Anchored by Influence

A quick Google search on the success of New Year’s Resolutions, and you’ll find that upwards of 92% of them fail.  Well, the resolution does not actually fail; it can’t.  The person behind it fails to uphold it.  By choice.

Losing weight. Working out. Hitting sales or income goals. Writing a book. More time with family. Less time working. Learning to play the piano. Going to church. Just some examples of actions many people commit to each year in their resolutions and ultimately fail.  

Why such a high failure rate?

The challenge of resolutions, in my humble opinion, is that the owner of the goal has not changed their mindset, despite setting the goal.  They continue with the same habits that have put them in a place where they want to change – hence the goal – but when it comes to execution, they bring the same set of habits they had when they were not pursuing the goal.  The habits are driven by the mindset. If the mindset does not change, neither do the related actions.

In others words, we cannot consistently behave in a manner that is inconsistent with the way we see ourselves.  Beliefs drive behaviors.  While an exciting goal may drive temporary change through short-term motivation or simple novelty, it will not normally drive extended change. And extended change is required for accomplishing most of our meaningful goals and resolutions.

I believe change – good or bad – comes down to one keyword.  Influence. 

Not willpower. Not focus. Not drive. Not even motivation. All of these are fleeting.

Influence is not. Influence is the resulting impact of consistent experiences.

Take Alcoholics Anonymous as an example. I’m no expert, but clearly one of the great benefits of this program is regular meeting attendance and accountability. 

Influence.

Influence requires consistency.  That’s the biggest factor. 

One of my greatest influencers to change is a longtime friend and mentor dating back to 1990. Being around this remarkable individual significantly impacted how I think – which is the biggest factor in dealing with change.  Another major influence has been, and continues to be, reading. Daily reading – 15 minutes minimum – about subjects that support my goals and priorities.

Interestingly, the reading habit was encouraged and, ultimately, influenced by my mentor. And it wasn’t because he told me; it was because he showed me. 

As much as I advocate group learning, especially if it’s reinforced, nothing beats the value of one to one mentoring, coaching or even just friendship.  The power of other’s influence in our lives is inescapable.

If you’ve set some new goals this year, requiring behavioral change and consistency, I suggest finding that person who can and will provide the influence to support the change you desire.

Choose wisely and purposefully.