It’s that time of the year where many Americans will vow to make 2015, a better year by establishing a New Year’s Resolution. Are you one of the many that will focus on changing your business or something in your personal life?
According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology approximately 45% of Americans usually begin the year with a New Year’s Resolution. Add the other 17% who infrequently make resolutions and we’re over 60% of Americans focused on a resolution of some sort. It’s no surprise that losing weight is number 1, followed by getting organized, spending less and saving more, enjoying life to the fullest, and staying fit and healthy to cap off the top five. Of those who make the resolutions, only 46% maintain a focus on their resolution past six months and only 8% will be successful in achieving their resolution.
So why is a New Year’s Resolution so important? According to the same study, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. If this is the case, why is the success rate so low?
In most cases, the resolution is too lofty or unrealistic from the start. In other cases, the resolution is motivated out of fear or guilt and there was no mental preparation upfront to achieve the resolution. Most, if not all, resolutions require a behavioral change. To make a change, we have to change our thinking and rewire our brains to accept the new behavior. To illustrate my point, I want to look at a couple examples.
If we look at all the diets on the market today or the diet “fixes” that have come and gone. Losing weight has never really been the problem. We can all lose weight! The problem is that we put it right back on and usually some additional baggage. The key is to maintain a healthy lifestyle after losing the weight instead of being a yo-yo, resulting in those additional pounds.
For business owners, they usually focus on increasing sales. Of the many businesses I have worked with over the years, increasing sales is rarely the problem. When they focus on sales, sales increase! The problem is that once they achieve the sales numbers, they usually quit focusing on their sales and within six months, the problem is rearing its ugly head again. The key is to maintain a healthy sales cycle that prevents the peaks and valleys most businesses experience.
In both cases, I would also argue that it comes down to commitment. Losing and maintaining a healthy weight or increasing sales and maintaining a healthy budget is directly proportionate to your commitment. Commitment not only to achieve your goal, but also to keep focused on tomorrow without letting off the gas.
So how do we maintain this commitment? I believe your level of commitment is equal to your mindfulness. Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of your thought, emotions, physical sensations, and actions. With mindfulness, it is about being present in the moment without judging or criticizing yourself or your experience.
Mother Teresa once said, “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” We can only learn from the past, so there’s no use living there. We’re all going to make mistakes along the way. The key is to make fewer bad decisions. In business, we measure those bad decisions by the number of zeros we add to the end of the dollar figure. Effective planning for the future is important, but unless we are mindful about what we are doing today, we will keep getting what we have always gotten.
Many times, we are unable to see the forest through the trees and miss opportunities. We miss what is now. When we live in a world of mindfulness, we are able to experience life in a richer fuller way. In order to accomplish this, we have to slow down and focus on the present. This is also about changing our self-talk to “how” we can do something today, rather than “what” we have done in the past or will do tomorrow.
As we begin 2015, I would like to challenge you to be more mindful about your business and life. If you chose a resolution, I would ask that you use mindfulness in choosing your personal or business resolution. Ask yourself, “How can I move myself closer to my goal today?” Then do it. Keep it simple. Pick a resolution that has meaning to you. More importantly, pick a resolution that you can build upon and become the person you want to be beyond 2015.
If you need help focusing on the right things at the right time, so you can increase your profits and enjoy life, give us a call. We wish you a prosperous 2015!