Today I’m closing out a three-part discussion on New Year’s Resolutions and why so many start off every year with such high expectations, only to have their best intentions fall by the wayside before the calendar page turns to February. If you missed Part One, you can catch up here. And if you missed Part Two – the one that included the story of my legacy-changing day on a Six Flags roller coaster – you can find it here.
As January has passed and we are headed full on into February, 40% of New Year’s Resolutions have been abandoned. The StairMasters, ellipticals and treadmills at the gym are freeing up more and more every day. Cigarette sales are creeping up again. The drive-thru lines at McDonalds are returning to their normal artery-clogging lengths. In a couple of weeks, around Valentine’s Day, the New Year’s Resolution “abandonment rate” will hit 75%, on its way to a final resting point of 92%.
Like I shared last week, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some additional reasons why so many struggle achieving all they desire:
1. They haven’t modified and aren’t managing their environment for success. This is so important. Now, when I use the word “environment”, I’m certainly not talking about the weather. I’m talking about all the stimuli that we allow in our proximity. What we read. What we listen to. Who we listen to. Who we choose to surround ourselves with. How much television we watch, and what we watch on television.
The old axiom is still true – “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to keep getting what you’re getting.” True success always involves change. And when it comes to our personal environment, it really is that – OUR environment. Which means that we are the only ones with the power to modify and manage it.
I have a friend Chris who totally gets this. Chris has been working on improving his physical condition for the last few months, and he has made definitive, measurable changes in his life to support that goal. He is hitting the gym several mornings each week, joining The 12Movement. He interacts with his fellow Movement members for support and accountability, and they notice and hold him accountable when he doesn’t show up (more on this below). But it doesn’t stop there. With the support of his wife, Chris has completely revamped his diet, creating all-new, healthier foods in their home. From the photos I see on Facebook, the food still looks delicious. Their kids are aware of what dad is doing, and the whole family is on board with Chris’ desire for self-improvement. Chris is going to achieve his goals, because he has a plan and has modified his surroundings to support those efforts.
Managing your environment for success is going to be different for each of us. For some, it may mean replacing an hour of television with an hour at the gym. For others, it may mean tossing all the unhealthy foods in fridge and pantry into the trash and starting with clean shelves. For others, it may mean avoiding crowds where others are smoking and you have vowed not to. When I was working on my own weight loss a few years back, this stuff had to leave my house. All of it. I know my limitations and challenges, and ice cream is my thing. For me, it was easier to toss the stuff and “purge my environment” than it was to take on the challenge each day. And I wouldn’t worry about the others in your household grumbling about the missing items; those that love you and want the best for you will almost always be willing to make a small sacrifice alongside of you for your own well-being and victory.
2. They don’t have anyone holding them accountable. None of us can completely do it alone. We all need someone that knows what we’re attempting to accomplish, supports us, and will hold us accountable for the results. In Chris’ example above, he has support and accountability from his team members at the gym and from his family at home. Now THAT’S a winning formula.
I wrote previously about how important accountability is to success and what to look for in an accountability partner. My accountability partner Dave and I have been meeting for about 45 minutes over the phone or in person every Tuesday for the last two years. We each take a turn, sharing with the other our successes of the previous week, our challenges, and our intentions and plans for the upcoming week. We ask each other questions that provide insight and often generate fantastic new ideas. This commitment has had a massive impact on my productivity, my clarity and most of all – my results. In addition, we’ve created a bond and friendship that will last a lifetime. If you or someone you know is still hoping to lose weight, quit smoking, make better financial decisions – whatever is first and foremost on your list – I can’t recommend enough the value you will receive (as will they) in having someone hold you accountable. If you are looking to start an accountability relationship, there are some good starter guidelines here.
As a reminder, I discuss many of these concepts in more detail in our Goal Achievement audio course, Living Life by Design. We released this course a few weeks ago, and the feedback coming in from those who are already making 2014 their best year ever is exciting! You can find out more about the course, read the testimonials, listen to various segments from the course, and even download the entire first session as our gift here.
And as always, I encourage you to share the site page with someone else you know in your life that could use some extra direction. We all know somebody like that!
Let’s have a great 2014!
Do you have a story to share of where you modified or changed your environment and it brought you greater success? Have you experienced the value that comes from having someone hold you accountable for your goals and intentions? If so, please comment below and tell us!
Dale Marcouillier founded Integress Solutions in 2011 out of a desire to share basic success principles with others. You can email Dale directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.