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How to Reel in New Year’s Resolutions Gone Rogue

Inspirational titans, including pro athletes, executives and best-selling authors, chime in on how to re-energize your 2019 resolutions and keep career and life goals on course

As we start the second calendar quarter, we’re entering that precarious time when many begin to flail and outright fail with their New Year’s resolutions—no matter how impassioned or well-intentioned they were at the time of inception. This phenomenon is so pervasive that a litany of studies are “peeling back the onion” to reveal exactly why so many are unsuccessful in fulfilling career, life and self-enhancing promises we’ve made to ourselves.

One recent Psychology Today article reveals that there may be four specific reasons “you may be standing in the way of your personal growth.” These are goals that are unclear, or feeling overwhelmed, discouraged or not ready for the change. And, while having a backup plan is an anxiety-alleviating strategy often proffered by field pundits, an Elsevier-published study titled “How backup plans can harm goal pursuit: The unexpected downside of being prepared for failure” explores the notion that “the mere act of thinking through a backup plan can reduce performance on your primary goal by decreasing your desire for goal achievement.” Speaking of anxiety, failing at New Year’s resolutions just may be impacting your emotional health. A report published by ReearchGate.net correlates the “conflict between goals (inter-goal conflict) and conflicting feelings about attaining particular goals (ambivalence)” that are both “believed to be associated with depressive and anxious symptoms.”

Whatever the reason your own New Year’s resolution has veered off-course, it’s never too late to rally, turn the tide and start realizing some quick successes. But it does take a bit of concerted effort, ideation and bona fide grit to make those resolutions a reality. In an effort to pull back the proverbial curtain, I tapped a variety of high-achievers and “serial doers”—“Firestarters” in various industries and trades to share advice on what it takes to start, create and even disrupt in order to achieve goals. Their anecdotal circumstances and points of advice also exemplify differences between people who actually make things happen and those who only think about making impactful changes, but never quite get there.

#1: Be Persistent with a Purpose

Best-selling author, lauded corporate executive and sought-after motivational speaker Steve Pemberton recommends unleashing “the power of persistence” with visceral determination. Having overcome a litany of adversities growing up in the foster care system to ultimately become a C-Suite powerhouse for global leaders the likes of Monster.com, Walgreens and Globoforce, Pemberton has walked the walk when it comes to “surthrival” and perseverance. Relative to the research mentioned above regarding the helpful or hurtful nature of back up plans, for Pemberton there was no such thing. There was simply no other option than to persist toward his goals, however small or large, that were doggedly pursued one at a time until, collectively, he reached that mountain peak. Then, he did it time and time again, also having spent much of his professional life helping others do the same. His childhood experiences not only gave him the resolve and tenacity to stay the course, but to do it with purpose and meaning—for Pemberton, a burning desire to “pay it forward” and help others break through obstacles in their own lives.

#2: Consistency Breeds Commitment

Ask people if they are committed individuals and many will say “yes,” however; commitment is often defined or regarded quite differently from culture to culture, and even person to person. Individuals often assert their commitment to their goals until a circumstance arises that knocks them off balance, comfortably absolving themselves of blame in the process. It’s no wonder a whopping 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are purported to fail by February. “In order to remain committed to a goal or cause, one must conduct themselves with steadfast consistency in working toward it, and upholding it when you’ve achieved it—no matter what hardships present along the way,” urges social activist and acclaimed personal injury attorney Christopher Chestnut, partner at The Chestnut Law Firm. Despite Chestnut’s amazing early career trajectory, including recognition from former President Barack Obama (who was Senator at the time) for courtroom excellence, earning a National Bar Association award and winning a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Big Tobacco, he suddenly found himself immersed in challenges threatening his reputation, livelihood and future at large. This included being in a dispute with his former mentor. While Chestnut was faced with possibly “losing it all,” having many chances to quit, his devotion to the idea of “justice because you deserve it”—the actual slogan of his law firm—gave him the emotional strength and fortitude to remain committed to the profession he worked so hard to attain. Consistency forges a path and, rather than focusing on the end destination, holding on to the ideals for “why” you want to grow can reinforce your commitment and serve as guideposts to help you navigate those inevitable bumps in the road.

