If you want to lose weight, pay off your credit card, or get organized, you have a bigger decision to make.
Research shows that the average New Year’s Resolution fails within three weeks. That means that 21 days after the ball drops, the champagne is gone, and the streamers have all been swept away, your grand resolution to lose weight/pay off your debt/quit smoking is going to turn into a big disappointment.
Why do we fail at our New Year’s Resolutions year after year? Sure, there are a lucky (and determined) few who manage to stick to their goals, but most of us find ourselves wondering what went wrong. Many people think they need to set smaller goals, but what I’m about to tell you may contradict everything you’ve heard before.
Your New Year’s Resolutions aren’t big enough. Your goals aren’t big enough.
What I’ve found in working with people for over 20 years is not that their goals need to be scaled back, but that they don’t want enough. They haven’t thought about why they want what they want¾why they want to lose weight or quit smoking. They haven’t identified a bigger purpose and meaning within their goals, so they are running on sheer will power and are, at best, only successful in a few areas.
More than just setting goals.
It’s a revolutionary concept: if you identify what you really, truly want from your New Year’s Resolution, you’ll find that reaching smaller goals is very do-able, almost natural. Your resolution has to be more than just setting goals for the next year. It has to be a decision about what matters to you and what you really want from life. I call it the One Decision. A One Decision is a very personal choice about who you are and what you care about. The One Decision gives you a reason to go through what it takes to not only achieve your goals, but also to change your life.
If Lance can do it, so can you.
Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France champion, didn’t just set a goal to win the Tour de France. He made a bigger commitment about living strong, and that is what gave him the courage and strength to keep winning. That’s a One Decision.
You may be thinking, “ But I don’t want to win the Tour de France! I just want to fit into my jeans!” The power of the One Decision is that once you make it, you will not only achieve the goals in front of you, but also you will expand your vision to encompass much bigger and more far-reaching goals.
Losing weight by loving yourself.
Carrie had tried every diet imaginable—no sugar, no fat, no salt, no wheat, no “white things;” the blood type and body type diets, high fiber diets, liquid diets, and special food diets. She’s been on cabbage broth diets, egg diets, celery diets, tuna diets, cottage cheese diets, and even grapefruit diets. In the past 40 years, Carrie has gained and lost enough pounds to equal her total body weight (and probably yours too!). Needless to say, simply resolving to lose weight never worked for her.
Then Carrie made her One Decision—she decided to “love herself beyond measure as a unique gift of God’s love.” From making that decision, she is beginning to treat her body very differently. When she gets hungry, Carrie asks herself, “What would you feed someone you really loved?” By default she started getting more exercise, deciding that she’s worth the extra attention it takes to really take care of herself. Carrie has accepted that she won’t be thin overnight—but by making this larger commitment she’s already lost over 20 pounds that won’t be coming back.
This New Year’s, you have the opportunity to not only achieve some goals, but also change your life for the better. Forever.
What will your One Decision be?
Judith Wright—best-selling author, educator, consultant, and lifestyles expert—has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends and over 300 other radio and TV programs. Her new book, The One Decision (Tarcher, 12/29/05), is endorsed by Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, Tom Peters, and many others. Visit Judith Wright at judith wright.