Golfers have strange vocabularies. Consider the following slang terms and phrases: “chili-dip,” “lay the sod over it,” “banana,” “skull,” “fried egg,” and “snowman,” to name only a few. Unless you’re an avid golfer, you may not know what any of those terms mean.
But then there’s the term “mulligan.” Even non-golfers know that it means a “do-over.” A mulligan is a chance to replay a shot you didn’t like. And at this time of year, many are doing just that, only it’s called a New Year’s Resolution. And if you are making a few of those yourself, I’d like to share a few things I’ve learned about how to make them stick. A realized resolution has three components: Awareness, Alignment and Assistance.
At first glance, awareness seems almost too obvious to warrant mentioning. For if anything is going to change, whether it’s our fitness, finances, career, relationships, habits, addictions, and so on, we must first become aware that something is not the way we want it. That seems obvious. So why make a big deal out of awareness? Well, have you ever given any serious thought as to why most New Year’s Resolutions don’t come to fruition?
In my experience, it’s because we lack long-term motivation. And when I’ve thought about why I’ve lost motivation to realize a resolution, I’ve discovered that the desired change didn’t originate from my deepest Self, but from someone else. That “someone else” can be our partner, doctor, trainer, therapist, friend or even the culture in general. The sneakiest “someone else,” however, is our ego. Often we want to change some aspect of our lives for attention, approval or to impress or control others.
While “someone else’s” resolutions for us might have value, I have found that if the motivation doesn’t originate from, or deeply resonate with, my deepest Self, no permanent transformation will take place. Your resolutions have to be YOUR resolutions. How can you tell the difference? Well, “someone else” always uses the word “should.” If you hear the word “should” in your consciousness or in your actual speech, you can be sure that your resolution is being motivated by other people, the culture or your ego, and therefore, it will eventually fail.
So when I say “awareness,” I don’t mean being aware of what you want to change, that’s easy enough. The key is being aware of why you want to change. Don’t bother making a resolution that doesn’t come from your deepest Self. It won’t last.
The next step is to align everything in your life around realizing your resolution. Your checkbook, schedule, refrigerator, garbage can, closets, bed and conscience must reflect your commitment. And conversely, you must not allow anything into your emotional or physical space that tempts you or distracts you from what you want. Everything and anybody that competes for, or is in conflict with, your commitment must go. Zero tolerance. Zero compromise. Zero exits. You must vigilantly be on the lookout for any people, places, things, choices, beliefs and attitudes that can derail your resolution.
The last component is assistance (or coaching). And let me be clear that I do not mean accountability. Accountability is necessary when you are trying to keep “someone else’s” resolutions. My 15-year-old needs to be held accountable for his homework because he doesn’t want to do it. But an adult doesn’t need to be held accountable for things he or she truly wants to do. Accountability is a sign of immaturity. It is for those living “someone else’s” life.
Assistance, on the other hand, is necessary – even essential. While people need assistance to ensure their resolutions are truly theirs and that they align everything in their life with them, what they really need assistance with is the insidious Upper Limit Problem.
Space prohibits a full discussion of the Upper Limit Problem (maybe a topic for a future AccessRx blog post), but suffice it to say that we have a curious habit of unconsciously sabotaging our own success. Most people need assistance seeing their self-sabotaging patterns and a coach or therapist is perfectly suited to assist in this area.
If you, or someone you know, is making a resolution for the New Year, seriously consider the three components mentioned above and then contact me if I can be of assistance. For it would be a shame to ask for another mulligan this time next year.
About the Author
Roy Biancalana is an author, life coach and former PGA Tour player. He is a regular contributor to the AccessRx.com blog and you can find all of his entries on his blog main page. Roy used his PGA Tour background to write a previous two-part entry about Getting In the Zone with your life.
You can reach Roy for advice by contacting him through email, his website or by phone…