#3: Remain in Relentless Pursuit

Russian-born Eugene Gold grew up poor, ultimately immigrating to the United States with the hope of a better life. In the process, he faced setbacks too numerous to count, from financial to professional to social. But he was relentless in working toward his career goals. So much so, Gold was coined a “relentless-preneur” for his unwavering belief that rejection actually fuels success. Gold reveres failure and regards rejection as an asset. Gold points out that, “every single time you fail and every single time you get rejected, you are that much closer to a ‘yes’ and more knowledgeable at how to get there.” It’s with this maverick mentality that Gold built a business that’s grown by a staggering 4,400 percent. His incredible, fearless determination landed his company at No. 65 on the coveted Inc. 5000, also appearing on Entrepreneur 360 list twice. Producing such staggering “against the odds” results is certainly difficult, but entirely attainable with the right mindset.

Another fast track case-in-point is Chi Ta, a self-made millionaire who grew his Airbnb business to $2.4 million upside in nine months, making him one of the world's largest Airbnb hosts by dollar volume. He not only attributes his rapid-fire success to determination, dedication and consistency, but also by being willing to take those calculated risks and leaps of faith needed to push past the status quo and not just be good ... but great. Before growing his Airbnb empire, Ta was working toward his “wealth” goals in the mortgage industry where he served for over a decade. But, when he uncovered gig economy opportunity in the homeshare space and curated what he felt was a powerful strategy related thereto, he brazenly pivoted and shifted his professional point of focus on the new pursuit. Today, Ta is one of the global leaders in his field and his now mentoring others on how to achieve just the same. Gold and Ta are examples of how quickly things can get back on track after an undesirable result. Their mega success demonstrates that people falling behind on their New Year’s resolutions can actually parlay pitfalls into renewed intentions that can reinvigorate.

#4: Value and Demonstrate Loyalty

It often takes a strong character to accomplish things in life, and this holds true for New Year’s resolutions as well. This according to “Character Coach” Gary Waters who enjoyed a 30-year career as a NCAA basketball head coach. Waters believes that character begins by being loyal to yourself and that quitting is the most disloyal thing you can do. Loyalty means different things to different people, of course. For Waters, loyalty is about the commitment one makes to a cause. It involves a feeling of devotion or obligation to something in both good times and bad. Other definitions describe loyalty as involving faithfulness to something to which one is bound by pledge or duty. In all instances, however, loyalty is about integrity—keeping one’s word or upholding expectations as demonstrated through one’s actions, optimally in a sustained and habitual manner. Waters believes that ingraining a sense of loyalty to one’s own wants and needs is a fundamental aspect of character building. Once you’ve mastered this for yourself, you can then impart the value of loyalty on those you have an impact on—be that in the workplace, at home or on a playing field.

Irfan Khan also knows a thing or two about loyalty. As the president and CEO of Bristlecone, a company whose size he has doubled the last four years by completely centering it around the needs and wants of his customers, Khan is an expert in “antifragility.” A concept defined by popular economic thinker Nassim Taleb, an antifragile system is one that, “instead of breaking under stress and change, thrives under it. The antifragile grow and improve from external shocks.” While typically applied to supply chain management and a consumer-centric approach and attitude in business, Khan asserts that trials and tribulations that test and attempt to undermine one’s loyalty can, and should, actually make that loyalty stronger and uncompromising.

#5: Recalibrate When Required

It is to be expected that one will face stress and difficulties in their road to successful resolutions, but some of those roadblocks may be signs it’s prudent to rethink your goals altogether. Career coach Sheeba Forbes faced this same dilemma when starting her practice intended to help women advance in the workplace. Many times, as her business was establishing itself, Forbes had to step back and re-evaluate if a particular goal was what she actually wanted—or even needed—or if it was time to “course correct” and adapt her objectives slightly to accomplish the bigger picture of what she set out to achieve. This ability and willingness to readjust and reacclimate to new conditions and situations taught her the value of taking a break, stepping back to re-evaluate goals and ensure the “why” behind them still aligns with current circumstances and desires. To this point, Dr. Quinella Minix, a personal performance coach, concentrates on intrinsic motivation. She advocates a focus on knowing what drives you and why. Minix underscores that it’s easy to get distracted by the “wrong why,” which can lead you down a path that wastes time and energy and can often take you further away from your goal.

The demonstrated value of strategic recalibration aside, when it comes to getting New Year’s resolutions back on course, for many the secret sauce is simply a matter of maintaining one’s vision, focus and persistence. This mix is what helped former NFL wide receiver Marques Colston become the New Orleans Saints all-time leading wide receiver (one of the top 50 in NFL history for receiving touchdowns) and, today, an entrepreneur helping retired athletes and other professionals become skilled entrepreneurs and investors in their own right. “Even though I attended a small school, my ‘plan A’ was to go to the NFL,” Marques notes. “When people asked me if I had a ‘plan B,’ I would respond that my ‘plan B’ was for my ‘plan A’ to work. I just didn't see it any other way. It was all or nothing.”

