What we get will never make us happy. It doesn’t matter how many stars in our charts, how many awards we win or how much money we make. What makes us happy is progress. Progress equals happiness in self. Getting things will never make us happy.
In a tough economy, this is good news because it keeps us striving. It’s a good reminder that it doesn’t matter what we get. It doesn’t matter whether it’s money or opportunities. All those things excite only for a moment. Even a new relationship is thrilling and exciting, but if you don’t keep growing the relationship, it might not stay that way for long. The secret to real happiness is progress.
If we can make progress on a regular basis we will feel alive. That’s why at the beginning of the year we get this hopeful feeling that says, ‘Ok I have this fresh start. I can really work on my soul’s desires. I can expand. I can grow and improve. I can change, or maybe do more than change. I can take a step forward and progress.’
The fact that thinking about making progress makes you feel alive and hopeful doesn’t mean you have to work only on changing. Change has to be positive and progressive. People say all the time, ‘Now I’m working on changing.’ Don’t worry only about making an effort to change! Change is automatic. Your body is going to change, whether you want it or not. As the years go by, without any hard work on your part, there are going to be changes happening. No matter what you want to do, the weather is going to change. Your relationships will change. Everything in life is always changing. Change is the law of life. We hardly have to work on only changing things. Change is automatic but progress is not!
If you want real progress, you have to look at your life in a different way. You have to say, ‘I’m taking control of this process and not just hoping it will work out.’ When people make resolutions, the way they do at the beginning of the year, they normally scribble down a list. Then they go on to say, ‘Well, here are my resolutions for the year.’ On close inspection, they are basically writing down their wishes. It’s their wish list. It’s what they hope for. If by chance it all comes together they celebrate, but they don’t actually know what a resolution is.
When you resolve something – what true resolution really means is to make a firm decision. When you resolve, you have fixed in your mind how it’s going to be. That’s when you cut off any possibilities, except the possibility of the thing you are committed to. It’s like the old adage that says, ‘if you want to take the island, you burn the boats.’ This is because when you burn those boats there’s no going back. You find a way to make things work no matter what happens! Most people state what they hope will come together through mere chance. If it doesn’t happen, they’re disappointed of course, but not too disappointed. They were never too vested in the first place. So, what does it take to create a lasting positive change in your life? That is, to not only have a New Year’s resolution to follow through on but to make it a permanent reality?
Making lasting changes is a bit like making New Year’s resolutions. Fundamentally, it’s the same first step – having a vision for what it is you truly want. It is not about what you shouldn’t have, which is what most people think resolutions are for. ‘I’m going to stop eating sugar.’ Or, ‘I’m going to stop smoking.’ And, ‘I’m going to stop eating junk food so I can lose 10 pounds.’ It’s not very motivating for the majority of these resolution makers. It’s not telling you what you’re going to get, only what you’re not going to do. It’s hard to move forward with that vision. It’s better when you focus on what you can create – a vision that works. A vision that excites you! It is better if you say, ‘Well, my resolution, goal, or outcome for this month, this week, or this year is to lose X number of pounds and have a great body.’ It’s still not very compelling. It has to be compelling. Visions have to contain the power to pull you. You don’t want a vision that requires pushing yourself in order to realize it.
There are 2 different kinds of motivation: Push requires willpower and willpower never lasts. Pull is, in contrast, so exciting, so attractive, so energizing! You desire so much, that you have a hard time going to sleep at night. Pull will have you up early in the morning to rock it and take it to the next level! That’s what you’re looking at creating. It isn’t easy to get the pull motivation but it can be done.
The trick is to make the resolution in the right mental space. There’s a reason people do workshops and events, instead of just reading a book to get the information they need. It’s because when you build a conducive environment, you induce the right peak state in people. For example, there is a huge difference between watching a sports event at home and watching it in a stadium with 50,000 other people. In the stadium, the level of excitement is higher and, even if it’s the same game, it has a whole different level of intensity. We should feel the same way when we are following through on a resolution. It all comes down to our emotional intensity. In the right state of mind, you can come up with a much better and more exciting vision, than if you’re sitting on the couch.
When you ask yourself, ‘What are my new resolutions for this year?’ you are probably doing it the morning after the year started. You are still a little inebriated by the sound of the TV in the background. You likely won’t have the power to focus properly. You might not have the power and energy to create something that’s going to pull you forward for the rest of the year. You have to do it so it becomes a compelling vision; something that you are centered on – something that gives you the pull to make it happen.
With a compelling vision, plus strong enough reasons you will be able to follow through. When the going gets tough, most people give up because they don’t have proper justification for their goals. They say, ‘This is what I want to do.’ It’s not very compelling, but most importantly, they don’t have a strong enough reason to push themselves through. They keep floundering.
Ask yourself this: What’s going to be necessary to get your dream or goal? Can you withstand the inevitable challenges that will come up? For example, you can picture yourself starving and hungry when you’re trying to stick to your diet. Or when you have no time and you’re stressed out, but you still have to work out. Maybe it’s a scenario where the economy gets tight and your plans don’t work. Will you give up on the goal, instead of finding another way to get there? You can pull through if you have strong enough reasons. Those reasons can be positive or negative. They can be, ‘If I don’t do this, I will lose money,’ or, ‘if I do this, this is what I’m going to gain in my life.’
Your reasons for doing something are extremely important. If you have a compelling vision and strong enough reasons, that will push you through the tough times. You’re going to do things other people can’t do. Instead of collapsing even when you are off target, or saying, ‘I blew it!’ you’ll get right back on target. When you think about it, you have done this in many areas of your life. I’m not teaching you something new here.
Never mind what your soul knows. Making changes and improving requires going through a simple process. To make progress, the first step is to have a vision that is compelling. The second step is to make certain you have strong enough reasons to follow through. The third step is to feel the intensity of your vision every day. Have you ever experienced the feeling of wanting something so badly, you are fixated on it? Did you feel such hunger and hope for it, you couldn’t stop thinking about it? It could have been something huge, like a career move or something fantastical, like a kid’s dream. Maybe it was something material, like a car, or something emotionally fulfilling, like a relationship. It could have been anything, but you were obsessed! You wanted to make it happen!
You wanted something, and you might not have known how to get it, but it was so compelling to you. You kept thinking about it every day: Envisioning and imagining it, feeling it. And then stuff happened; suddenly you started to attract the right people or situations into your life. It came together, like something planned. It was because of your focus, intensity, and emotion. These three things sensitize and condition you, so you notice any opportunity that can get you your vision!