“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” Ghandi

Once we decide to make a change, be it with our yearly resolutions or at some other time I believe that we set ourselves up for failure.

We try to change others

When it comes to change I believe that if I desire to change my outside world I MUST change my inside world.  I must change myself. Typically when we see a change we would like to make we focus on the change itself. For example if I have an issue in my marriage it’s him right?

I have found that by focusing on me and who I want to become the issues with him magically disappear.  I’ve been baffled by this. I cannot explain why after 30 years of trying to get him to stop something or do something and if anything it got worse that now it’s gone – like magic and all I did was stop trying to change him and instead change myself.

This is related to the one above.  By focusing on yourself and what you can do to become better you have power.  You can change how “you” think, not how he think, you can change what “you” do, you can’t change what they do. You can change how you act, react, think, live.  You have none of this power over any other person. I learned this the hard way.

We look at failure wrong

We think failure is bad.  We say “I” failed, we personalize it in such a way that it immobilizes us in our journey forward.

Failure is a teacher and one of the best ones out there.

As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

One of the best stories i’ve heard on defining failure comes from the CEO of Spanx Sara Blakely.  Her dad taught her to celebrate failure.  Watch here

We are motivated by negative emotions

As I write this we are 31 days from Jan 1st.  Another year has passed and it’s time to start to think about my New Years Resolutions right?

How many times at the end of the year do we look at what we haven’t accomplished that year and use that to try to motivate us to do it better next year. We try to motivate our self by kicking ourselves and talking about what we didn’t accomplish this year, instead of sitting down and celebrating what we did accomplish over the past year and create out resolutions and our change from the emotion of accomplishment.

You wonder why so many people drop out of the gym at the end of Jan every year? Why new years resolutions are left by the side of the road typically no later then the end of Feb. When we use negative emotions to try to create a positive result it will not happen.  Negative is not a motivator.

We try to eat the entire elephant

I am a whole idea thinker. Before I start anything I can see it in my mind from start to finish.  This is an amazing gift but for me it is paralyzing.  I suddenly went from an idea to an entire elephant sitting in the room with me.  I look at it, I walk around it, I poke it and then I sit down and become overwhelmed by the enormity of it.

How on earth can I do “that?”  Have you seen how big it is? In Brian Tracy’s book “Eat That Frog” he talks about “taking it one oil barrel at a time.” This is a metaphor from the Sahara Desert.  So many people have become lost and died there that they placed 55 gallon oil drums every 5 miles – the length of the horizon.

As long as you can see the next oil barrel you don’t have to worry about what lies beyond. I like this analogy better then the elephant one – mostly because I hate the thought of eating an elephant and secondly how exactly do you do that?

Would I be in the room still seeing the whole elephant and cutting off a piece here and there or would I be in another room and someone bring me a piece? Would they kill the elephant first? Would they give him a local (you know the whole insurance same day surgery thing right?) or would they put him out? Auughh there is no easy answer to this question so I must go with the oil barrels!

I told you I see whole picture!

By limiting myself to only thinking about arriving at the next barrel, especially in a desert, I can focus on task at hand that one step that will get me to the horizon and ultimately to my goal.

We neglect the tool box

We head in change with our desires and determination but what tools do we bring with us?  Our we clear on our purpose for this change?

Have we clearly created the vision of what this change looks like.  Every change should start with a blue print in order to help us be successful. A vision of what the end result looks like.  Having this in mind as we start is a powerful tool.

Using this vision we can quickly and esaily define those areas of our life where we “need more information” in order to accomplish this goal.  For example if the goal is to loose weight and we know with clarity what we want, but maybe don’t have all the knowledge to accomplish it.  The vision step helps us become secure in what knowledge we need to create success.

Are we willing to change our way of thinking?  Are we willing to create change through the words we say to ourselves. Creating and using declarations is the best form of auto suggestion that I can think of.

Have we put positive emotion around our new goals? Do we have excitement and anticipation around this goal, enough to at least launch us?

These are all mistakes I have made when trying to create change.  I have been totally unprepared to go into this with everything I need personally to succeed.  So this year I’m going to start right – I’m going to have an accomplishment party