Tips and Traps for Success in 2018

How New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work

by Chad E Cooper

Do you find that on Dec. 31st of each year you make your list of New Year’s resolutions but they just never seem to work out? I would like to share the reasons I feel New Year’s resolutions are almost never successful. The first is that many of you start on January 1st and think that you then have 52 weeks to accomplish your goals allowing yourself a good amount of time before you start to work on the goal because you didn’t have a plan or purpose. It’s a trap I don’t want you to fall into in 2018.

Another trap is on New Year’s Day your full of excitement with no real plan or purpose to your goal. The next day the excitement starts to fall off and you give up 21 days later, full of sadness and a sense of failure. You may try to trick your mind and resolve that you have 49 additional weeks to lose weight, quit smoking or change some other important facet in your life. Another mind trap is that 52 weeks in a year creates a mental illusion that you have more than enough time to get it right. So, you sit back with the determination that maybe tomorrow you will come up with a plan. When you haven’t done anything and January 21st shows up you are stressed out, you give up.

Another trap I find people fall into is the use of discipline versus knowing. That means there’s no real purpose to their goal so, it isn’t effective. It’s not enough to use discipline by itself. Saying, “I’m going to use my strength and tenacity to accomplish this goal.” Yet the reality is that you haven’t a strong purpose behind the goal itself. Without purpose, it’s like running a marathon in bare feet. It hurts, is uncomfortable, and, after a few blocks, you will quit.

Here’s my Tip to find your purposes:

· Step one; write down 3 of the most amazing experiences when you were truly happy, fulfilled and excited. Be specific and detailed.

· Next circle what you were feeling during those experiences like joy, success, competition, feeling loved, acceptance, adventure, etc. You get it!

· Last write those emotions down on a piece of paper.

This is the list of what fills you up and creates purpose in your life. Knowing your purpose, you become emotionally committed and driven to accomplish any goal no matter what gets in your way. How do you know if you’re emotionally connected to a goal? The Tip here is to simply use a scale of zero to ten; then ask, “Does this feel like something I have to do or something I want to do?” Does it only feel good and is good for you? Are the outcomes of what you’re doing related to any of the purposes listed on your sheet?

Let’s use working out and losing weight as a very common New Year’s resolution. Gyms love January 1st and they capitalize on it every year. Your goal is to lose weight and get in shape in 2018 like you have set as your resolution for the last ten New Years. Review your list and see if the path you choose each year fulfills your goals. (Refer to your list) I invite you to choose a different way to go about it that aligns to your purpose; to find the success you have always dreamed of. When you add drive and determination to your purpose you can’t fail. Consider joining a sport instead of a gym. Maybe take up swimming or dancing if that’s something you might enjoy? There are many forms of exercise that can suit your purposes. To lose weight, choose a new way of eating, which supports your body and spirit and purpose.

Another Tip is to look at the words you use. They are powerful and can trap you or give you the clout to succeed. One of my clients wanted to lose weight so she could have a baby. Her weight, according to her doctor, would put her at great risk for carrying a baby to term. So, each year on the New Year she would join her local gym. Every year she told the gym instructors that this was the only way she was ever going to be able to have a baby. She did not have an emotional connection to her purpose and relied only on discipline, within the first month she would stop going and feel badly for not allowing herself and husband to have a child.

Digging deeply within her purpose of bringing this little life into the world, she reclaimed the following: Having a baby would provide unconditional love, happiness, joy, fun, more social integrations with all her friends that have children, and a closer relationship with her husband. Simply going to a gym was not providing her any of those feelings.

With that recognition she levered these emotions into her goal: She signed up for a swimming exercise class with some of her friends, she and her husband took a cooking class where they could learn together how to make healthy food in a fun environment then cook together at home, and she started putting together a baby dream book with pictures of activities, toys, and baby furniture she would like to have when she eventually was pregnant. This plan that complimented her purpose, helped her reach her goal within a year.

If you approach a goal without the right emotional connections other things will start creeping in that detour your intent. Avoid the kinds of things that compete with your goals. That’s a trap. If you pay attention you can avoid these.

Example: I go to the gym, which is something I love to do and makes me feel good. What competed with my goal was going out late the night before having a big dinner, a few drinks and dessert. While it felt good at the time, I knew that was not going to help me reach my goal of being in shape the next morning. When I faced the gym the next day I was sluggish and tired and only made it through part of my routine. I fell right into the trap.

We’re constantly battling with these short-term temptations that feel good, but in the long run aren’t good for us. The only way to accomplish or overcome those is to know the strength of the purpose of the goal. What do I mean by that? Well, imagine if you saw a little child that was chasing after a ball in rush hour traffic. You wouldn’t need to be disciplined. You wouldn’t need to do anything other than to act because you know your purpose in that emotionally charged situation is to save a life.

Would you be as committed in that situation as you are to the goals you’re setting for the upcoming year? If the answer is no, then you’re using discipline only without purpose and that will not get you across the finish line.

My tip is understanding people who are legendary, still remember what it means to play. If you’re going to set goals, where is playtime involved? Can you go through the steps and make it joyful or is it just doing hard work? There’s nothing honorable about saying that I just worked hard at the gym, if it wears you out and doesn’t recharge your batteries. The goal is to set goals that are meaningful and that allow you to grow, but also allow you to fill up and recharge in the process.

Planning before you reach New Year’s Day is really very important to the success of the year. One tip for this is to go ahead and set up a yearly calendar before 2018 arrives. On this calendar schedule vacations, time with your children or spouse, adventures with friends and your exercise routine. You don’t need permission to make sure that we remember to play, should schedule it in! Often, I see the illusion trap that we must be responsible adults all the time and once you have gotten all your work done, then it warrants a vacation or a social break. This is a trap that can lead you to the hospital if you’re not careful.

If you look at certain sporting industries, every single sport has breaks built in. You can’t win a Formula 1 race without specific timing of pit stops. Timing is critical for those pit stops; to get them correct, we need to leverage a team to do the work while we are taking our breaks.

The Tony Robbins organization asked me one time, how was I able to accomplish so much more than the average person? Tip: I believe that you need to structure your vacations and personal time first and place your work between those pit stops. In other words, block out all the time that you want to take off up front. In setting up my yearly calendar this way I am more present and recharged in everything that I tackle. I know exactly how much time I have available complete my work, so I am more effective and productive than others. Also, I don’t burn out, crash into a wall, get injured or simply get a nasty disposition from being stressed out or overtired. I am fulfilled, rested, happy, and very successful.

Your bonus Tip for 2018 is about having money.

If you want to have a successful financial future, I believe you need to follow three important rules. Studies have shown that people who donate and are more charitable than others make better incomes than those who don’t. I believe when you get paid, first save some money, then pay your bills, and finally, always donate something to your church or charity.

May your 2018 be Legendary!