Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Only real failure is not to try

By Shelagh Braley, COO

You know what irks me?

How willing everyone is to believe the negative hype surrounding New Year’s resolutions, and goals in general. “Nearly 75 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail.”

Almost every reference in the media over the last 30 days has taken a tone of defeat. “The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions have died a sudden and uneventful death …” “Your resolution should be not to change …” “By now, all our New Year’s resolutions have gone down the toilet …”

Boo. Bad attitude.

No wonder we’re so reluctant to engage others in our goals. Every mention becomes a massive risk, as people couch their possibility and speak as though they’re already beaten. Who would attempt to set and share a goal, when it’s common knowledge that three-quarters of them are blown by the end of the month? Don’t we have any choice? Any strength of will? Courage to try, even in the face of obvious obstacles?

The My Life List community does.

Through the 21-Day Challenge, a crowd of nearly 100 members committed to a goal, reached out for support and achieved exactly what they set out to do. From paying down debt, to staying in better touch with important people in their lives, to establishing healthy habits, Challenge participants had incredible success! They credit their victories to the support of those who were following their progress throughout the challenge. Accountability, when coupled with unconditional encouragement, has a life-changing effect on our capabilities.

“The accountability factor actually propelled me past the comfort zone to do the simple small things … And what an incredible difference it made. 10.5 lbs in 21 days?!! I'm so amazed at that figure,” said 21-Day Challenge first-place winner Andrea. “It makes me realize that things you think aren't possible really are once you've made a decision and committed to a plan. The choices we make absolutely determine the life we lead.”

So ignore any messages that give a “why bother” impression. Recognize that kind of attitude is only a protection for those who are too afraid to try. Make your list of goals and engage the support you need, whether in your own circle or through the anonymous cheering squad of There is nothing sweeter than knowing you are in control of your own life, so create some momentum and shout about your success.

If we're doing our job, the 25 percent of goals that DON’T die a silent, end-of-January death will get the respect they deserve. And goal by goal, with focus and a sense of purpose, we'll change our lives.

Shelagh Braley, COO of, is an experienced entrepreneur and former journalist. She lives in Swampscott, Massachusetts.

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