New Year Resolutions Don't Work

Recently a reporter from an East Coast newspaper asked me a couple of questions about New Year's Resolutions. Here are my answers to these two questions to help us all better understand how our immunity to change takes our attention away from following through on those New Year intentions. 1. What are the main reasons why most people's new year resolutions fail, and what can they do to insure success? a. People have competing commitments driven by deeply protected and differing assumptions and beliefs. These competing commitments pull them in opposite directions and cause them to spend a great deal of energy attempting to satisfy each. Examples: I am going to lose 20lbs but I love to eat and drink...or...I am going to change careers/start a new business but I really like the security of the paycheck I get from the job I tolerate today. b. Most people don't respect their strong immunity to change and, therefore, don't develop the support systems necessary to overcome this powerful and dynamic equilibrium to stay the same. However, there is untapped energy to be found if we can become less embedded in our immune system that protects us from change. c. They don't give their brain enough time and energy to relearn deeply ingrained habits by developing and following a goal-achieving plan through personal determination, practice, repetition and the support of others. 2. Why do most people have to reach a crisis point before they realize it's time for a change? Most people feel they need a change but have a difficult time articulating/envisioning what that change looks like and how to plan to make it real. Developing the ability to respond to unpredictable change is very hard for most people. Some people are afraid to develop approaches to move from the more comfortable status quo. Learning to take risks by starting with small projects (where the impact of failure is not excessive) is a good approach to overcome this lack of initiative. Many need more than self-help books to move forward. Taking personal initiative to generate innovative ideas and solutions to problems can require support in the form of a mentor or coach who guides us in handling important but not yet urgent issues. When we talk to others, in a safe environment, about the impending change, we reach clarity on what we must do to move forward. Building one's capability to accept and effectively handle change can release energy spent in worry and transform it into focused action. For more information, go to: