It’s that time of the year when we prepare for a new slate, January 1st! As tradition has it, we come up with a list of resolutions we are determined to carry out for a full year. But we choose to start on a day when we are not physically our best whether it was from staying up all night or having a few cocktails, but nonetheless we are choosing our will power to be at its strongest when we are probably at our weakest. Ironic, huh?
So what are New Year Resolutions like for you? Are they over by the time February hits? That is certainly what the gyms are banking on. And the consistent gym rats are just waiting for the crowds to die off…because they will.
Are you tired of the disappointment? You have great intentions but you find you get off track. Life gets busy, procrastination sets in and you’re back in the cycle of “I’ll do it next week.”
If you want to create change in 2018 it’s not going to come from making New Year’s Resolutions and hoping will power will carry you though. So what creates the change? What causes a person to exercise more consistently, work smarter, or develop deeper connecting relationships? Simply raising your standards.
If you enjoy visually learning then you can stop here and watch 35 minute Tony Robbins’ talk or continue reading our summary of his talk below.
Resolution requires a firm decision to do or not to do something but the lasting change is raising your standards. Standards are your beliefs, what you believe you’re capable of and the kind of person you are.
Lasting change is different from a goal. You don’t always get your goals but you always get your standards. You set the bar for your standard. Is it set too low?
Remember the last time you created real change in your life? You were resolute. Something inside you shifted. It didn’t require will-power anymore. Perhaps you stopped smoking, you lost weight? Human beings follow through on who they really believe they are. How do you define yourself? You set a standard years ago on who you were. It determines how you carry through on your resolution. You’re living out on who you were decades ago…a glass ceiling at some point stopped you. You are the only one that can break through that glass ceiling. When and what are your limitations? Challenge it in order for a breakthrough.
Everybody in life gets their ‘musts’ but not their ‘shoulds.’ I should lose weight. I should be more confident. I should make more calls. I should get in the office earlier. When you decide you ‘must’ do something, you find a way.
Your physical body is a reflection of who you are. You are locked in on an identity. We all know nutritionally what to eat and how to exercise but that head knowledge doesn’t change our behavior. Changing how we define ourselves (changing the standard) is the longevity that brings real change.
Same thing happens with money. Some of our standards are to pay our bills. Some of us pay only part of our bills. Some of us pay our bills and give to others. It is all how we see ourselves. What standards do you live by? Want change? Raise your standards!
Once your standard has been changed, create bite size steps. Too much of a step, you get overwhelmed. Feel the sense of accomplishment each day with smaller steps.
What’s your standard with your spouse? What’s your ritual? Do you say hello to your spouse? Or do you start watching tv or spend time on your phone. Do you engage with connecting conversation? How do you interact with your kids? Include surprise rituals to keep it rich.
Are you giving your all in everything you do? Why? or Why not?
Some of us lower our standards. Why? Who you spend time with is who you will become. You don’t have to compete with it. This good feeling of not competing is an illusion because the good feeling really comes from stepping up! You know this is true after you watch 30 seconds of The Real Housewives.
Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. -Proverbs 13:20
Don’t let this year be a repeat. What area do you want to improve?
Improve your body, develop your career to the next level, strengthen your relationship with your kids, deepen your spiritual connection, get out of debt, renew your body with more sleep, etc…then do 4 step exercise below. Writing it down actually uses a different part of the brain and the chances of you adhering to this change rises dramatically simply because it is written down. See side note.
In 1979, interviewers asked new graduates from the Harvard’s MBA Program“Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans (rituals/habits) to accomplish them?” and found that :
- 84% had no specific goals at all
- 13% had goals but they were not committed to paper
- 3% had clear, written goals and plans (rituals/habits) to accomplish them
In 1989, the interviewers again interviewed the graduates of that class. You can guess the results:
- The 13% of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all.
- Even more staggering – the three percent who had clear, written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
So write down the following exercise:
- Write down what your life is like right now.
- What rituals have gotten you to this point?
- What do you want?
- What are the rituals that will get you there?
Will power doesn’t last, rituals do. Start with a couple rituals, not all of them. Momentum will build up and you will add more rituals along the way.
Pain of Discipline (weighs ounces) or the Pain of Regrets (weighs pounds.) – Tony Robbins
My only resolution for the past couple years has been to mentally stay in my CrossFit workout and not take breaks. It’s by far the hardest part of Crossfit for me. I finish my workouts but I stop for many breathers along the way. I could go to a regular gym and feel pretty good about myself but it’s true, you do become like the people you surround yourself with. I want people around me to help me raise my game. Left alone, I would lift a couple 5lb dumbbells, walk on the treadmill and call it a workout.
Disclaimer: Don’t assume this video is easy to share. When CrossFit Alpharetta asked me to do a promo video I was flattered until I realized they were asking all the ’50 year olds’ to share. Yes, I have age issues. And I look like I rolled out of bed, which I probably did. haha!
When I come home, Russ will always ask me about my workout and I tell him the truth…it was lame, I didn’t lift as much as I could have, I took too many breathers and his response every time is “You showed up.” And that’s the key. If your standard is to show up, think about how much consistency will impact your goal. Whether it’s exercising, working smarter, playing with your kids, etc….It’s back to what is your standard?
With our marriage, our goal is to have as many experiences, as possible, versus collecting stuff. Looking at the next phase of our marriage, having recently become empty nesters, I counted the approximate summers we have left….30. Wow, did that put things into perspective! Going through the aforementioned 4 steps will prevent us from looking back with regret.
I know I’ve given you a lot to think about but I would be remiss if I didn’t give you one more resource to read up on…Charles Duhigg – The Power of Habit. You can interchange the word ‘habit’ for ‘ritual.’ Same principle.
At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, raising exceptional children, becoming more productive, building revolutionary companies and social movements, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.