The "C" Branch

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What Do You Want Your Life To Look Like This Year?

Posted by Chris DeMarco on Friday, January 1st, 2010 at 2:07 am

New Year’s resolutions rarely cut it. Here’s why, and how to really change this time.

At the end of every year, millions of people decide to set “resolutions” for themselves to achieve in the new year – typically some sort of behavioral change such as quitting an addiction. Unfortunately, the reality is that most of these resolutions go unfulfilled. So, rather than continue a less-than-successful pattern for another year, let’s take a look at some successful principles for achieving true life change. In the next few sections, we’ll explore why most resolutions fail and discover a more practical approach, learn the determining factor of success and begin painting a detailed picture of a “changed” life, and then learn how to see the change through from start to finish.

One of the biggest reasons most resolutions are not achieved is that they are almost always focused on a behavioral change. Most experts agree that attempts to change behavior are rarely successful – because the underlying conditions causing the behavior are left unchanged. Therefore, the undesired process is extremely difficult to stop because it is simply the result of these larger controlling factors. Even if someone is able to stop a certain behavior for a while, if the underlying conditions stay the same, that person is very likely to relapse.

It’s really quite a simple concept. If your car leaks oil, and you just keep replacing the lost oil, you really aren’t accomplishing anything constructive. The oil will be low again soon enough, and all you’ll be doing will be just wasting oil throughout the process. The reason for this is that the problem you’re trying to fix (the low oil) is the result of an underlying condition (the leak).

These “underlying conditions” or core issues, with regards to life change, can be a number of things and of varying severity. One could be something as simple as a lack of healthy stress management skills – resulting in overeating or substance abuse. Or it could be more severe, like depression or a life of compromised dreams and goals.

Regardless of what the underlying condition may be, success with any sort of “resolution” will always come from making substantial improvements to the quality of one’s life (core issues) and rarely from trying to “force quit” some sort of behavior or addiction (passive results). Real change will come best from asking the question “What do I really want my life to look like?” and then taking responsibility for pursuing the life of fulfillment you desire.

For example, some of the most popular “New Year’s Resolutions” are to lose weight, quit smoking or drinking, and get out of debt. These are all behaviorally-related changes. However, there is almost always a larger core condition resulting in all of these particular behaviors – whether it be poor stress management, inadequate self-worth or esteem, a lack of motivation or self-control, or some other factor.

If someone who is in debt resolves to pay off all his/her bills in the new year but has poor financial management skills, even if they do manage to pay off their bills, they will just end up in debt all over again soon enough. Likewise, if someone who drinks because he/she is depressed manages to quit drinking, it doesn’t accomplish much. That person will still be depressed, and will most likely find another destructive outlet to cope with their issues, or just start drinking again down the road.

And I say “if they manage to pay off their bills” and “manages to quit drinking” because more often than not, people making these resolutions are unable to even achieve them in the first place rather than succeeding and then relapsing.

Rather, it is more constructive and much more effective to focus on the core underlying conditions resulting in the specific things you would normally resolve to change. So, this year, I would challenge you to start by simply begin asking yourself “What do I really want my life to look like?”

In the next section, we’ll explore the factor that will make or break your success and begin painting a picture of the change you want to see in your life.

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One Response to “What Do You Want Your Life To Look Like This Year?”

  1. belajarcafe Says:

    Everyone wants some sort of result and most of them can’t get what they wish. I think you have some good plans that can resolve that problem. Stopping an ongoing process isn’t effective like the plan itself. Thanks and see you again in next section.


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