This time of year is one full of promise… it is a time of resolutions, good intentions and fresh new desk calendars. There is opportunity for change that bubbles up this time of year, but which is often followed quickly by discouragement and disappointment. Because – let’s be honest here – change is hard.

For some of us, change can be scary, intimidating and frustrating, not to mention downright defeating. But what if it was possible to make friends with change?  What if there was a way to really lock in the commitment to change, such that the change we want becomes inevitable?!

What’s it going to take?

My experience in trying to tackle change in my life and my business has been one of mixed results. To be honest, rarely has a “New Year’s Resolution” worked out for me in the long run, and when I sat down to consider why, I came up with an interesting answer. When I stopped to consider why I failed to:

  • Lose 15 pounds (2001)
  • Get a $5K raise (2003)
  • Find a new job (2006)
  • Get organized ( ‘08, ‘09, 2010… you get the picture)

I realized that I wasn’t truly invested in the result. More to the point, I wasn’t keying in on what it was that I REALLY wanted, and so I wasn’t actually focused on changing the right things. What I really wanted was to:

  • Be healthy and feel good in my body.
  • Be compensated fairly for my contributions on the job.
  • Be happy going to work every day (or at least most of the time!).
  • Be in control and on top of deadlines and deliverables.

What’s the difference?

I began to recognize that in order for me to actually effect change, it would be necessary for me to tap into my motivation for wanting to change in the first place. I had to learn the difference between the path/process (lose 15 pounds) and the outcome (be healthy and feel good).  Resolutions fail because what we really want is the outcome, but without know what is really motivating us to change we bail on the path or process when to going gets tough.

Answer me this…

 Now before I undertake any change in my business or my life I ask the following questions:

  1. Why do I want to make this change?
  2. What will happen/improve once I make this change?
  3. How will I know when I have been successful?

When you pause to evaluate your resolutions, to truly tap into what leading motivation expert David Pink calls your ‘intrinsic motivators’ (from his book Drive), you will virtually guarantee your success. Sometimes stepping back is the only way to move forward towards making the lasting changes that really matter.