In the season of New Year’s Resolutions and when it comes to changing ourselves, we often use willpower to battle our problems. Willpower, however, doesn’t last. How do we make sure we finish what we’ve started?
Why is it so hard to finish?
I have trouble finishing things. When I was learning to sew, I'd get the whole dress done and then not put on the buttons. What was that about?
A few months ago, I accidentally ripped apart a flash drive. On that little device were at least 12 unfinished blogs. Why hadn’t I finishing what I started?
According to this article, one of the reasons is that I fear my ‘ability’ being judged. You see, when you read one of my blog posts, you’re likely to say, ‘oh that was good’ or ‘that was terrible’, but you’re very unlikely to say, ‘oh Cathy, she’s trying so hard. Good for her!’
I’d rather have my effort evaluated than my ability. But fear of being judged will do nothing to keep us going towards our goal.
So it gets down to our ‘why’ (Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle describes the importance of the 'why' in an organizational sense). Why am I trying to change something with this New Year's Resolution?
I write and speak about getting healthy. I can tell you my why. I don't want anyone else to suffer from depression and live an unhealthy life like I did. It breaks my heart to see people struggle when I have the answers. I want them to feel as amazing as I do today now that I'm healthy. I HAVE to tell them my story so they can heal. I HAVE to give them hope. I CAN'T sit idly by while they waste their lives in quiet desperation. This is my why.
Having a ‘why’ will help us when the going gets tough. It helps us when we want to quit doing the tedious or difficult steps to reach our goal. If I want to be successful in my business, I will make cold calls, prioritize my time and address difficult issues. If I want to eat better I'll take the time to plan my meals and say no to foods that aren't good for me. If I want better relationships, I'll be honest and authentic with my friends even if it's awkward. I'll invest in friendships with my time and energy.
If we don’t have a why, we’ll simply quit. Our willpower won’t be enough to keep us going. We’ll begin to find reasons why we can’t. We’ll justify stopping our program. We may even blame the person who suggested it in the first place.
Is it a Wish or a Why?
Do you have a New Year’s Resolution? Let’s say you want to lose some weight. But why? Why don't you like those 10 pounds? What will you be like without those 10 pounds? How will you feel without those 10 pounds? And make sure you ask yourself the question 'do you believe you can achieve it?' If you don't believe it, it won't happen.
Clarify your Why
Re-evaluate your New Year’s Resolution and ask yourself ‘why’. Why do you want to add or subtract this from your life? Then make sure and write those ‘whys’ down. Your ‘why’ will be the ammunition you’ll need by January 15th (the day most people quit their resolution) to keep doing, or not doing, what you resolved to do.