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How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

I know that so many of us take a look at the New Year as the opportunity to start fresh and create change. As a man who is fascinated by studying, creating and facilitating change, I’m not living my mission if I don’t speak up and help at this time when so many are motivated. As a life coach for men, it’s my duty to share with you the basic infrastructure for change. Here are my top tips for creating change in your life. If you follow them, this is the year you will keep your resolutions.


Commitments instead of Resolutions

Do anything but this. Heck if you started…stop for a day and start over. Why? We have created a culture of failure around New Year’s resolutions. You wouldn’t go to a university that has a 90% drop out rate. You wouldn’t go to a gym that was open about their lack of results for members. So why join a tradition of acceptable failure and lack of results? When you do this you are unconsciously agreeing to give yourself an out.


Commit for the Long Haul

I don’t mean for this year. I mean for life. Focusing on one year is too short-term. Even if you maintain your resolution for a year, what about the rest of your 10 to 90 years on this planet? If it’s important enough to make it on the resolutions list, then make it a lifelong commitment.


Give Yourself Permission to “Fail”

For decades you’ve been told that “only the strong survive” and you must “use your willpower”. Most aren’t wired that way. Permission to fail does not mean you give yourself an out and let yourself off the hook. In fact, it is the exact opposite. When you do this, you can make mistakes, fall off the wagon, or have a “hiccup”. Long-term change comes from a series of experiments. An experiment can’t fail; it can only give you valuable data for the next experiment.


Focus on Growth

Results orientation is the thief of growth. Goals, tracking progress and even getting excited by results are not a bad thing. However, when you are too results-oriented you miss the subtle lessons on the path towards the desired change. You also quit too soon. Frequently with clients, I’ve seen a break down right before the breakthrough. If you weren’t staying mindful of the secondary and tertiary benefits of your action, if you aren’t celebrating the growth as a human, you’ll probably quit right before you get results. The true gift is being a better human and enjoying life more. Not losing 10 lbs or being able to say, “I read 100 books this year”.


Find a Deeper Purpose

When you want to get healthy or limit screen time it does not work to focus on yourself. Figure out why your focus on self will help others. Align with that as motivation more so than simple life improvements. For example, I don’t work out to maintain my weight loss. I work out because when I do I am less anxious, more present, think quicker and feel happier. When I feel that way I am more loving, patient, focused, and intuitive and I show up with my greatest capacity to serve others. I’ve made a commitment to be of service in this world as an agent of change. That gets me out of bed at 5 a.m. …staying in my 34” waist will never match that motivation.


Create an Ecosystem for Success

We cannot create the life that we deeply desire by doing it alone. We need other humans. My clients, who have the most success, often have friends of family they can model after, are seeing me as a coach and seeing a therapist, they are often in men’s groups or authentic relating groups. They might have a mentor at work. They enroll in-group exercise. They create a community around them that helps them be the person they want to be. All of the most successful people in this world have this system around them. Often it’s hired coaches, trainers, advisers, and a “support team”. We can’t all afford the whole team, but we can often prioritize working with one person at a time. And we can all find or create new circles for the support that costs nothing.

These are my top tips. If you align with what I’ve shared here I know you will keep your resolutions. The bottom line for me is that the way we’ve been taught to go about creating change in our world is a lie. Few of us know the real infrastructure of how change works. Isn’t it your turn?


Source: The Good Men Project / Joe Bernstein

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