For thousands of years, the tradition of New Year’s resolutions has carried on. Human beings have sought meaning through the act of voluntarily committing themselves to sacrifice in pursuit of a higher good. However, unlike for the previous four millennia, the modern form of this tradition has been secularized and thereby stripped of its sense of obligation to a higher authority.
Thus, it should come as no surprise to hear that, without this external measure of accountability, only 8% of people today are successful in fulfilling their annual resolutions. After the countdown ends and the sparklers die out, what does it say when the vast majority start off a new year by quitting their very first commitment?
By giving up, you condition your mind to tolerate failure and to become increasingly reluctant to attempt a challenge of equal magnitude again. According to a study from Leipzig University, “[Serotonin] is released specifically after social defeat to maintain depressed aggressive behavior in losers for a progressively longer period with successive defeats, resulting in long term behavioral depression, analogous to the chronic-defeat stress syndrome.”
Similar results have been found in countless studies across multiple species (perhaps most famously explained by Dr. Jordan Peterson in his exposition on lobsters). In severe cases, one’s hippocampus will physically shrink as the amygdala expands, making one even more susceptible to fear and emotion. Thus, in a twist of irony, a whimsical commitment made in the hope of self-improvement, repeated enough, risks the opposite effect: conditioning oneself mentally and physically to settle for a less meaningful life.
Furthermore, in quitting, one also deprives himself of the secondary and tertiary opportunities that would have manifested in the pursuit of that goal. In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “Success usually comes to those who are too busy to look for it,” and that success is typically uncovered in the form of experience gained, relationships fostered, and opportunities seized while pursuing a prior goal.
What could you accomplish with accountability?
What could you and your real estate team become if instead 92% of you fulfilled your annual resolutions? Furthermore, what could your team accomplish if each member woke up each day with the mission of bettering oneself, bettering the team, and bettering their community?
Consistent dedication towards that daily pursuit would yield success, and then still greater success built upon it. Compounded success raises esteem, emboldens your ambition, and builds momentum. Momentum is that ambiguous force that you can’t pinpoint, but that you can feel. It’s that force that makes you feel the tide of the game turn before it actually happens.
It can be the force that helps you capture more market share and break into the luxury market. It can help you grow a team locally or scale locations nationwide. So get started and find your “big mo.” Here’s how:
Voluntarily commit & sacrifice
When a commitment is genuine, it’s made irrespective of the calendar year, not because of it. It’s manifested when you passionately aim for a higher good and are prepared to sacrifice for it, not because you read it on a blog called “50 Possible New Year’s Resolutions.” A commitment is not true unless you are also prepared to make the necessary sacrifice. Sacrifice is not optional in life, but the option to do so on your terms is.
Do not stop until you see it through
In the words of Will Rogers, “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Take immediate action and then take consistent action towards your end goal. Set intermediate milestones to routinely assess your progress and make strategic adjustments. In the words of Winston Churchill, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”
Define a “pull” goal
Discipline can push you in the proper direction for a while, but to achieve lasting and significant progress you need something pulling you in that direction. A meaning that pulls you will sustain you when discipline falters. According to Stockholm University, participants who set approach-oriented New Year’s resolutions were 25% more successful than those who set avoidance-oriented resolutions. So focus on what you are committed to doing rather than not doing in 2022.
Surround yourself with people who do not accept settling for less
Go to an event that will reinforce your commitment in February, a time when many quit (ie: gym attendance).
Remember, change comes with commitment. Commit, find an accountability partner and surround yourself with like-minded people. Make 2022 a great year!