It takes discipline to outlast the pain of change. - IMAGE: Pexels/Markus Winkler

It takes discipline to outlast the pain of change.

IMAGE: Pexels/Markus Winkler

Happy new year! The year is still fresh, and with it comes the promise that anything is possible, or perhaps this year will be better than last, or it could be that in 2024 you are going to make some changes that you have been putting off and the change in the calendar year is just the milestone you’ve been waiting for to make the change become a reality.

Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions rarely stick. As a matter of fact, researchers suggest that only 9% of Americans keep their new year’s resolutions. We wish things to change, we want them to change, but they don’t. Why? As a very wise person said to me when I made the mistake of sharing that I wished things were different, “Wishes are stupid. You need a plan.”

I would suggest that whether you are in the car business, power-sports, marine or RV business, and no matter what your role is, we all live in a 30-day cycle. That 30-day hero-to-zero culture we have grown up in can be a significant reason we can’t seem to make the changes we know are needed for us to grow within our roles in the dealership.

This suggestion applies to just about every role in the dealership, especially any commissioned roles. We have objectives that we need to hit, and we focus and push to the finish line at the end of the month, then get up the next day and start the process again. We live in the urgent and put off the important things, like professional and personal development, for some later date when it will be more convenient.

Let’s say that day finally comes, and you have some time to do some self-evaluation, or perhaps you are coming out of a performance review that could have gone better and you are motivated to make some changes, set some goals, and go to work! Unfortunately, many times goals, like new year’s resolutions, don’t seem to work out as planned. Why is that?

I will share that it has been my personal experience, and I would guess that of others as well, that the obstacles that keep many of us from reaching our goals and making real change in our lives come down to three main factors: focus, discipline and pain.

Being in a sales business and living in the 30-day cycle that is retail, maintaining focus on an objective or goal shouldn’t be that difficult. After all, we have a chain of accountability set up to prevent losing focus, so why does it happen?

I would argue that that is where discipline and pain come into the equation. Discipline is intentional. A disciplined person follows self-imposed rules and practices a standard set of behaviors that allows him or her to efficiently define, actively pursue, and successfully achieve goals. There aren’t too many things that require discipline more than changing one’s behaviors and routines.

That is because it takes discipline to outlast the pain of change. Make no mistake about it, pain can be a strong motivator. The problem is that the pain of change or the discomfort that comes from intentionally changing a behavior, practice or process probably motivates more people to quit their pursuit of achieving goals or objectives or growing professionally than any other factor.

I believe that for most of us, the pain of not changing must be greater than the pain of changing, in order for us to change.  

I think most people just do not want to be uncomfortable. As a trainer, coach and mentor, I can share that the most difficult thing for me is to convince people to stick with a new process or the work needed to change a behavior or routine, even though it is uncomfortable.

Discomfort and pain will most definitely present themselves as obstacles in your pursuit of goals in 2024. Be ready for them, understand that it is part of the process. Know that in our business, as in others, to achieve any worthy goal or to change any long-standing practice or process, you will need to have the discipline and focus needed to work through the pain of change.

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