We’ve all experienced days ending in “Why?” Maybe you’ve even had years that ended in “Why?” What if we turned that around, and intentionally started a year with, “Why?” As in, “this is the reason why I want to keep my New Year’s resolutions.
Has anyone ever in all of history kept a New Year’s resolution for an entire year? Relative to the number of resolutions made, I expect that very few – an insignificant number at best – have actually been kept. The reason for this abysmally miniscule success rate: ‘Will Power’ is not all that powerful, and examples of will-power weakness are seemingly infinite. Having a bad day? On an emotional rollercoaster? Overcoming will power with a rationalization is ridiculously easy. To take one common example, comfort food – in this case, food you know isn’t good for you but somehow makes you feel good anyway – is one thing many people turn to when things are going so swell. They can easily rationalize in a moment of weakness by telling themselves that one sugar donut or a gallon of ice cream won’t hurt: they can make up for it tomorrow. And just like that, will power folds and another resolution bites the dust. The Big Book of Rationalizations is a pretty hefty collection, with plenty of excuses to choose from to render the power of will helpless in the face of a second helping of dessert.
Will power has proven itself an essentially useless ally countless times, but why is a powerful force to have on your side. The key is in choosing a why that’s important to you. It can be anything, but often it’s attaining a goal such as a certain career, or graduating from college, etc. These are reasons why to choose to work and study hard instead of – well, whatever it is you do to pass the time.
To provide further examples, common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking. You know you should and no doubt you’ve put effort into these goals. Did you have a ‘why’ or just a will? Maybe you want to live long enough to see your kids or grandkids grow up so you can be there to help and guide them. There’s your why. Whenever you’re tempted to eat something you know you shouldn’t, or skip your daily exercise, or light up another death stick, think of your kids and grandkids, and what you’ll miss if you don’t take better care of yourself.
Ask yourself; “What’s important to me?”, “Why do I want to acomplish this?” Once you identify the why, you can make your New Year’s resolution(s) to get you where you want to be in the future, whatever it is. When you feel your will power failing (and it will), remember your ‘why’. Start everyday with ‘why’ and hold it close throughout the day. Hopefully, every one of your days will henceforth end in ‘why’, but from now on for a good reason!