Why New Year’s Resolutions Are a Joke by Jack Zufelt

Living a life full of maximum happiness and minimum stress and problems with the ability to do what you want when you want is available to anyone who follows the laws that govern success.  Far too often people simply do not have the right information available to them to make the correct decisions, which determines whether they fail, achieve mediocrity, or zoom to the top in any field or endeavor.

People start each New Year off with a renewed desire to do better this year. It presents a chance to start over; to let go of the past; to make the upcoming year better than the last; and to achieve goals that they haven’t yet.  Lose weight, get in shape, and be nicer to the kids or spouse. Sell more. Earn more.  Stop smoking. Stop swearing. Stop lying. Go to church more. The list is endless. It’s a chance to start anew with determination and resolve to be better, to do better. At least that’s the theory.

It’s a plan that feels good and hope that it will work….but, alas, it doesn’t. New year resolutions are made to be ________.  Why does everyone know what goes in the blank? It’s because they have mocked and joked about it in the media, in cartoons, and in late-night shows AND they have experienced it themselves as broken resolutions it continues to happen year after year. The same thing happens with goal setting. Goals are diligently set for the month, the quarter, and the year. They are sincerely committed to, written down and maybe even read several times a day and then not attained time and time again.

The word resolution implies that one is “resolute” about something. Some synonyms for the word resolute are determined…. adamant…resolved…. immutable.  A goal was identified, a decision was made and a resolution was committed to.  If you made a resolution and then broke it that simply means you weren’t resolute, determined, or committed to making it happen.  If you only think you are resolute about achieving something but really aren’t, you will start on the path to make it happen but it will only be a matter of time before you give up and quit. That is what happens with most goals in general.

If done correctly your goals and aspirations will be achieved but only if a certain, vital ingredient is there.  If it is not there the dreams and aspirations are destined to wither and die and failure is all that is left. For anyone who dreams of achieving a more satisfied life, a very simple method exists. It is a method that identifies the true cause of all achievement in all areas of life. Even though it is the real cause of all success and achievement is regularly overlooked. Yet it is so critical that if overlooked, failure is the automatic result. Every person who has achieved the pinnacle of success in any area of his or her life automatically has this ingredient and has used this method for that.

This ingredient and this method are not based on what countless experts and gurus teach. They all pretty much serve up the same old philosophies based on goal setting, reading self-help books, doing daily affirmations and visualization, PMA, NLP, listening to motivational speakers and subliminal messaging, breaking boards, walking on hot coals, etc., etc.

These so-called “keys” to success have all been taught for most of the last century. In the hope of finding happiness and success, billions of dollars and billions of hours have been spent on seminars books, and audio programs only to find they don’t work. You’d think that with all that money and time being spent on a vast array of self-help techniques and methodologies, many more people would be achieving their dreams.  But they aren’t. To blindly trust and accept the much-ballyhooed secrets of success will invariably lead to wrong decisions and, in far too many cases, wasted time and money. 

Two Simple Questions: You should answer yes to both of these questions:  1) Are you smart enough to learn what someone is willing to teach you?  2) Do you believe the information that you need to know to achieve the success you want already exists somewhere in a book, a class, a CD, a coach a minister, or in a course of some kind? 

If you answered yes to both of these then to achieve at the highest level you want in any area of life all you have to do is find the catalyst, which you provide from within yourself, that puts those two things together. Is top performance and success really that simple?  Absolutely. And you will see why in a moment.

Goal Setting is the reigning king of all success techniques ever taught. Everyone is taught that if you write down your goals and read them daily somehow they happen.  That’s just not true.  My research shows that 8 out of 10 things a person writes on a goal list will never happen.  Everyone has goals they didn’t finish and many they didn’t even start on. 

When a person buys into the idea of goal setting and observes week after week, month after month, or year after year, that they are not achieving those goals they almost always draw negative conclusions about themselves like: I must not have what it takes or I am a failure. Any negative conclusions like that about yourself are just not true. Success has little to do with your failures, current abilities, or skills.

If you have heard a motivational speaker in the last year or two answer this question: How long did you stay motivated?  Most people say: two days, `till I got out of the parking lot, two weeks.  The conclusion we must draw from that feedback from my research and my audiences all over the world is that, no matter how good, no matter how interesting, motivational speakers have no lasting effect. They are like going to a movie. They can make you laugh or cry but then you go home and your life doesn’t change. They were great entertainment; had some great ideas and maybe some right-on concepts but your life is still the same.   

