How to Really Keep Your
New Year's Resolutions
By Jonathan Robinson
It's that time of the year again to make resolutions. Instead of making them and then breaking them like most people do, why not put some punch behind your resolutions? I helped invent a methd that practically guarantees your resolutions will be kept. The technique, which I call the Integrity Contract, helps people stay motivated when the going gets tough. After all, it is only people who are consistent over a long period of time who ultimately succeed in life.
Most people fail to achieve their goals because their actions are based on the desire to avoid immediate pain and/or gain immediate pleasure. Yet, in order to make consistent progress towards one's goals, we need some form of immediate pain to occur if we fail to take appropriate action. But it's hard to convince people to give themselves immediate pain when they don't do what they know they should. For example, you probably know you should exercise more regularly and/or eat more healthily. But because there is no immediate pain for failing to exercise, you're probably not as consistent as you'd like to be. Now if every time you failed to exercise three times a week you cut off a finger, you'd be a lot more consistent! Since no sane person would ever do that; you need to find an immediate pain you would be willing to give to yourself if you fail to act in beneficial ways.
After much trial and error, I found a solution that worked. In the last six years, I have taught the Integrity Contract method to thousands of people, and the results have been astounding. Of all the psychological methods I have ever come across, I have never seen any technique have as much impact as this one. In order for this method to create amazing changes in your life, you don't have to have faith in it, you don't have to believe in it, and you don't even have to like it. You just need to use it. Here's the essence of the technique:
Write a contract with yourself that states all the precise actions you're willing to commit to doing during the following week. Then write a statement that says, "For each of the items on this contract I fail to do by one week from today, I agree to rip up $2.: Finally, sign your contract, date it, and place it in a place you'll see it every day. That's it. Here's an example of a simple contract: "During the next week, I will exercise 3 times for a minimum of forty minutes. I will read a minimum of sixty pages from the book I got on investing. I will meditate for at least twenty minutes each day. For each task I don't complete by January 7th, I will rip up $2.:
Tearing up money is not a fun thing to do. I have hundreds of stories of people who have altered the course of their life to avoid ripping up $2. I've used this technique to get people off heroin and cigarettes. I've used this method to get people to exercise consistently so they could lose weight. I've used this method to help people increase their income 500 percent in one year. It works with lazy people, it works with motivated people, it even works for people who are absolutely sure that it won't work for them. Basically, if you use it, it will work.
There are several reasons why this method is so effective. First, there is a clear proclamation of what you intend to do, and when you intend to do it. Normally, people have a lot of lofty thoughts about what they could do to improve their life, but these thoughts soon slip away. With the Integrity Contract method, you'll have a visual reminder of what you're committed to do. Second, with this technique, you'll experience immediate pain if you fail to keep your word. Since your brain is always trying to avoid immediate pain, it will do its best to complete what's on the contract.
As far as I'm concerned, it's fine to not complete everything on your contract as long as you rip up the money for the tasks you don't finish. I've seen that, as long as people are willing to rip up money for failing to complete their contract, the method eventually works. Maybe not the first or second week, but by the third week you'll find your mind screaming at you to complete whatever you wrote down. After a while, the Integrity Contract becomes a trusted friend. You rely on it to help you do all the important things you used to procrastinate. As an added bonus, this technique helps you build confidence. You begin to see that you can manifest whatever you desire simply by stating what you're committed to do each week, and keeping your word.
What follows is a step-by-step account of how you can use this method.
1. Sit in a quiet place and ask yourself, "What important things could I do this week to create a life of even more inner and outer riches?: Write down whatever ideas you get.
2. For the two, three, or four best ideas you come up with from #1, create simple, measurable tasks you can do within the course of a single week. For example, the inner message to "treat my customers better: might lead to the action of giving them a sincere compliment when you interact with them. To increase your business exposure, you could put on your contract the task of giving out your business card to four potential customers.
3. Write down on a single sheet of paper all the specific things you plan to do by the end of one week. Then, state that for each item you fail to complete by the end of the week, you will rip up $2. Sign and date your contract. Below is an example of how such a contract looks. I, Jonathan, agree to do the following over the course of the next week: a) Call five potential clients about my new seminar. b) Wash my car, and put an ad in the paper to sell it. c) Ask a friend to read my latest article and get their feedback. d) Start a savings account to save money for a vacation to Europe. e) Meditate at least 20 minutes each day.
For each of the above items I fail to complete by 5:00 p.m. next Thursday, I agree to rip up $2.
4. Put the contract in a place where you'll see it daily. Bathroom mirrors are good. So are car dashboards. If you have an appointment book, make sure you write down the exact time you plan to evaluate your contract. It is important that you schedule this. If possible, make this appointment exactly one week from the writing of the contract.
5. At the end of the week, evaluate how you did. If you didn't complete any items on your contract, no matter what your excuse, tear up the appropriate amount of money. It may take awhile to write contracts that work just right for you. Go through this process again for the upcoming week. Write a new contract that takes into account what worked for you in the previous week, and what did not. After a few weeks, you'll find you can write highly beneficial contracts in a matter of two or three minutes. If you find you always miss items on your contract, write easier contracts. On the other hand, if you find you always complete everything, put a couple of more difficult items on your list. Have fun.
Think of how quickly you could turn your goals into a reality if you made progress on them each and every week. After awhile, the Integrity Contract becomes like a fun game you play with yourself. Rather than always putting off the dreams you have, it allows you to act on them right now. Let this year be a year in which you keep your resolutions and your promises to yourself. People who have the patience to slowly but surely make progress on their goals are the people who succeed in life. Excerpted from "Shortcuts to Bliss: The 50 Best Ways to Improve Relationships, Connect with Spirit, and Make Your Dreams Come True,: by Jonathan Robinson, $11.95, Conari Press (800) 685-9595.
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