With 2016 a mere few hours away, many people turn their thoughts to setting resolutions for the new year.
New Year’s resolutions are a tradition as old as the celebration of New Year itself and there is one other tradition of the same vintage – breaking them.
I remember reading a study on the speed with which New Year’s resolutions are broken and as it has been several years since I read that study, my memory is a bit hazy but I do recall reading that the vast majority of resolutions – more than 70% – are broken before noon on January 1.
The most common resolutions have to do with health and personal wellness and more people pledge to quit smoking and lose weight the moment the clock strikes 12 heralding the birth of a new year than at any other time.
Sales of gym memberships surge during the month of December and into the early part of January and regular users of gyms frequently complain of how overcrowded their work out areas are during this early part of each year.
They also know these conditions prevail for only a few short weeks before things return to normal and the new members disappear for one more year.
I have never been a proponent of New Year’s resolutions however there is one I will propose this year.
Adopting this resolution will address what is, I believe, the single biggest reason for why we break our New Year’s resolutions in the first place.
This resolution is also a new habit I would like to introduce. The Habit of Finishing What You Start is one that distinguishes those who succeed from those who don’t.
We’ve all met people who have quit smoking only to start again. Indeed, Mark Twain famously announced, “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.”
And we’ve also experienced those awkward moments when we run into someone we haven’t seen for a while. The last time we saw them they were proudly displaying their new, svelte body after having lost large amounts of weight and now we try so hard to pretend not to notice that all the weight has returned along with a bonus.
There are numerous studies devoted to understanding the characteristics and traits of success. It is well known that persistence, perseverance, determination and the ability to push past adversity are crucial.
And the driver behind all of those traits is the unblinking, unswerving and unrelenting commitment to The Habit of Finishing What You Start.
It is long been said that there are four rules to greatness, and if we commit ourselves to living within these roles and not bending them at whim, we will achieve results far beyond our wildest imagination.
In no particular order. those rules are:
Be on time.
Keep your word.
Finish what you start.
Many of us exhibit extraordinary skill at being starters and with boundless enthusiasm and commitment begin new projects with great regularity.
We start a weight loss program, join a gym, break up our cigarettes and throw them into the trash, pledge to quit drinking, undertake to get up an hour earlier each morning and hit the treadmill, quit spending hours playing computer games, enrol in a course, download software that will enable us to learn a new language and a whole host of other “must do” projects only to cast these aside by using a readily available resource called justification to rationalize why not finishing what we have started is the correct thing to do at this moment in time.
The Habit of Finishing What You Start removes barriers to success. Once we adopt The Habit of Finishing What You Start we move from being great starters to great finishers and simple logic tells us that we can never win if we keep leaving the field before the end of the game.
So if you’re still undecided as to whether or not to once again play the New Year’s Resolution game, my advice is to do so by vowing to make The Habit of Finishing What You Start the one resolution you will never break.
And by doing so, by this time next year your life will have changed in ways you never dreamed possible.
Happy New Year.
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
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