Many of us think of New Year’s as a time for reflection and setting new resolutions — where we look back at where we’ve been and the lessons we’ve learned, and then look forward and plan for the future we hope to achieve. We promise ourselves to set successful habits for ourselves and our businesses, but then often fail to achieve our goals. But why do we struggle to achieve the goals we set for ourselves, and why do we only do these things at New Year’s? Why not all year long?

For this week’s blog, we want to discuss why we should always be looking to make the changes we know we need to make in our lives — not only when we’re buying a new calendar, but throughout the year. And I want to share strategies with you that will dramatically increase your chances of achieving your goals for 2021 and beyond.

Let’s face it, it’s much easier to decide to make a change than it is to take the action necessary to achieve it. That’s why so many of us make New Year’s resolutions that we fail to keep. We set the goals, but then we don’t follow up with what is needed to make those goals become reality. We promise ourselves we’re going to break our bad habits and develop successful habits instead…but then we fall right back into those bad habits and limiting beliefs.

Real change begins with our mindset. That’s the backbone of bestselling classics like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, among so many others. Our thoughts influence our words, which lead to our core beliefs. Our beliefs inform our behaviors, our behaviors (when repeated over time) become habits, and our habits result in the outcomes we receive. Therefore, if we want to change the outcome we get, we must start with our thoughts.

Successful Habits and Positive Change Need the Right Influences

I’ve studied the science of organizational behavior — you might say I’m a bit of a geek about it. I understand what drives behaviors, both good and bad, and I know how important it is to align the behaviors within an organization to get the results you want. And the authors of my personal favorite book on change, Influencer, have identified six sources of influence that can have a dramatic impact on your ability to create lasting change and create new successful habits, as shown in this grid:

The Six Sources of Influences

MOTIVATION ABILITY
PERSONAL Personal Motivation Personal Ability
SOCIAL Social Motivation Social Ability
STRUCTURAL Structural Motivation Structural Ability

 

 

 

 

 

  • Personal Motivation: the desire to set new goals for yourself
  • Personal Ability: surpassing current limits and increasing your ability to achieve your goals
  • Social Motivation: the power of peer pressure, allowing those around you to motivate you to achieve your goals
  • Social Ability: finding “strength in numbers” and getting help from others
  • Structural Motivation: rewards or accountability systems
  • Structural Ability: changing the environment to support your efforts to achieve your goals

Here’s the amazing part that makes all the difference when it comes to achieving your goals…the authors of Influencer found that if you are able to employ at least four of the above six sources of influence as part of your efforts to make a change in your life, your chances of succeeding in making lasting change increase by a factor of ten. That’s right, by putting these sources of influence to work for you, your chances of achieving your goals increase by 10x.

Here’s a personal example…During the pandemic, I had gained a bit of unwanted weight. Though I wanted to lose the extra pounds, I hadn’t taken the time or effort to do anything about it for months. Then one day, my daughter gave me a hug and pointed out the extra weight around my stomach. She made me a bet: she would pay me $10 if I could drop 10 pounds by Christmas, which was just 19 days away.

Because of my understanding of the six sources of influence, at that moment I knew my success was inevitable. How?

I already had the personal motivation and personal ability to lose the weight. And my daughter handed me two more sources of influence to support my efforts: social motivation and structural motivation. The social motivation came from peer pressure from my family because I told them all about our wager. The structural motivation came from the $10 bet, and even more from proving to my daughter that I could win that bet. Because I had four of the six sources of motivation on my side, I knew with certainty that I would be able to win the bet and drop the weight.

That’s the extraordinary power of motivation. If you truly want to make lasting changes in your life, you would be well served to put these six sources of motivation to work for you.

To conclude this blog post, I’ve assembled a list of books I feel can be incredibly helpful in making positive changes and creating successful habits in your life, starting with Influencer but including several others as well. And remember, making good changes in your life shouldn’t wait until New Year’s.

Recommended Reading List:

  • Influencer by Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan & Al Switzler: https://amzn.to/3sa9VVS
  • Change Anything by Joseph Grenny et al.: https://amzn.to/38p2thZ
  • Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg: https://amzn.to/3nyULGw
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear: https://amzn.to/3hSiFLO