themselves but what happens is that:

You start eating healthy, and then you stumble upon a store that makes great looking clothes for your size and all of a sudden, your New Year Resolution is on the way to the dungeons. Nothing wrong with wanting to fit into better clothes but better clothes or not, eating healthy is critical for your HEALTH…just your wardrobe. Eating healthy is the END not the means.

We start getting close to God because we want something from him (marriage partner, career direction, healing etc) and in March, we meet the love of our life, we get a promotion, we get healed and suddenly, our New Year Resolution starts to look like that cracked mug in your cabinet. You know… the one that looks cute but you never use. The truth we miss is that getting close to God is the END…not the means.

We start looking for a new job so we can be more appreciated but then we get a new boss that makes us feel like a million dollars. Suddenly our desire to get a better Job suffers a stroke and becomes silent. Not waking us up at night, not talking to us as we drive to work. It’s there…just silent. Is getting a new boss that appreciates you a bad thing? No. What’s terrible is that you will stay in that job because of the approval of others, at the expense of the approval of yourself. A new job that YOU are passionate about was the END…not the means to being appreciated by people who are excited that you work under them (as good as that may be).

So there are two important perspectives.

I leave you with some thoughts:

a)      Remember that the changes you need to make in life are changes that affect your ability to get the best out of LIFE…not just the year, and so execute your change with NO END IN SIGHT. That’s right. If the change is that important, don’t act like you’re just taking a “break” from overeating, overspending, overdrinking, under-spirituality or any other destructive habit you’re trying to ditch. ATTACK them. Be out for blood. Redesign the environment around you to ensure that there are no ways for those things to sneak back into your life.

b)      If the changes you want to make are not worthy of lifelong commitment, you will find a way to renegotiate…wiggle…justify or flat out lie your way out of that commitment. So don’t just throw anything on your “list”. Make sure they are things worthy of the sweat, sacrifice and self denial that the change is going to cost.

c)       The change that is worthy of your time, thoughts, sacrifice IS the end…not the means. Change your life. Do it now, and do it for the right…SUSTAINABLE reasons.

Lastly, I HIGHLY…HIGGGLLYYYY suggest that you read the other articles in this series if you haven’t already:

1)      “New LIFE Resolutions  – Part 1: Why personal goals and resolutions fail and what you should do about it

2)      New LIFE Resolutions – Part 2: 8 things you must resolve to do in order to immediately start living a more fulfilled life


I wish you a fantastic New Year…but more importantly, I wish you a fantastic New LIFE.


Feel free to ask questions right here in the comments section if I can help in any way.

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