Can this “all or nothing” mentality help the throngs of folks failing with their New Year’s resolutions reel it back in and taste victory in their own right? It seems to me that such staunch intentions can certainly be a helpful means toward that end. But reality is there’s no one single method that can guarantee goal-setting success. The insights and perspectives above can help you ascertain what’s missing in your own plight and freshen your approach, optimally lighting that fire in your belly and sustaining it until you cross the finish line. It may not be easy, but perhaps you can perceive this truth as a thrill rather than a kill.

Merilee A. Kern, MBA, is an internationally-regarded branding and marketplace trends pundit—an industry voice of authority and tastemaker who spotlights noteworthy industry innovators, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on noteworthy experts, brands, products and services across all categories as well as exemplary destinations, experiences and events. Reach her at www.TheLuxeList.com and on social media: Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReviews; Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListEditor; Facebook www.Facebook.com/TheLuxeList; and LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-mentality/201812/why-new-years-resolutions-fail

https://tedideas.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/ac80a-2016_obhdp.pdf

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323798202_Goal_conflict_ambivalence_and_psychological_distress_Concurrent_and_longitudinal_relationships

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1&q=2019+whopping+80%25+of+New+Year%E2%80%99s+resolutions+fail+by+February%2C

https://www.bcone.com/disruption-and-the-antifragile-supply-chain/


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You were born a powerful creator, and NOTHING has changed. You have always had the ability to create your life at will, to be loved, successful and happy. You have always had the ability to be free and to express your freedom in ways that enrich your life – and the lives of others. Such is the life of the conscious creator. Unfortunately, very few of you have managed to create your lives with conscious intent and experience the joy your creative ability affords you. Instead, you’ve allowed the wounds you’ve experienced (and the feelings associated with them) to run your show. You’ve allowed your thoughts and feelings, assumptions, judgments and fear to dominate your life and hijack your creative control. This unconscious surrender to your egoic agenda (or “hairy bullshit”, as I call it) has eroded your faith in yourself and has weakened your connection to Divinity, to Source, to the Creative Flow. It’s stripped away your awareness of your creative ability, and in doing so, it’s convinced you that life is something that happens to you, something controlled by external sources, something “fated”. Because you haven’t learned how to harness your creative ability, you’ve managed to miss out on much of the joy, fun, success, and love that life has to offer. In fact, there’s a good chance that your belief that external forces have control of your life, and your continued focus on your pain, worries, and fear, have not only cost you your connection to your creative ability, they have also manifested pain, suffering, illness, loneliness, and anger in your life.

In reality, you are creating ALL of the time. Your creative ability is nothing short of astounding. Every aspect of your life… I’ll repeat that… EVERY ASPECT OF YOUR LIFE is something you created. Every good thing you have in your life is something you’ve created. Every moment of connection, every achievement, every aspect of your success, was all a direct result of your creative ability (whether you employed it consciously or not). Likewise, every bad relationship, every failure you’ve ever experienced, your physical pain or illness, all came as a direct result of your creative ability (whether you employed it consciously or not). Many people question that statement, preferring instead to blame outside sources for their misfortune. I know that’s true: I used to be one of them!!! I believed that if it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. I believed that my addiction to drugs and alcohol, my codependent relationships, my back issues and poor health, my poverty, my weight issues, my house burning down, all the times I was robbed or beaten, my trouble with the law (and all the other crap I was experiencing) were part of some cosmic joke that was being played upon me. I justified my anger, the chip on my shoulder, my lashing out at others, and my general self-neglect as by-products of my shitty life. In short… I played the victim, and I played it quite convincingly.

What turned it around for me, was the realization that the Law of Attraction actually DOES exist. The idea that our subconscious mind is a fertile garden, and that everything we plant in it (good or bad) grows; the idea that thoughts and feelings have the power to influence what we plant in that garden; and the idea that – without much effort at all – everything we plant in our subconscious will become our reality, helped me see my life in a different way. Unfortunately, I (like a lot of other people) used this information to create tons of doubt and fear in my life. I mean, if all that is true, then why can’t I just create a million dollars, or become the President of the United States? Or worse yet, if all that’s true, what’s to keep me from causing some catastrophe just because I imagined it? The answer (simple as it is) took me out of my fear and encouraged me to use my creative abilities consciously… The answer is EMOTION.

