Updated: Jan 25, 2020
A couple of days ago, I overheard one man asking another “So... how are your new year resolutions going? The other man replied “Well… not so good...What about yours?” The response: “Not so good either….”
According to U.S. News & World Report, 80 percent of New Year's resolutions fail by February. Hopefully you are in the 20 percent, but if you already quit or are planning on quitting, I can explain why that is. After all, you are a human and as complex as humans may seem, some things can be explained in simple terms.
I’ll spell it out in one word: “RELIEF.” Since the moment you’ve committed to your goals, you’ve most likely focused on creating a plan, put systems in place, tried new things, failed at them, tried again, put lots of effort, experienced lots of pain and discomfort along the way and used lots of willpower. You are exhausted! The tension has been building up so much that it gets to the point where you decide to quit. The relief you experience is a moment of pure bliss. You get to go back to a place of comfort, the place that you know, the place that feels safe and familiar (even if you hated being there before). You go back to your habitual self.
When you committed to your goals, the part of your brain that is primitive (the lower brain) set off an alarm to tell you that whatever you are about to do is dangerous. This part of your brain wants to keep you in a state of pleasure and comfort and away from predators. Your primitive brain doesn’t know or care that what you are about to do is going to help you grow, learn and move forward in your life. It does not hesitate to hit the breaks and tell you that if you try to run that marathon, climb Mt. Rainier in the summer or set up a budget, you are “going to die.” Yes, it can be that dramatic because it is the part of the brain that did not evolve, so it thinks that you are literally going to be eaten by a saber-toothed tiger. Your primitive brain wants to drag you back to the cave where you are warm, have food, can have sex and reproduce.
You see the problem with this, right? Up until now, you’ve worked so hard on your goal, you experienced a lot of negative emotions along the way, and so you quit and the relief feels AMAZING. But with it, you STOP YOUR GROWTH, you become stuck, you are most likely back where you started, and what is worse, you have just created CONFIRMATION OF YOUR CURRENT IDENTITY. You tell yourself “I’ve never been able to do a marathon before, I could never attempt a hike like this one,” and “I’ve always hated budgeting, and it’s never worked out for me in the past.”
As blissful as relief may feel for you right now, accomplishment feels like relief x 1 million. Let me give you a couple of examples so you get an idea of how this math works.
Say you are hiking Mt. Rainier and one quarter of the way, you are extremely thirsty and stop to drink some water. The relief you feel in that moment is amazing. Now imagine, getting all the way to the top of the mountain and drinking that same glass of water. It will feel 1 million times better! You have accomplished your goal, and there is no prior relief provided by water or food that can serve as a substitute for the feeling of accomplishment.
Now think of the budget you started with the goal of paying off all of your debt. Two months into it, you had saved enough money to make a payment that would reduce your debt significantly. Instead, after two months of depriving yourself of your daily Starbucks and cutting your dining out by more than half, and getting a second job, you decide to treat yourself to a designer bag. Very satisfying, right? Feeling the relief? But, for how long? Imagine, paying down your credit card, and doing that again in two months and for as long as it takes to finally be debt free. The feeling of accomplishing your goal to have zero debt = relief x 1 million.
So yes, it is uncomfortable. Yes, you may need to be outside of your cave longer than you wish to be out for. But guess what? There are no saber-toothed tigers out there waiting for you. There is only potential, growth and self realization. So even though relief is soooooo tempting, remember that accomplishment feels 1 million times better. Don’t quit.
Are you wondering how you can take this work further? Request a complimentary Discovery Session, and during our call, you will gain awareness and understanding and see the possibilities available to you to create and achieve your Money Goals.
Lots of love!