Be honest, how many times have you set New Year’s Resolutions that didn’t make it past January? How often do you set a goal and perpetually push back the deadline? As great as I am at achieving some goals, I continue to fall short on others.
Through honest self-analysis, I was able to identify one question to ask before committing to change. This one question predicts the success I will have with new goals.
Am I willing to commit to this change for the rest of my life?
This question is quite telling if answered honestly. If you answer no, you may want to reconsider. Seeing this change as one and done, is unlikely to lead to long-term success. Lasting change requires a lifelong commitment.
Let’s apply this question to the top three New Year’s resolutions.
- Are you willing to commit to maintaining a healthy weight for the rest of your life?
According to Harriet Brown, the author of Body of Truth, “97 percent of dieters regain everything they lost and then some within three years.” Taking care of your body requires daily maintenance. Commit to this idea before you set your next weight loss goal.
- Are you willing to commit to maintaining an organized life permanently?
Every home I have been in has a junk drawer. In some cases a junk room, or (ahem) a junk basement. Before you commit to clearing it out, see if you can make this promise to yourself. Once you take control of this space, promise to remove one thing for each new thing you add.
- Are willing to commit to responsible financial habits for the remainder of your life?
What good is it to pay off your credit cards, only to rack up the balances the following year? To get right with money, you need to feel right about money. Check out this post to learn more.
There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.
If you find yourself struggling to fully commit to your change, ask yourself these questions.
- Why do you want to make this change?
- What are the consequences of failing to make this change?
- What is it about the change that makes it unsustainable for you?
- How could you make it more manageable?
- What will it feel like to accomplish this change?
- How will making this change impact the lives of those you care about most?
Sometimes struggling with change is an indicator that we need to redefine our why. Or maybe you’ll discover that this change is not something you really need to make. Perhaps the change wasn’t your idea in the first place.
The only thing that is constant is change. As we grow, our priorities and motivation change. It’s possible that something that was once a top priority is no longer that important. When this happens, revisit the questions above. It’s always okay to drop something that is no longer working for you.
One Final Thought
Two weeks ago I suggested sampling a change for 30 days. This post is not meant to contradict that theory. Making short-term commitments and having small wins are great ways to ignite long-term change. If the exercises above didn’t push you to embrace your change, you may want to consider giving the 30 Day Challenge a try.
Have you ever failed to make a change because it wasn’t that important to you?
Have you had goals and desires that fluctuated in importance over the years?
What tips do you have to stay committed to positive change?
Share in the comments below.