Self-help books are plentiful. I wrote one. How many do you have in your library? 1?  5?  20?  100?  How much does it take to be successful? Have you read the book Think and Grow Rich? Most say, “Yes”. When asked, “Are you rich?”  They say. “No”.  They got the “think” part down but the “grow rich” part didn’t happen. Why not?  The book must be faulty or they are too dense to get it. Right?  No! They are not stupid. Neither are you.

If, after reading all these books, you still aren’t achieving at the level you want should we draw the conclusion that either you just couldn’t grasp the concepts being taught in the book or the books you read were full of misinformation?  Of course, neither of those is true. You are not dense nor, in most cases, is the information wrong.  Something is missing, that’s all. It’s the ingredient alluded to at the beginning of this article.

Do you like people to lie to you? Of course not.  Then don’t buy into the concept that lying to yourself is acceptable or that it will make you successful.  That’s what the concept of daily affirmations asks you to do.  “I weigh 125 pounds.” I Drive a Mercedes.”  “I am out of debt.” If those things aren’t the truth then what are they? Lies.

Supposedly your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie. Even if that is true, your conscious mind sure does. Stating thousands of times that you are rich that you are thin or have increased your sales by 25% or drive a Mercedes, clashes immediately with your conscious mind because it knows better.  Doing this exercise will only cause you to waste time and create false hope.

It has been said that your mind is like a computer…garbage in garbage out – good stuff in good stuff out. That’s just not true. Your mind is not like a computer. Your mind is vastly different from a computer because you have a choice.  You don’t have to spew out garbage just because it was put in. Conversely, good information put into your mind does not mean that good information will come out.  Whether it does or doesn’t is a matter of choice on your part.

So don’t do daily affirmations. They are an exercise in futility and teach you to be a bold-faced liar. You may feel good that you are supposedly “programming your mind” but that is simply not the case. You are merely lying to yourself.

There are many more self-help concepts that exist which have similar flaws in them making them inoperable in your life. Yet millions of people keep on doing them. Why?  Because they have been told this is how you succeed and they want success so badly they blindly accept that information. Even when they aren’t working, people will either try the same thing over and over each time with renewed determination and vigor or throw more money into the next seminar or book.  The definition of insanity and been stated this way. “Doing what you’ve been doing expecting different results”. There is a better, simpler way.

For nearly a century we have been taught that we have the power within us to do, have, or become whatever we want. That this power is God-given or innate. It’s true we do have that power.  But where is the switch? “Within!” comes the quick answer. That’s true. The trouble is no one is able to tell you how to go “within” to flip on the switch to that power.

Where is the switch to our God-given power to do, have, or become whatever we want? Where does one get enthusiasm and discipline? Where is the source of inner strength and self-motivation that keeps one hanging in there, persisting, constantly learning truths, and being totally determined to make the necessary character and personality changes required for the level of success they want? Where does the switch to the inner drive and strength come from to do that which is unpleasant, hard, or way out of one’s comfort zone?  Where is the switch to the driving force that gives people the ability to pick themselves up after a painful failure?

Vital Ingredient That Flips On Your Switch. What is this essential element that must be present before your Conquering Force can kick in at full power and cause you to achieve peak performance and high levels of success? Maximum success in anything is a direct result of this crucial ingredient being there. What is it? 

Core Desires.  That’s the answer. A Core Desire is the catalyst that MUST be present to maximize success in anything. A Core Desire is something you want so badly it pierces you to the very core of your heart. It is something you want with ALL your heart. Not half-hearted. Not three-quarters hearted. Wholehearted. It is the switch that unleashes the Conquering Force within all of us. It is what causes teenagers to get driver’s licenses and a car. It is what causes us to learn and accomplish anything. Our Conquering Force can be used for good or evil. You have many Core Desires. One or more in each area of life.

It’s been taught, and rightly so, that you need enthusiasm, discipline, persistence, and self-motivation to achieve success. This is true. However, can those teaching this ultra-basic and commonsensical information tell you where to get these needed things if you don’t have them? No. They can’t. Unless they say, “within” again.

