(NOTE: TODAY’S POST IS A CONTINUATION OF YESTERDAY’S. TO START AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS ESSAY, SCROLL DOWN TO PART 1 AND MOVE UP FROM THERE.)
So, why am I against New Years Resolutions? I’ll give you six reasons.
1. In my opinion, many resolutions are actually counter-productive when it comes to affecting true and lasting change.
Resolutions can lead us to believe that all we really need in order to make substantial changes in our lives are willpower and determination. In many cases, this simply isn’t true, nor is it even possible.
When we have problems that stem from a general lack of self discipline and willpower, the prevailing belief is that we just need to try harder or dig deeper and eventually we’ll succeed. Year after year, we make resolutions about this very thing, certain that through sheer force of will things might finally be different, that this year somehow we will find it within ourselves to do the very thing we’ve never been able to do before.
Unfortunately, this belief that “if we dig deep enough we’ll find it” is inherently flawed; such a search is almost always futile. The real truth is that if you lack self-discipline, you are never going to be able to dredge it up from within, no matter how badly you want it to be there. You may desire desperately to change, you may try valiantly to change, but if you have no self discipline inside of you in the first place, you can’t make it happen through sheer force of will.
That doesn’t mean you need to give up hope. A certain amount of discipline and willpower can be learned. The process happens not by dredging it up from within but rather by bringing it into ourselves from the outside—through accountability, structure, and more. Slowly, as we subject ourselves to this process of growth and change, we learn to integrate externally-imposed limits until we are able to implement internally-imposed limits as well.
This sounds confusing, but renowned author and psychologist Henry Cloud explains it fully in his book Changes That Heal , which I highly recommend. Even better is a related talk he gives called “Changing What Never Seems to Change.” Click here to see how you can hear it. This one talk is worth its weight in gold, but you can get it for just $10 on CD. (I don’t make anything from this, I just really love this talk and highly recommend it!)
If your resolutions, like mine, haven’t been much more than echoes of previous years, you need to hear what Dr. Cloud has to say on the topic of change!
BE SURE TO COME BACK TOMORROW FOR THE NEXT PORTION OF THIS ESSAY.