Welcome to 2024, a brand new year brimming with potential.
All around the world, people are joining gyms, buying planners, and making bold claims of sweeping change in their New Year’s resolutions – a time-honored, but often fruitless tradition.
Unfortunately, the reasons people resist change, especially sudden and dramatic change, are nuanced and many. Some of us have a difficult relationship with change. Some don’t see their goals clearly enough. Some have trouble managing their priorities to make change happen. And for some of us, it’s a complicated mix of all three.
But for all the reasons they fail, there is one thing that all those who succeed have in common: commitment.
Keeping Committed to Your New Year’s Resolution
Management expert Ken Blanchard perfectly summarized the reason commitment is the secret ingredient to success: “When you’re interested in something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”
If you want to experience transformation in the new year, you must be committed – not merely interested. These four exercises will help you create that transformation:
1. RESOLUTION RETROSPECTIVE
How would others describe you? Would they say that overall you are a casual or a committed person? How about when it comes to the things that are important to you? If there are no people or beliefs in your life to which you are completely committed, then you need to figure out why.
Is the issue your values? Do you know what you believe in? It’s difficult to develop commitment if you don’t.
Is the issue the price you must pay to be committed? There is also a price to be paid for lack of commitment. If you don’t devote yourself to the change you want to make, what will you forfeit? And on the other hand, if you pay the price, what benefit will you gain?
If these issues are unclear to you, write down your resolution(s) and figure out what the cost will be for each. Then weigh one against the other. If it’s worth the price, make the commitment to follow through.
2. RAISING THE BAR
A standard of excellence motivates daily discipline. Think about the change you’re trying to make with your New Year’s resolution. How have you approached it in the past? Have you committed the kind of time, attention, and resources to it that will allow you to accomplish it with a high degree of excellence? Reevaluate your approach to it. Then use that experience to examine how you approach the rest of your year.
3. STRATEGIC THINKING
Change is uncomfortable, and commitment is almost always inconvenient. Plan ahead to ensure your follow-through. What is your strategy for winning the battle to stay committed to your goal?
Do you need inspiration or motivation? Think why you want to change, and keep reminders nearby to keep your resolution top-of-mind. Will accountability help you stay disciplined? Ask a trusted friend to schedule weekly goal check-ins with you, or join a group of goal-driven individuals that will help you stay focused. Is there a structure or system that will make goal-oriented decision-making simpler? Dedicate thirty minutes to making room in your life for your goal. Use whatever tools work most effectively for you.
4. DECISION REVISION
Commitment may be the one thing that will make or break the change you want to create this year, but all commitment is, is daily management of one or a few critical decisions.
Have you already made a decision about what you will use this year to create? Ask yourself…
- Do I know what daily disciplines and practices will help me bring about the change I want to accomplish this year?
- Have I already made the decision to make and keep those commitments daily?
- If I have, when did I make that decision?
- What does that decision look like in practice?
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This blog post has been adapted from Dr. John Maxwell’s personal productivity resource, Today Matters. John Maxwell has been one of the world’s foremost leadership and personal growth experts for more than 40 years, and this guidebook for success planning contains invaluable insights. You can pick up a copy here.