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The Resolution Revolution

Posted January 12, 2017

By the time you read this, the new year will be at least a couple of weeks old, and if you made any new year’s resolutions at all, you may have already broken them. The statistics on keeping new year’s resolutions are not favorable. According to Ray Williams, a business consultant and author of Breaking Bad Habits, 50% of the American population break their new year’s resolutions by February 5. The focus of most of them falls within these categories: weight loss, physical exercise, smoking cessation, spending control, and debt reduction. Not very exciting! The vast majority of resolution-setters have given up on their resolutions within the first five weeks of the year and find themselves right back where they started on January 1.

 

Make Resolutions?
So what should we deduce from these discouraging results: that there’s no point in trying to change anything? That we should all sink into a grim future as overweight, out-of-shape, over-budget smokers, drowning in debt? I don’t think so. But maybe we should all try giving up on the whole resolution thing once and for all and look at a few other possibilities.

At the far end of the spectrum from the no-resolution/no-change people and “normal” business consultants, such as Ray Williams, are the superstars of change — the Tony Robbins and Tim Farriss types — whose thinking and accomplishments sky-rocket into a different stratosphere than those of most mortals, including yours truly.

 

Strive for Stratosphere?
You probably remember Tony Robbins of “you-too-can-walk-on-hot-coals” fame, but you may not be as familiar with Tim Farriss. Farriss, a productivity expert and coach to top performers in every field, is currently at the very top of the heap of the most popular podcasts in the world, author of several self-help books including The Four-Hour Work Week, The Four-Hour Body, and The Four-Hour Chef. Beyond that, he is a serial entrepreneur who owns several businesses which he apparently runs from his a laptop plopped in various glamorous locations around the world. At age 40, he is worth upwards of $20 million. He wants you to know that you can be “better, faster, stronger,” and his advice to you is to learn how to ask “absurd questions” rather than ordinary obvious ones. One such question might be, “Why can’t your company earn $100,000,000 this year instead of in ten years?” The questions have to force you to think differently than you ordinarily think. (I see. . .) I encourage any of you who are drawn to this type of peak performance to pursue Tim Ferriss and his work with everything you’ve got. Report back to me later in the year.

 


A Way that Can Yield Results

Woman writing in the notebookBut for those of you who are looking for something less stratospheric, allow me to suggest an approach to your new year that is entirely doable, one that can yield results. It does entail purchasing a small blank journal of some kind — one that you can carry around with you (all of my clients do). This is your Think Book, not your diary. What you will be doing is reflecting on your life, and capturing what you are thinking. You are only going to be doing it for a maximum of three months, not years and years. By the end of three months, you will have come up with some very important thinking that will lead to some very important actions. Slow down, relax, take a deep breath, and decide that this is the year you are going to actually listen to yourself. After all, this is your life!

Here are some questions for your Think Book, just to get you going:


What’s working in my life?

This category includes such things as your marriage, your job, your friends, your house, your dog, your church, your neighborhood, your family gatherings, et al.


What’s not working in my life? 

This category includes such things as your marriage, your job, your friends, your house, your dog, your church, your neighborhood, your family gatherings, et al.


What’s missing? 

This would be something you used to love to do, but you stopped doing it. Playing the piano? Singing in a choir? Playing tennis? Riding your bicycle? Spending time with your oldest, dearest friend?


What’s next? 

This would be something sequential, something you may be ready for now that you weren’t ready for before, like graduate school, or finally learning to swim, or moving up, or moving out, or moving on. Sometimes you are just done with something, and it’s time to close the door so you can open a new one.

Sometimes thinking and wondering and jotting down your thoughts in a journal can lead to clarity about something very important. You’ll be riding on BART one day or crossing the bridge in a traffic jam, and all of a sudden a clear thought will break through like a comet: “I’m going to quit my job!” or, “I am moving to the mountains where I belong!”  You fill in the blanks, but give yourself until about March before you do anything drastic. Call me if you need help with any of the details.

 

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