I am so excited for New Years. I love the gatherings with family and friends, the end of year parties and the time to reminisce on all that’s happened in 2016.
On the other hand, I hate New Year´s Resolutions.
They give me a stomach ache.
I understand that New Year’s represents the possibility of a new beginning but, quite frankly, I have a tough time sticking to my goals, especially the tough ones, for more than 60 days, much less an entire year.
Dan Diamond, in his article in Forbes Magazine, Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions, suggests that the best way of keeping a resolution is by making small, attainable and very specific goals. He explains: ¨self-improvement, or at least the desire for it, is a shared American hobby. It’s why so many of us…make New Year’s resolutions. But for all the good intentions, only a tiny fraction of us keep our resolutions¨.
But why do so many of us keep on setting goals and not accomplishing them?
The real reason we don’t follow through on our New Year´s Resolutions or any goal for that matter is that they make us feel uncomfortable.
Yes, that’s right, uncomfortable.
It´s part of our human nature to resist change and setting a new goal implies an extra effort on our behalf. In the same way we create more muscle when we start going to the gym, we can create a new and internal ¨muscle¨ when we constantly exercise our new goal. This process can be ¨painful¨ in the beginning, just like a new, exercise routine can cause our body´s to ache.
I have a friend named Stephanie and she is in sales. She wanted to start on her New Year´s Resolutions early and asked me to help. Her goal currently is to increase her sales by 20% in 2017 which, she decided, would be met by making more phone calls. Stephanie has a deep aversion to prospecting over the phone, especially when it involves calling strangers. When she started increasing the number of her daily phone calls, she felt like she was about to die.
No kidding. Die. At the beginning of every call, she wanted the ground to open up and swallow her whole. Exaggerating a bit? Not really. This is the way she felt. Logically she knew nothing was really happening to her but emotional it felt quite different.
Stephanie is now into her 23rd day of prospecting and feels much better about it. She has seen results and her prospecting ¨muscle¨ is growing.
On a weekly basis, we talk about her experience, revisit the purpose of her new goal, what can happen if she doesn’t keep it up and the fact that being uncomfortable is not that bad. Prospecting is difficult. It just is: it’s a fact and that’s that. Interestingly enough, she has come to the conclusion that being uncomfortable is actually good. It means she is learning to do something new and that this involves growth.
The big lesson for her is that being uncomfortable has now become a symptom of growth, not of inadequacy or weakness. Don’t take me wrong, there are many things that can make us feel uncomfortable and not all of them are necessarily good for us. It’s a matter of evaluating whether the daily actions we are taking are advancing our life´s purpose or not and whether these are making us better human beings.
So what will you choose to do today? Feel uncomfortable and push yourself to achieve more? Or lean back and wait one more year or until an easier solution comes your way?
I am going to let you in on a little secret, there is no easier way.