Now is the Time
By: Lynn Bacon, CPLC, CRC, CFC
As the New Year approaches, people have been mentioning that they’re looking forward to
getting their New Year’s resolutions ready to go. We’re all ready to lose weight, quit smoking, exercise,
clean our closets and clean up our relationships. Every time I look on my computer I see articles and blogs
about New Year’s resolutions. Most of what I read advises me to be strong, keep my commitments, be realistic,
focus, write it and put it where I will be reminded, get an accountability partner and the list goes on. The
real truth of the matter is that when we want to change something, we change it. We don’t wait for a new year or
other defined point in time. It’s kind of like waiting for a new year to drive a new car, get a different job or
wear new clothes. We change what we want to change when we want to change it. Usually.
When it comes to changing things in our lives, the real question is, what’s going on that
we haven’t already changed it?
For every negative habit, there is a positive
. Even though there are a lot of negatives, we’re getting something that I
want/need from the habit (or lack of) that I want to change. For instance, when I talk to smokers, I hear that they
want to quit to get their health back, live longer, breathe easier and endure exercise easily to name a few.
Even though nicotine is very addictive (more so than heroin) there’s something even stronger that people are
getting from the habit that is keeping them from quitting. Note that I said ‘getting from the habit’ – not the cigarettes.
So what do we get from the habit? Again, in the case of smoking, we might be getting
relaxation, time away from the kids, chaos at the office or time alone. This is where we get to look inside of
ourselves and really figure out what we’re getting so that we can find another way of getting it. If you’re getting
time away from the kids or from your desk at work, could you designate 15 minute intervals where you get some time
to yourself with no interruptions? The trick is getting the same positive benefit without engaging in the
We have some type of fear that is holding us back
. Weight loss is a great example of this. We all know that we will look and feel
fantastic, our blood pressure will go down, our health will be better all-around and our doctors will have one less
thing to talk with us about. And, really, a cookie doesn’t taste as good as being thin feels! So what’s going on?
When we get really honest with ourselves we will find that we’re keeping our extra weight
because there is something that we fear. Some of the (honest) reasons that I’ve heard are “my husband wants me to
be heavy so I won’t attract other men” (translated, I fear divorce), “I’m afraid of drawing the wrong kind of
attention” (translated, the opposite sex will look at me) and “I don’t know if I can live up to what might be
expected of me” (translated, I’m afraid of my own greatness). These are some pretty deep reasons, yet these
people will still try to pursue their goal with absolutely no chance of reaching it until they deal with their
We don’t have a clear purpose for change
. Sometimes goals seem pretty attractive on the surface but we haven’t taken the
time to define a clear purpose for that change. Sometimes instead of giving up a habit, we want to form a new
one such as saving money or going to the gym three times per week. While these new habits are healthy, unless we
are really clear about our purpose in committing to them on a permanent
basis we won’t follow through.
One of the best ways I have found in working through this is to get down to the core by
asking what one gets by taking on the new habit. For instance:
Q: What does saving money do for you?
A: It gives us extra money in case something unexpected comes
Q: What does having extra money in case something unexpected happens do for
A: It keeps us from having to borrow money from
Q: What does not having to borrow money from relatives do for
A: It allows us to maintain our independence
Q: What does maintaining your independence do for you?
A: Keeps us from being judged for not being responsible.
This may go on for a while, but I’ll stop here. When we think through a goal all
the way, we’ll create a purpose that we can truly commit to. You’ll know when you have reached your true
purpose. For this person, it wasn’t about saving money, it was about being judged for not being responsible.
When you’re able to connect with that, you’ll be more likely to follow through with your goal. Try it, it
Yes, the New Year can mean out with the old and in with the
new, but this can be good for any time of the year. Remember that you are worth making positive changes for
and waiting for a time or date to put them into place is just prolonging your greatness. NOW is the