It’s that time of year where New Year’s resolutions are starting to fade and become a distant memory. Why? The intentions were great. There is more to a resolution than those verb noun statements like “get fit,”, “save money”, “stop procrastination” or “be happy.” Between the before and after is the doing. The doing is all the stuff that happens in between. It’s this “stuff” that seems to be missing in the creation of the resolutions and yet this missing “stuff” factors in heavily of the success of the resolution. There are three key things to consider around the “stuff” that has to happen between before and after.

First, the “doing” involves giving something up. Getting into shape sounds great. But that means getting up an hour earlier to go to work out and giving up a few foods. People make resolutions, to get into shape, to save money, to spend time with the family; but, do they also consider what they must give up? Saving money, yes, a noble goal, but does that means giving up the weekly outing to the movies with friends? It’s not the resolution that necessarily fails it is the acknowledgment and taking into account what has to be given up.

Next, the “doing” needs a why. Getting into shape, great, but why? Health concerns, the ability to do things you are currently restricted from doing? Why? What’s the motivation? Saving money? Is it to take an exotic vacation, to pay off debt, to buy a new car? Why? You had a lot of practice at what you are trying to change. You need a reason to change. Some reason in mind so you feel ok about not going to a movie every week with friends, a reason to get out of bed to work you when you really want to sleep another hour.

Finally, the “doing” requires getting over a fear. Sure it does. Giving up going out to the movies every week, you may fear losing a social connection. Getting into shape, is there a fear of failure? The fear may or may not be rational. Fear is awful, face it. Fear will be there, but any time you push through it, there is growth.

So, go ahead, make those resolutions, but consider the key points, what is your motivation, the why. What do you have to give up? What fear you need to overcome? If you can’t articulate these things, consider it’s not a resolution. Next, be honest. Are you ready to face the fear? Is the motivation enough to make you give you something up? If the answer is yes, commit and go for it.

This week is the start of the lunar new year.  This is the year of the fire monkey, so if you want to a do a new year’s resolution do over, here is your chance. Just remember, you have to give something up.