The reason we create so much shit in our lives is because we marinate in the emotions around that shit. We spend countless hours worrying about how things will play out. We run every possible worst-case scenario so that we can be prepared for what might come. We wring our hands and tell our friends about everything that’s NOT working in our lives. We tell ourselves stories about what we should be doing, why we don’t deserve to be happy, or why conventional wisdom is more trustworthy than the whisperings of our heart. We fill our subconscious with every negative emotion we can, and then we blame the Universe for our misery.

If you never hear another thing in your whole life, hear this:

Your emotions are the power source for your creations.

If you’re using fear to power your creations, you’re creating by-products of fear (pain, suffering, disconnection, illness etc.). If you’re using love to power your creations, you’re creating by-products of love (joy, well-being, connectedness, health etc.). Your emotions drive your creations, and that’s why most of us create so much useless crap for ourselves; because we don’t take the time to understand and guide our emotions. We don’t take the time to learn SELF MASTERY.

By cultivating self-mastery in our lives, we ensure that most (if not all) of the things we plant in our subconscious mind are things that serve us: thoughts of hope, gratitude, and faith. Thoughts of infinite possibilities. Thoughts of a world that thrives in harmony and balance. When we practice self-mastery, we use the Law of Attraction not only to create amazing things for ourselves, but for the people around us, and the world as a whole. We connect with our true nature and highest purpose, and we respect the power that comes with being the predominant creative force in our lives.

Through the practice of self-mastery, we learn to create our lives with conscious intent, and thus not only harness but optimize our creative ability. Self-mastery allows us to conquer our fear and create a life we can embrace and enjoy. In the absence of the thoughts and emotions that corrupt our creations, we are free to harness all of the energy we waste on those emotions – and put them to better use.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably very BUSY. The requirements of daily living continue to mount and the time to do everything that needs doing is in short supply. You’ve got a laundry list of things that have to get done, and you feel a bit overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to complete it all. Likewise, just when you start making headway on your list, a whole slew of new things that need doing seems to materialize out of nowhere… You feel worn out, stretched too far, and a bit defeated (at best); and exhausted, beat-down and hopeless (at worst). Welcome to the egoic agenda we call BUSY.

Busy has become an entity in our world. It’s a palpable presence in our lives, and one we can all relate to. So much so, that when someone plays the busy card, we don’t question it… Why? Because we can relate to the feeling… We can relate to the presence of ‘Busy’ in our lives and can commiserate with others about its presence in theirs. Busy is also everyone’s favorite excuse. “I can’t make the time to see you because the new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu…” “I’d really like to spend the day with my son, but I have a project deadline…” “I’d love to Skype with a couple of my friends, but I don’t have the time… I’m just too busy.”

Busy is your ego’s way of telling people what it wants them to believe about you. It tells people that you’re successful. It tells them that you have people who depend on you. It tells them that you have responsibilities and that you’re a serious person. It tells them that you’re busy because you’re important and in demand. Perhaps it tells them that you have poor time management skills, that you’re overwhelmed, suffering, or in need of some empathy. Either way, saying you’re busy sends a very clear message. The message it sends me is that you’re not consciously creating your life.

Busy people’s lives control them, and Conscious Creators control their lives. Conscious Creators are NEVER too busy. They are engaged in their lives. They too have responsibilities, success, people who depend on them, and so on, but they never use that as an excuse to not do something they would love to do. They CONSCIOUSLY create their lives. They are aware of their egoic agendas and don’t play into them. When we create our lives from a conscious perspective we see possibilities where others see obstacles. We CREATE the time to do the things that we would enjoy doing. When we create our lives consciously, we live lives that feel balanced and rich. Conscious Creators get that. They may feel challenged by their workload, their deadlines, their responsibilities, but they feel challenged in a healthy and dynamic way. Conscious Creators have faith in their creative abilities and as a result, they always make the time to do the things most people put off doing. They don’t just cram life into a few weeks of vacation time either. They create a life that allows them the time to enjoy the present. A truly Conscious Creator will NEVER use “I’m too busy” as an excuse because they know that ANY excuse is just permission to fail.

So, the next time you hear yourself saying “I’m SO busy” or “I just don’t have the time”, stop and ask yourself WHY that’s true. Chances are you’ll see that you’ve given your personal power away to a concept that primes you for failure. Your ego has given some external force the power to control your life. Once you see that clearly, you can begin the steps necessary to regain control of your busy life and start living the benefits of a life built by conscious design.

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