As the year ends and a new one is about to begin, I realize that when I have done something to improve my life it has never been about setting a starting date. Change has always instead been triggered by a significant moment resulting in determined and prolonged action.
When I finally decided to quit smoking, and I had tried many many times and failed, there was an event that finally gave me the resolve. I have allergy issues that trigger asthma symptoms similar to bronchitis. One day I was exposed to a certain cleaner, a new pet cat, and something else I forget. The reaction was bad enough to get me into a hospital for four hours of breathing treatments. While laying there breathing through a tube I had a vision about how this is where I was eventually headed with my smoking. So on that very next morning I acquired some Nicorette gum and kept at it until I was free of that nasty addiction. It was an event, it was a revelation, I had absolute clarity, and I acted immediately and aggressively. I won.
I was 65 pounds overweight. I didn’t know it but that extra fat from a high-carb diet was causing me all kinds of health issues. One fine day I was trying to cut my toenails and as usual I was having the damnedest time trying to reach with all that belly in the way. No matter how I twisted or contorted it was only with great pain and holding the very tip of the clippers that I could barely reach and get the job done. That time turned out to be a significant event where I had a revelation, I achieved clarity and I decided to eliminate that excess fat. The only reason it was hard to drop that weight is all the misinformation out there. I experimented, I read books, I figured it out, and I lost the weight. I now sometimes blog about how to lose excess fat and once I write enough articles I hope to compile my approach into a short book.
A much easier one was quitting Facebook. OK, it was hard leaving that dopamine factory of reposting clever memes and clicking each other’s like buttons. Unlike most I was regularly posting original thoughts in paragraphs along with a stolen cat picture instead of what everyone else was doing, simply reposting pictures with clever sayings on them. My wife started encouraging me to start a blog because what I was doing was something other than what was going on at Facebook.
The last straw for me was when I clicked on something I shouldn’t have while on Facebook and as a result my identity was stolen. Not only were we suddenly getting tons of unwanted telemarketing calls but my bank account was hacked and someone was spending my money. I was refunded the money. It took about two months of yelling at people on the phone to stop the unwanted calls (we’re on the do not call list.). And there was my moment of purpose. I started this blog November 10th of this year, started posting articles daily, made sure all my little Facebook friends were aware of it, and after a set time my wife and I killed our Facebook accounts.
So there’s what I think about New Year’s resolutions in a roundabout way. Never have I kept such a resolution, but it is clear to me how and when a significant life change happens.
“When” is that moment of undeniable clarity and right then and there starting the change. Putting it off until New Year’s or some other time other than now dilutes the resolve and makes it unlikely you will succeed.
The “how” comes from the resolve. You keep trying different things and if necessary doing research until you achieve the how. Once you have the determination go with being a juggernaut and adopt a “don’t take ‘no’ for an answer” attitude.