"Each of us holds the potential for our unique form of greatness."
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Every New Year’s Eve friends and family gather to party like it’s 1999. Whether or not you actually make a New Year’s resolution, we all march into the New Year hoping for something epic to happen: greater health, greater wealth, and more happiness. But, for those that actually take the extra step beyond mere hope, the statistics are dismal.
According to a Marist Poll, four out of ten Americans (40%) planned to ring in 2013 with resolutions to be thinner, exercise more, spend less, and save more, or some other proclamation of becoming better. Of those that made a resolution, roughly two-thirds will keep it for at least part of the year. But only 8 percent will actually succeed.
The question is, where do broken resolutions go? Can they find their way home? The answer to these questions and many more are answered by M.J. Ryan’s book, This Year I Will. Within the pages of this book, you will unlock how to bridge the gap between the excitement of new resolutions and the resolve required to achieve those goals and objectives.
The Big Idea
Don't do things that suck!
"If you are serious about succeeding…you’ve got to get your emotions on your side."
More pleasure, less pain. We want easy and there is no shame in that! Our minds are pre-wired for fun. Anything that gets in the way of our fun will be destroyed; it’s just how we work. Ryan explains that there are three very powerful components of our brain that play a vital role in the level of success that we are able to achieve. These ‘three brains’, as the author refers to them, must work in unison in order for you to achieve your goals. The first brain (cerebellum and brain stem) repeats behaviors over and over with the goal of preserving our life at all costs. The second brain (limbic system) is the emotional brain, which propels us toward pleasure and away from pain. If the emotional brain is not on board with your desire to change, it will sabotage your efforts in favor of immediate pleasure or perceived safety. The third brain (neocortex) is the part of our brain capable of reasoning. The emotional brain will override all reason and logic if your brain associates pain, no fun, or fear to the desired change. The more you can find what’s fun and enjoyable about what you want, the more your emotional brain will cooperate.
You're all mixed up... and it's okay!
"Don’t overvalue the nagging whispers to stay in the cozy corner of the-way-it-is-now… you don’t have to be 100% committed, only 51."
There is one part of you that says, “I want to lose 20 pounds so that I can be sexy again” and there is another part of you that says, “Give me a honey bun and a bag of flaming hot Cheetos, NOW!” The author says that ambivalence is normal. It is simply a reminder that your emotional brain loves easy. The important first step to getting over this hump is to recognize that it’s okay to feel ambivalent. The second step is to accept the challenge of doing something new, and then take action. The next step to overcoming ambivalence is calculating the price of not changing. This is your so what, it defines the consequence of not taking action and determines if you care enough to put in the effort required to succeed. Every decision has a price but it is only when you realize that the consequence of not changing is worse than whatever you have to go through, that you will put in the required effort to succeed.
What's at your core?
"The emotional and spiritual payoffs for your inner mining are enormous."
You are committed. You repeat a motivating mantra to yourself every morning; “I am smart enough. I can start my own business and I will do it because I really want to.” You’ve even gone so far as to create a list of SMART goals that paint the picture of your future self as you see it in your mind. Yet, for some reason you haven’t done what you said you would do. According to Ryan, you are probably more committed to something else that you are not consciously aware of that prevents you from creating forward momentum. Maybe you are more afraid of failing then you are committed to starting your new business. Under that commitment to avoid failure is a core assumption, a belief you formed very early in life that is driving your behavior without your knowledge. Core assumptions are always dire (no one will buy your product), untrue (you never come up with good ideas), and usually have a familiar ring to them (I’ve felt like this before). These core assumptions are beliefs created in childhood to protect us. They represent a child’s notion of what we need to do to be safe. In order to break free of these beliefs you must:
- Identify your core assumptions
- Look for evidence that proves it to be false
- Explore the history behind your assumption
- Challenge your assumption.
Change requires you to grow beyond your limiting beliefs and develop a new consciousness that is free of these invisible constraints.
This Year I Will is a very powerful book. It gives you insight into what you need to do to accomplish your goals and explains why you are in the way of your state goals and objectives. Everything comes down to your mindset and the way your thoughts make you feel. I remember talking to my co-worker and explaining that I would rather die than continue working for someone for the rest of my life. It was in that moment that I realized how much my goal of being a business owner meant to me. My mind started to associate pain with being employed rather than the safety I was previously conditioned to believe in. That is not to say that I am not afraid of being self-employed, because I am. The difference is I am learning to find more pleasure in the freedom of being completely in charge of my life. It was this transformation in thought that also gave me the courage to walk away from fourteen years in the Air Force when others urged me to stick out the last six years until retirement. The thought of being subject to military obligations for another six years became painful. The fear of walking away from the service I have known since age eighteen was immense but the pleasure in taking control of my life was greater. Your goals need to be sticky. Sticky goals really matter to you, evoke positive motivation, and their accomplishment is a must (no equal alternative). They need to compel you on multiple levels in order for you to persist and work through your emotional sticking points.
Have you created a list of goals that are sticky? What’s something epic you’ll do this year?