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Keep the Change

The Shockingly Simple Way To Make Changes Stick

Lawrence Polsky
Contributor: Lawrence Polsky
Posted: 01/03/2012

By the time you read this, over 25 percent of New Year’s resolutions have been broken or given up on. Another 25 percent will fail before June. There is only one reason for this.

Our research shows that the people who decide and succeed in changing do one thing differently than everyone else. They find and focus on a big, selfish, emotional reason to succeed.

The right reason to change will be very personal. It will be important to you but might not sound important to someone else. And it will evoke strong emotions inside you. Here are some real examples:

  • Graeme, a flight instructor, crashed his plane and shattered several vertebras, broke his jaw, had severe injuries from head to toe, as well as third-degree burns. His doctor told him he wouldprobably never walk again. But within eight weeks, he took his first steps. How did he do it? He decided that his three-month-old daughter needed him to walk so he could be a good father.
  • Cheryl’s husband died and left her with $500,000 in debt and two children. She had no job and no real skills. But she decided that she wanted more out of life. That was her reason to change. With a lot of hard work, and a good support system, she created a business that generated $3 million per year.
  • Sheri was hired to end the stealing and corruption in her organization. She was harassed and threatened at work. Why did she go on to succeed? She says "They (the employees) needed me. I didn’t want to throw them to the wolves (the bad apples)."

So when you are faced with a tough challenge, by your own choosing or demanded of you at work, ask yourself this one question.

"Why do I want to succeed?"

This is NOT the same question as "Why am I doing this?" with the upset, angry attitude behind it. The question has to be asked from a desire to find a good answer. Focus on it until you come up with something that energizes you. It might come to you right away. Or it may take a few times of rethinking. But when the right answer comes it will be very simple and it will keep you motivated.

Here are some answers that leaders I worked with shared – they might give you some ideas for your change:

  • Be a better person
  • Have more energy
  • Provide for my family
  • Be a good role model for employees/family
  • Be a good team player
  • Live a long life
  • This has bothered me for so long, now is the time to overcome it.
  • I love my job and want to keep it.
  • Learn a new skill so that I can ___________
  • Help me increase my income
  • Prepare for my next job
  • Get to know new people such as_______
  • To teach________ to ______________
  • Just for the thrill of the challenge
  • Life is short. Why not?


So if you are about to eat that cake, skip that workout, or give up on your new idea, ask yourself why you want to succeed. It is the only question that matters to keep yourself moving forward.

Lawrence Polsky
Contributor: Lawrence Polsky
Posted: 01/03/2012