I remember last year when 2010 rolled around. Initially I found it awkward to write the year or to even say it. It took several weeks before saying 2010 didn\’t leave me feeling tongue tied.
Conversely, Twenty Eleven just rolled off the tongue on January 1st. Is that a sign this is going to be a better year or maybe a better decade?! Or is it simply because saying “twenty…” is a habit now and credit is due to Twenty Ten for paving the way.
Awkward, unnatural and clumsy are all descriptors of how we feel as we try something new or improve something about ourselves. That’s why most of us need a compelling driver for a particular goal. I’ve come to realize that anything (and I do mean anything) worth while, will be difficult and require discipline, motivation and patience to achieve.
Here is a secret we use at Homeward Bound to help our teens find motivation to commit more deeply to a positive course in their life following treatment. After gathering close friends and family around, we ask them to share their goals for the future. Some teens will go even farther, sharing the troubles of the past first, but we ask them all to share their goals out loud. Saying it with their own voice, and hearing themselves say it with their own ears, makes it that much more of a reality for them and those gathered to support them.
Today I’m in the home of a young man who just came home from a treatment program. Just a few weeks ago he was lying to his parents, smoking marijuana and flunking his classes. He was basically out of control. Tonight he will have friends and family around him as we celebrate his return. I have asked him to share what he has learned and what his goals are for the future. At the end of the night, he will feel the love and support of friends and family and he will have made a public commitment. I guarantee that his commitment will be stronger as a result. I’ve seen it happen hundreds of times.
Two days ago I publicly (in a small gathering of just my kids and wife) announced that I was going to lose the companion that had slowly grown around my waist over the last few months. My kids witnessed this and will now hold me accountable to follow through. Now I’ve gone farther and shared it with hundreds of my friends here in this email–just typing this to you is making my palms sweat. The commitment is more pressing and real with each person I let in on my goals. Give me time, but expect me to do what I say I will.
If you have a way to make change interpersonally, behaviorally or otherwise more probable please post it to my blog www.drtimthayne.com. The more people you share with, the more of a chance you will see it blossom into reality.
Happy New Year!