Absent a good enough reason WHY or otherwise known as, WHY New Year’s resolutions fail

Posted: 01/02/2013 in Uncategorized

The clock turned 12, or 24, depending  on how you count your hours, and 2012 was gone.

It was a good year for me, but SEE YA!

I am not much for dwelling on nostalgic moments, or setting resolutions.  Once upon a time, I used to be more retrospective & resolution oriented on January 1st, but now I’m not. That’s that. On to the next one. Or in other words, Tuesday. All of the same things I had to do Monday are still there to be done, and any woes I had didn’t magically disappear at midnight. They need to be dealt with. After the champagne is empty.

But it doesn’t stop me from reading the various New Year’s resolutions friends have made and trying to figure ways to be supportive, encouraging.  So in my post-workout shower this morning ( again with the shower!), I asked myself how I make good things stick for me, and why do some of the things I’ve tried fail miserably…and I boiled it down to one thing.

One 3-letter – heck it can even be 1 letter – reason you can blame it all on:


WhywhywhywhyWHYWHYWHYwhywhy…WHY. Y.

If your ‘why’ isn’t good enough, success is going to be a hard row to hoe.

Not that it won’t be hard anyway, but having a good solid reason why you’re doing something – a reason you can pull out and remind yourself, use to re-energize yourself, whack yourself on the head with – does make it a little easier to hold on in the attempt at whatever the goal is. 

It doesn’t particularly matter what the why is – whether it’s love or fear or big dreams or not stepping on legos – but it has to be clear to you, HONEST, and important enough to you to change something – it has to be one bulging bicep of a knockout punch kind of WHY.

And you can’t write someone else’s why for them. And they can’t write yours for you. You have to want it for yourself.  Do your own homework. Pull your own weeds. Quitting smoking or losing weight because someone else wants you too isn’t a very strong why (in my opinion).  Quitting smoking because your wife has a baby on the way and you’re scared to death it’s going to wheeze like you do & smell like tobacco instead of baby shampoo is a strong why. Losing weight because just once you want to know what its like to play soccer with your kid in the yard instead of sitting on the step watching them play alone is a pretty strong why. 

The why has to be strong enough to overshadow any sunlight from the comfort zone you were lazing around in. It has to make you want to move, change, progress. It has to shake you up.  Lift you up. Push you off your contentment cliff.

I am not the Judge of All Whys, but I think we all know when we hear a good one and when we don’t. You know what your why looks like – and you can feel it in your bones when you set a thing like a resolution, whether it’s strong or not. You know yourself, and you know your why’s – and you know whether you’re full of crap when you say you’re going to drive right on by Starbucks without that latte you gave up two days ago.  A latte is good, but how much does that cottage cheese you noticed on your ass two weeks ago bother you?

So as a friend, full of your own powerful why’s, what do you do to encourage a friend’s New Year’s resolution that has a so-so-meh why-strength factor?

Understanding their why, remind them of the why, and find little bits of why to show them what success feels like along the way. Help their why be as strong as possible – whether that’s calling a friend on their usual smoke break so that they’re too busy talking to smoke, or telling someone you’ll try out a few new fitness classes with them while they work on finding one they like even though it’s not what you usually do. Or in my very honest way of thinking, calling them out on the bullshit in their why occasionally.  Tell them when you see them wavering and ask them directly what you can do to get that why back in their focus.

WHY? You know why.

  1. Steena says:

    Interesting, and I like this. I haven’t set any specific goals myself, but, this post does make me consider WHY I haven’t set certain goals. So, there’s that.


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