It is time to reflect on the past year. It is time to consider making new resolutions.
As for reflecting, I can’t say enough how glad I am that 2013 is coming to a close.
Although it has been by far (and exponentially so) the most difficult year I have ever experienced, I would not change a thing.
Reflection on this past year, causes me to feel grateful for the growth I have experienced.
For many, this time of year is a time of reflection. It is also the time for the creation of New Year’s Resolutions. Yet, we all know that New Year’s resolutions tend to only last a few weeks or months at most. Are we really trying to set ourselves up for sure failure? I think not.
What we do know is that when we structure goals, the best way to do so is to not structure goals based upon willpower. When we look at uber successful people, what they do not have, contrary to what we may believe, is more and better willpower than us regular folk.
Research and wisdom is telling us that willpower is a finite resource. The great news is that really successful people do not necessarily have more willpower than you or me.
What uber successful people do have, however, is a system of habits they have developed over time that create success in their lives. This can be anything from creating a list of their most important things to do each day before breakfast, limiting their television time to 30 minutes per day and only after 8pm, scheduling their gym workouts as “appointments” in their calendar, or packing their workout clothes in with their travel luggage etc.
There is a growing body of research that shows success is built upon building successful habits rather than resisting repeated temptations. Resisting temptations takes a mental toll on people. Some experts liken willpower to a muscle that can get fatigued from overuse.
Some of the earliest evidence of this effect came from the lab of Roy Baumeister. In one early study, he brought subjects into a room filled with the aroma of fresh-baked cookies. The table before them held a plate of the cookies and a bowl of radishes. Some subjects were asked to sample the cookies, while others were asked to eat the radishes. Afterward, they were given 30 minutes to complete a difficult geometric puzzle.
Baumeister and his colleagues found that people who ate radishes (and resisted the enticing cookies) gave up on the puzzle after about 8 minutes, while the lucky cookie-eaters persevered for nearly 19 minutes, on average. Drawing on willpower to resist the cookies, it seemed, drained the subjects’ self-control for subsequent situations.
So we can apply this to our own lives pretty simply.
Instead of building your New Year’s resolution around willpower (ie. Follow a “diet” or remove all tasty treats), build your resolutions around specific behavior. Something like this:
For example, let’s say your Bay card (which you should destroy anyways) has a balance of $500 plus a minimum payment of $30 per month. Then you also have a Canadian Tire card with a balance of $1,500 that you are to pay a minimum of $60 per month.
So, commencing in January you not only pay the $30 on your Bay card but an extra $100 totaling $130 until that card is paid off. When the Bay card is paid off you add $130 to the $60 per month you have been paying on your Canadian Tire card until that is paid and so on until all your consumer debt is paid.
The thing is that once we incorporate good habits (like dedicating specific time to your business development) the goals we want to achieve (business success) will follow. It happens. Just like that.
Shoot for the moon and you just might end up landing in the stars . . .
Return from Resolutions