Most studies on the topic show that more than 90% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions end up quitting pretty early on. I’m no mathematician, but that’s almost everyone.
So what’s with that other 8%?
Chances are, they are using strategies that aren’t sexy, aren’t based on motivation and are somewhat boring. They are making small changes, and showing up consistently, even when the motivation isn’t there and the conditions aren’t perfect. They are the persistent few.
The good news? I think that persistence lives in all of us. Some of us have to dig a little deeper than others to see it, but it’s there. We wouldn't have survived and thrived this long as homo sapiens, if it wasn’t.
Listen, I get it. The end of 2020 is filled with a lot of things for a lot of people. It’s filled with stress and uncertainty. But it’s also filled with relief and hope.
I have so much hope for the year to come, and I know many of you do too. We know it won’t be magic. We know it won’t happen overnight, but we can still have hope that the coming year will bring with it: change. We can and should have faith that it will bring healing and invite connection back into our lives.
We’ll see businesses rebuilding, because we are a resilient species. We are innovative and we somehow always figure out how to come back from the trenches, clean ourselves up and forge onward, once again.
Some of the largest, most successful companies of today, started during the most economically trying times. During the great recession of 2008, "the GDP fell 4.3% and unemployment reached 10%" yet Uber was founded and has since been used for over 10 billion trips. Not only did the recession not deter them, but they thrived. Around the same time, other major companies like Air BnB, Square, Groupon and Venmo, as reported in a Business Insider article.
We are a resilient species.
Businesses have gone under, but we will rebuild. Family members and friends have been lost, but we will honor their memories with joy. We’ve been mentally challenged beyond what we were prepared for, but we are healing.
Why? Because we are also hopeful. It’s innate.
We want happiness. We want success. We want healthy families. And we will stop at nothing to get those things.
Those of us who truly want it, persevere. And we get it.
Those of us who don’t? Well...we give up. And we don’t get it.
Perseverance is defined as: persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.
What you see in a successful person is someone who looks like they have it easy. You see someone who woke up one day and got a lucky break. You see someone sure of her next move.
What you don’t see is the 9th or 10th attempt to finally get it right. You don’t see the frustration and stress of every failed attempt leading up to it. You don’t see the late nights, early mornings and pushing through when she didn’t feel motivated. You don’t see how tempting it was to give up every single hour.
And a journey to get healthy, feel confident and finally love who you see staring back at you in the mirror is no different. There will be challenges. You will fail. You will have fear. You will take one step forward and three steps back some days.
But what separates those who succeed from those who stay exactly where they always were...is perseverance. Persistence despite difficulty. Persistence despite a delay in success.
If you want to achieve your New Year's Resolutions in 2021, here’s a short list.
Get clear on your “why”
If Square didn't "believe everyone should be able to participate and thrive in the economy," They would have been easily deterred by challenges that launching in a recession surely brings. They would have been more likely to give up if they didn't remember why they started every morning, with every decision throughout the day, and every night when they finally laid down to rest.
And if you are sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, why you want to get healthy...what it is, deep down that keeps you up at night...you will not be deterred. Any time you come close, if you remember why you need this, you will have the strength to keep going.
Identify the goal
If the Groupon team didn't believe "that local communities are vital to the health of people, cities, and economies...[and] support[s] those communities by helping local businesses thrive," all 6k of their employees around the globe wouldn't know what they were working towards.
And if you are sure of your end goal, you won't lose sight of it, so you can't be thrown off course.
Audit your current habits and create a plan for adding new ones and removing old ones
If these companies, in the early stages especially, didn't frequently pause to assess what was working, what wasn't, and how to make changes accordingly, they'd be easily thrown off course.
The same goes for you. If you want to finally get to your healthiest weight, it is critical to regularly take inventory of how you live your life. Recognize the small decisions you make throughout each day, and identify whether they align with your goal and your "why". If they do, keep them. If the don't, lose them.
Show up with consistency even and especially when you don’t want to
If employees didn't show up ready to implement the new and tough ideas every single day, the companies would surely falter.
And as long as you show up, keep promises to yourself, and do it even and especially when it really sucks...you will see progress over time. You will look back after the weeks and months and years have passed and see a version of you, so improved, the old mindset is unrecognizable.
Trust the process.
And if they let a few setbacks cause them to completely give up hope, I assure you. None of them would still be standing today.
There will be setbacks for you, too. If you don't give up hope, if you press on no matter how many setbacks cross your path...you, too will be standing tall at the end of 2021, and 2022, and onward.
Progress takes time.
You will trip.
You may fall.
But the only way you fail is if you don’t get back up.