Resolve to live a better story.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “A truly good book teaches me better than to read it. I must soon lay it down, and commence living on its hint. What I began by reading, I must finish by acting.”

That’s a poignant reminder that we all have the opportunity and responsibility to live out all that we have learned and become a part of in 2018. At Wildsparq, we consider it a great a privilege to be surrounded by the knowledge and experiences of our coworkers, clients, and friends, and we look forward to continuing to live out these truths.

But sometimes that’s easier said than done.

According to a few stats I read recently, it seems that less than 50% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually stick to them and are able to accomplish the goals they set for themselves.

Some numbers indicate that only 20% of the promises we make to ourselves actually come true. Why is that? Are we really that faint-hearted and undisciplined? How can it be that 80% of us can’t follow-through on our goals to “stop smoking… exercise 3 days a week… get up at 5:30 am to have a quiet time… spend more time with friends… get out of debt… and stop spending so much time in front of the computer”?

I think the main reason we “fail” is not because we are weak. It’s not because we set our expectations too high. And surely it’s not because “getting up earlier is just too hard.” I think we fail because we rely too much on ourselves to accomplish the goals we set. I have learned (through many failures and a lot of lost resolutions) that willpower is almost always not enough.

We have to seek the help and guidance and encouragement of others as we fight to be better, get stronger, be more disciplined, and create the positive change we seek for ourselves. The same holds true for strong leaders. In fact, the strongest leaders almost always seek the help of others.

I’m paraphrasing here, but some people think that becoming a strong leader is like trying to cross the ocean in a rowboat: try, try, try! Others see it as a raft: drift alone until you make it. But successful leaders view the journey more like the captain of a sailboat, relying on skill and know-how, but understanding all along that the wind (help from a power much greater than their own) is the force that will get them to their destination.

As you look toward the finish line of this year, how are you preparing to live out the stories that have been written into your life?

It’s true that strong leaders must “plan their work and then work their plan,” but it’s equally as important that we not rely solely on our own disciplines to get us where we want to go. So, make those resolutions. Set those goals. Put a plan in place to succeed… and then find the wind that can help move you in the right direction.

Taking the advice of Thoreau, read the following quote by author, Donald Miller, and then lay it down, and commence living on its hint with the other leaders in your life: Dying for something is easy because it is associated with glory. Living for something is the hard thing. Living for something extends beyond fashion, glory, or recognition. We live for what we believe.”