The ‘fraud’ called new year resolution
“SUCCESS isn’t owned; it’s leased, and the rent is due every day”-J. J. WattPaula White once said: “Your future is found in your daily routine. Successful people do daily what others do occasionally.”Losers do occasionally what winners do daily. If you really want to know the reason why some people succeed and others don’t, you need not look far- the secret is in their daily routines.
Tony Robbins corroborated this when he said: “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”The idea of a fixed future is a farce. Our future is constantly changing because of little things that happen in the present.The foremost leadership coach, John C. Maxwell, once said: “You’ll will never change your life until you change something that you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
Successful people don’t have New Year resolutions; they have daily resolutions, as success is a daily job. When people wait for the New Year to make a resolution, then they have waited too long. Resolution must never be a yearly event; it must be daily.
A brief look at the origin of New Year Resolution would actually give us the reason why it is bound to fail from the beginning. A New Year resolution is a tradition that originated about 4,000 years ago from the Babylonians, in which a person makes a promise on New Year’s Eve to make certain changes or self-improvements in the year ahead.
The practice was further carried over into Roman times, with worshippers offering resolutions of good conduct to the two-faced deity, named Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and endings, who looked backward into the old year and forward into the new.
The ancient Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year, which began in mid-March, but later shifted to January after the Romans tinkered with the calendar to reflect their own first month, named after Janus.Ancient New Year resolutions were only made on the premise that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts, but the modern form has been extended to cover anything, thereby diluting the sacredness of the practice.
The Babylonians and Romans had a greater motivation to stick to their promises than what we have today, because for the ancient people of Mesopotamia, keeping their promise would mean that their gods would bestow grace on them throughout the course of the following 12 months, and breaking those promises would put them out of favour.
Today, the only thing that has changed (for some) is that rather than making promises to gods, we make promises to ourselves. And since we cannot possibly rain thunders and lightning on ourselves as punishment for not keeping our promises, it need not surprise us that sooner or later, we fail in staying true to our words.
Ancient New Year resolutions were borne out of deep commitment and reference to a deity. It was more religious then, but has now gradually become more of a casual practice, as people now make New Year resolution with impunity.
A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman of the University of Bristol, involving 3,000 people, showed that 88 per cent of those who set New Year resolutions failed, despite the fact that 52 per cent of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.Lack of accountability in modern New Year resolution eventually became its doom. For New Year resolution to be sustainable and workable, it has to metamorphose into daily resolutions.
The object of this piece is to help the reader make a mental shift from a doomed New Year resolution to a workable daily resolution. Aristotle, Alexander the great’s teacher and mentor, once said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.From Ludwig van Beethoven, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill to the new generation of Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, one critical thing they all have in common is a formidable daily routine.
Instead of consulting oracles, mediums, palm readers and priests for reasons for your failures, why can’t you take a diagnostic look at your daily routine? The truth is that the reason for your failure is hidden in how you live daily.Some parts of your future are actually quite predictable by just taking a deep look at your daily routine.
Robert Collier said: “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.”As a personal development coach, the major thing I normally do around my clients and mentees is to see how to influence and tinker with their daily routine in such a way that it would align with their ultimate destination.
My competency watchword has always been: If you want success in the long-term, you must be able to make daily adjustments on a short-term.Most of the time, I watch with utter dismay, how people attribute the reasons for their failure to environment, family, background, etc without any proper recourse to their daily routine. Failure is simply a pointer to the fact that your daily routine has been indicted.
How can we live daily and intentionally? How can we transform yearly resolutions into a more quantifiable and monitorable daily routine?One, make daily goals. Anthony Robins said: “People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals that do not inspire them.”
There is nothing as potent as daily goals. Daily commitment to a goal is essential to its accomplishment. The first level of commitment to a goal is to write it down. Committing your goals to paper increases the likelihood of your achieving them 1,000 percent. Zig Ziglar said: “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”
Two, get daily feedbacks. Ken Blanchard said: “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”We have all heard the saying, ‘What gets measured gets done.” It means regular measurement and reporting keeps you focused, because you use that information to make decisions to improve your results. Track your progress.
Three, make daily continuous improvement. Kim Collins said: “Strive for continuous improvement, instead of perfection.” I have observed that people that are committed to daily improvement ultimately reach their destinations, even if it is little. Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results.
The Japanese economy was revolutionised through the culture of unending improvement, called Kaizen. The competitive success of Japan in the world’s market place is greatly as a result of their implementation of the Kaizen concept in their corporations. Instead of making improvement on occasional basis, the Kaizen culture looks for uninterrupted, ongoing and incremental daily change.
Four, Be accountable daily. Steve Covey said: “Accountability breeds responsibility.”Being accountable to somebody, such as friends, family or a trainer can be a powerful tool to ensure progress towards your goal. As a personal development coach, I have come to realise that the only way to intercept our ‘destructive’ tendencies is through accountability.
Five, audit your relationships daily. Never plan a future with people who don’t have future plans.I have often said that success is letting go of people, perspectives and places that hold you back in life. Never allow a toxic person to stay a day longer in your life, as just one more day with a toxic person can bring irredeemable and irreversible damage.
Six, make personal development a daily affair. The greatest hindrance to personal development is daily neglect. Rich people would rather be educated than entertained. Take billionaire Warren Buffett, for example, who estimated that 80 per cent of his working day was dedicated to reading.
If you really want to attract good things into your life, then you have to be intentional about making growth a daily ritual.Seven, set daily boundaries. You must continuously re-evaluate boundaries in every aspect of your life. One critical aspect of healthy living that is worth emphasising is the aspect of healthy boundaries, which produce healthy relationships. But a lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.
Disrespecting someone’s set of boundaries actually marks the onset of abuse.You must set daily and vehement boundaries that would keep and insulate you from distractions and disrespectful intrusions.
If you really want to make the best out of this year, make daily goals and get daily feedbacks. Your daily routine matters. The way you start your day matters. Your morning rituals matter.Don’t wait for the year to end before making adjustments. Adjustment begins now. Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year.
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