The greatest secret to making New Year’s resolutions work is understanding the power of change. Want to lose weight? Get a better job? Go back to college? Find a spouse? Get closer to God? Whatever it is, understand that real change is one of the most difficult things we’ll ever do. In fact, even the threat of death doesn’t make some people change. In my book Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That’s Constantly Changing, I reveal one study indicating that within only two years, 90 percent of open heart surgery patients go back to their old eating habits—the same lifestyle that got them there in the first place.
For real change to happen in our lives, we need more than wishes and resolutions. We need to understand how to embrace the kinds of techniques that allow real transformation to happen. As a media consultant and television producer in Hollywood, I’ve spent my life helping organizations and individuals understand how change can enable them to move to the next level of success and effectiveness. In the process, I’ve learned some important keys to help you as you make your resolutions work:
1. Let go of your past
Every football coach knows the saying, “It’s not how many times you fall that matters, it’s how many times you get back up.” Past failure is a good teacher, but we can’t dwell on it because we have no control over our past. So stop looking back. Get your eyes off the past, and start focusing on the future.
2. Know your destination
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never know when you get there. Before you start the journey toward change, know specifically what you want to accomplish. And don’t forget to reward yourself along the way. Goals are great, but if they take too long to achieve, you’ll give up. So create “mini-goals” to encourage you along the journey.
3. Take control of your priorities and eliminate destructive distractions
Don’t allow insignificant distractions keep you from changing your life. Like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, millions of people spend enormous time on things that really don’t matter, while their lives spin out of control. You’ll never reach your goals unless you understand the power of priorities. Spend less time on what seems “urgent” at the moment and more time on what really matters.