Conquering Force.  I combined the dictionary’s definition of the words Conquering and Force to get this combined definition of Conquering Force:  It is “….to be act effectively in getting what one seeks by overcoming all obstacles in your way through physical, mental or moral force.” In other words, you are completely willing to do whatever it takes to achieve your Core Desire.  Both Core Desires and the Conquering Force do, indeed, come from “within”.

There is a problem though —  and it is why most don’t succeed like they’d like to. Many years ago Mark Twain said, “I can teach anybody how to get what they want out of life. The problem is that I can’t find anybody who can tell me what they want.”  Earl Nightingale observed a very similar thing. He said, “Today in America people can become whatever they want. Trouble is, most don’t know what they want.” 

I echo both of those men’s observations. Most people don’t know how to identify their Core Desires and that leaves their conquering force in neutral and unavailable to help them overcome obstacles. That’s why I created my seminars and 10 CD audio program and wrote the book The DNA of Success. They are designed specifically to help people learn how to find their Core Desires, which will unleash their Conquering Force and cause them to achieve at the highest levels possible.

Abraham Lincoln, who suffered many defeats in his distinguished political career, said this: “Always bear in mind that your own resolution (Core Desire) to succeed is more important than any other thing.” That’s still true today. 

Try having enthusiasm about that which you don’t like doing. You can’t and no amount of goal-setting or affirmations will change that. That’s why it’s critical to identify your Core Desires. Doing what you love to do always brings with it enthusiasm.

Try to get the discipline to do something if you don’t really want to. You can’t — and all the visualization and reading about it in how-to books will not give you discipline.  Discipline comes from the root word disciple.  A disciple is someone who willingly follows someone or some system or regimen.  If you willingly follow someone or some system the discipline is automatic. The operative word is willingly. If you are not willing forget it. You won’t do what it takes no matter who says you should, including yourself.

Measure It. Everything you want in this life can be measured on a scale from 1 to 100. A 1 is something you would never do in a million years. A 50 is halfway there. Half-hearted. Half-hearted doesn’t cut it – in anything.  Core Desires are the 100s.

There are always obstacles between where you are and where you want to be.  If the desire for the end result is a 70 on the scale you’ll get 70% of the way there. Any obstacle at 71 or higher will stop you permanently just like a dam does water.  If the desire is a 90 on the scale you will get 90% of the way there. If it is not a Core Desire you’ll spend money time and energy on it for a while but will fall short because, at some point, you will run into an obstacle at 71, 91, or higher which will stop you permanently.

There are no barriers at 100 on the scale.  That’s why nothing stops a Core Desire. Philosopher Eric Hoffer said this:  “It seems that intense desire creates not only its opportunities but its own talents.”  

William Hazlitt, also a wise philosopher, confirms this viewpoint. He says, “A strong desire for any object will ensure success, for the desire of the end will point out the means.”  Anyone who succeeds at anything does so because it is a Core Desire, at 100 on the scale.

To identify a Core Desire ask yourself this simple question: What do I want that I am not getting? As soon as you know the answer then ask this question: If I had that what would it give me that I’m not getting? Keep asking “And what would that give me that I’m not getting” and when you get to the “Core” Desire you will always have some kind of an emotional experience.  You may feel joy. You may feel tremendous assurance and have total confidence that you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. You may even start to tear up. Some burst into tears and cry.  You may just breathe a deep sigh signifying that, “Yes that’s what I really want”.  You’ll just know when you get there.  

Once you discover a 100 on a scale of 1 to 100 you will then be motivated from within to learn whatever you need to learn. The easy part is finding the source of knowledge and wisdom specific to your Core Desire. You will spend your money and time far more wisely because you will only buy the book or CD program or go to the mentor or seminar that is specific to helping you reach your Core Desire.

This last truth will eliminate any negative labeling of yourself if you are not achieving some “goal” you have set.  If you are not doing what it takes to achieve a goal it is an indication that is not a 100 on the scale. It has nothing to do with your ability or intellect. You simply didn’t want it badly enough. Rudyard Kipling, a Nobel Prize-winning author said it this way, “If you do not get what you want it is a sign that you did not seriously want it.” 

Launch the New Year with this new understanding of what it really takes to be successful and you will be amazed at how much happiness and success will be yours in the year 2024 and beyond.


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Jack Zufelt
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