Forget New Year’s Resolutions: Do This Instead

In their book, The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath explain that the way most people look at new year’s resolutions is broken. They mistakenly believe that a resolution will change their life.

When in fact, it’s not actually about the resolution at all. Chances are, you’re likely just pursuing the same thing that you were before giving up last year.

Hence, it’s not actually about the goal. Instead, it’s about having a new slate.

It’s about forgetting the failures of the past and saying, “New Year, New Me.”

Thus, you need not wait until the new year to finally start living the life you know you could and should. Instead, you can decide to change your life at any moment.

Said Chip and Dan Heath,

“If you’re struggling to make a transition, create a defining moment that draws a dividing line between Old You and New You.”

This is why people don’t often change their lives until the worst possible moment. It’s only once their on the brink of destruction, that they finally say, “I must either give up or rise up.”

Also, why Chris Smith has said,

“If you’re not feeling motivated — you’re either not experiencing enough pain to change, or you’re not curious enough about the power of possibility.”

Indeed, what you really want is not a New Year’s resolution, but instead, a point of no return.

You want a moment where going back to your old life is no longer even an option. Where you no longer have to question if you’ll act according to your highest dreams and desires because too much is at stake if you don’t.

Said Dag Hammarskjold,

“There is a point at which everything becomes simple and there is no longer any question of choice, because all you have staked will be lost if you look back. Life’s point of no return.”

However, how do you get there?

1. Know WHAT You Want and WHY You Want it

“Your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have. Without having a goal it’s difficult to score.”- Paul Arden

Having a vision immediately puts your life into a whole different light. It pulls you out of your past or present circumstances and immediately puts you on the pursuit of a new and exciting future.

Thus, the first step is working out what that vision actually is. You want to know WHAT you want and WHY you want it.

For a start, you need not worry about the HOW. Instead, you want to think big and create a vision that is truly personal.

With emotional attachment, the execution will become clear.

Said Bill Walsh,

“When the WHY is strong enough, you’ll figure out the HOW”

2. Remove Everything From Your Environment That Opposes That Vision

“If you do not create and control your environment, your environment creates and controls you.” -Marshall Goldsmith

Once you work out what you want, you can then work out what you don’t want, which is where shaping your environment comes in.

Really, it shouldn’t be rocket science: If you’re truly committed to something, you’ll shape your environment to support commitment. You’ll let go of things that you even once loved.

Of course, in order to get the next level of your life, you will need to give up who you are for who you could become.

Which takes us to the next point:

3. Invest in That Vision

“When you invest a large percentage of your money into your values and goals, you’re far more accountable to those goals. Failure means a lot more.” -Benjamin P. Hardy

Most people would rather leave their options open. They would rather not over commit, and create several backup plans in case their dreams don’t quite work out.

However, without sufficient commitment, those backup plans can very quickly become your life.

Of course, this is called a ‘point of no return’ for a reason; there is no way out. The ships are burnt! You’re either going to fail big or succeed big — usually the latter.

As William H. Murray explains,

“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

Indeed, beyond your point of no return, you have nothing to worry about. Everything you need is already coming to your aid. All your material, financial, relational, and spiritual needs will be met.

However, we’re getting ahead; what does investing in your vision actually look like?

  • The most common form of investment is to make a financial investment into dreams. You want to make an investment that forces you to move forward, almost to the point that you “over-commit.”

For example, buying a plane ticket before you even have enough money to fund the trip. From there, you can’t back out. If worst comes to worst, you’ll just have to figure it out when you get there (Sunk cost bias).

4. Get Accountability and Feedback

“When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates.” -Thomas Monson

Once you have a vision and are committed to that vision, then you need to immediately to begin sharing it with everyone.

Of course, some people will get it while others won’t. However, never forget the words of Dan Sullivan,

“It’s better to be an example of someone living a powerful life than to live small in order to make other people feel comfortable around you.”

What sharing your vision will do is not only clarify it within your mind, but it will also force you to move towards it. No longer will you just be lying to yourself if you don’t, but instead, you’ll be lying to others as well.

And according to research, we’re actually far more likely to lie to and let down ourselves than we are to lie to or let down someone else.

So, if you’re truly committed, then why wouldn’t you become accountable?

In Conclusion

You never change your life through a resolution. Instead, you change your life by being committed to a vision.

A resolution is generally weak. It relies upon internal resolve, grit, and willpower, while a true commitment is external.

Rather than just vowing and trying to muscle your way through, you actually create an environment that demands you to show up.

And because necessity is the mother of invention, you do show up! You change! You give up who you are for who you could become.

So, what will your point of no return be?

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