Uncomfortable Firmness

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It’s resolution time everybody. “Why?” you may wonder. It’s because it’s new. As people, we love new. I know there’s the whole “vintage” movement, but even in that movement they restore things to be “like new”. When we think new, we think fresh. So with a new year comes a fresh opportunity to make a new resolution to do something different. There’s really only one minor problem with New Year’s resolutions…they get old really fast.

According to Business Insider, nearly 80% of all resolutions fail by February. I guess we should celebrate the 20% that are able to hold on for a mere 31 days? As coaches, our practice is really based on resolutions. Clients come to us making a resolution (a firm decision to do or not to do something). If we’re good, they stick to it and we’re both satisfied. If not, one or both of us is disappointed. The major problem with this concept of making resolutions is the word ‘firm’.

Why we struggle to be firm

Most of us are not firm in our decision to change. We think we’re “firm”, but we’re about as firm as our ‘going out of business sale ultra-ultra-plush pillow top mattress’ we bought four years ago. Imagine every night for the past four years rolling into a deflated blow-up mattress. It’s one thing to wake up the following morning to a mostly deflated mattress after eight or so hours of use, but we start that way each and every night knowing this is how the manufacturer actually wanted it. The mattress is so unbearably plush, we’re currently sleeping on the bottom of the mattress. Not the pillow top, but the mattress bottom. Sadly, I can report after a week like this, that sleeping on the bottom of the bed is wayyyyy better than the “right way”, but I digress.

There are basically four levels of firmness: indifference, hope, pursuit, relentless.


Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. My past has proven them a waste of time. Why? Because I’m not going to make it a full year. Therefore, I would fall in the indifferent category (of no importance or value one way or the other). What are the odds that I will complete a resolution that I’m indifferent about making in the first place? You guessed it… none.


Back in the day, I was a person who would say I was going to do a resolution (purely out of peer pressure when everyone in my circle was making resolutions) but had no real intentions of actually ‘resoluting’. This is the Hope category. They do care, unlike the Indifferent, but have no plan to implement the change. They just hope that by just making a resolution, somehow it will come to fruition.

If I can be honest, I often hope to get in better shape by eating what I want and never working out. As my metabolism continues to abandon me more and more each new year, you can guess my success rate in making that resolution… zero.


When I got more serious about my resolutions, I actually developed a plan to reach them and did something about it. This is the Pursuit category. This group is actually making an effort to change. For those who work out regularly, the Pursuit group is the one taking up your parking space at the gym right now. Irritating right? They don’t know what they’re doing, wearing the latest and greatest workout gear, and making your workout needlessly last 30 minutes longer than it has to because the ball dropped in New York City.

Will they last? More than likely not, but at least they are making an effort to change. As a coach, I actually love working with this group. Everyone won’t make it, but there’s at least an opportunity to turn a corner. Even though working out is so satisfying when you do it regularly. Not working out is so much more satisfying when you do it regularly (jk but sort of not jk).


Then, last but certainly not least, is the Relentless category. According to Merriam-Webster, relentless is showing no abatement of severity, intensity, strength, or pace. Think Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator (for those 40 and older). The cyborg would not stop trying to kill Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton). For the younger audience, think Facebook trying to profit from your free personal data. No matter what they promise before congress or any other governmental entity, they will not stop trying to profit from your data by allowing certain third party partners access to your information without letting you know or preventing you from stopping. Too soon?  But as any tech behemoth will tell you, being great means pushback from consumers and those pesky governmental entities like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation imposing massive fines for illegal data usage.

When we decide to make a resolution, it means changing a current habit. Human nature is diametrically opposed to habit change. The new habit may be literally life-saving. It doesn’t matter. From a habitual perspective, human nature would rather stay the same and suffer than change and be better. Think about all the people with destructive health habits but cannot, will not and/or most importantly DO NOT change their habits. For this reason, it takes a relentless attitude to overcome human nature to stay the same. Dare I say, this is so uncomfortable.  

So whether or not you decide to make a New Year’s, new quarter’s or new day’s resolution, decide how firm you are committed to seeing this through. At a minimum, do something and pursue it (like the January workout junkies). But the better option is to be relentless in your pursuit of a better business, family, life, and purpose. Trust me, big Tech is not going to give up on its pursuit of leveraging your information. You too should, in a moral and ethical manner, pursue your new you.

Although I’m not making a New Year’s resolution, I definitely have some goals to crush this year!

Do you want help learning how to be relentless in pursuit of your goals in 2019? Let’s talk! We are SPEARity, a local Milwaukee leadership coaching firm that specializes in business coaching, executive coaching, and leadership development training.


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