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To Make New Year's Resolutions Stick…..Water The Bamboo

Date: November 15 2012

With the close of 2012 approaching, many of us will plan for the arrival of 2013 by making a new year's resolution or two. For most people, however, the annual attempt to start fresh and turn over a new leaf will fail. According to the Opinion Corporation of Princeton, of the 62% of people who make New Year’s resolutions, a mere 8% are successful.
After more than a dozen years of working with and studying successful people, teams and organizations, thought leader and inspirational speaker Greg Bell believes that giant timber bamboo farmers can teach us a lot about what it takes to make our resolutions stick. If you water giant timer bamboo in the first year, nothing happens. If you water the second year, nothing happens. If you water the third year, nothing happens. But when you water the bamboo the fourth year, it will rocket up an astonishing 90 feet in only 60 days.
Bell is the founder of The Water the Bamboo Center for Leadership and the author of Water the Bamboo: Unleashing the Potential of Teams and Individuals.  As he explains, “Water the Bamboo is a metaphor for success based on the contention that success is fueled by creating unshakable motivation and persistence, developing laser-like focus to avoid distractions, and being fully committed to pursuing your goal.”

Bell suggests these proven steps to help all of us kick aside the “woulda, coulda and shoulda’s” and make this year’s resolutions stick:
> Have a compelling vision of what you want to achieve: After all, if you don’t know what you are working towards, how will you know whether you’re making progress?

> Delineate goals:  Pinpointing mini-goals helps ensure you get where you want to go.  Instead of setting out to exercise every day of the week for an hour, commit to exercising for ten minutes five times a week. Then, once you get in the habit of fulfilling this mini goal, increasing it by ten minutes will be easier since you have already begun forming the habit of exercise.
> Believe in yourself and your vision: Whether you believe you will be successful or you believe you won’t --- you’re right. Believing will give you the energy and effort to achieve success.

> Strengthen supportive relationships:  No person is an island.  Make a list of the people who can help you achieve your goal and work on keeping those relationships strong. 

> Have self-discipline: As Theodore Roosevelt said, “With self-discipline most anything is possible.”  Great achievement and success are largely the consequence of self-discipline. 

> Will it to happen: “I will” are two very powerful words. Wanting something to happen is one thing; Willing something to happen is quite another. 

> Be optimistic: Successful people don’t throw pity parties. They see challenges as opportunities.  They focus on creating solutions amidst the obstacles. They remain hopeful, energetic and motivated in the face of “negaholics.”

> Commit:  Commitment is the bridge between desire and accomplishment.  Making resolutions stick takes unwavering commitment and adopting a non-negotiable approach to reaching your goal. No excuses, no holding back, no sabotaging your own success.

As Chip Kelly, record-setting head coach of the Oregon Ducks football team, said, “To our players, the analogy of Water The Bamboo is that you have to keep driving, keep playing, and it will pay off in the long run. That's what those guys understand." And that’s what’s going to help all of us turn New Year’s resolutions into reality.
Greg Bell, CSP, is a recognized thought leader, author of Water the Bamboo:  Unleashing the Potential of Individuals and Teams, and founder of the Water The Bamboo Center For Leadership and the Water the Bamboo University.  As an innovator and keen observer of highly successful leaders and teams, he distilled his findings into the Water The Bamboo approach to success, which has encouraged and inspired thousands of leaders and teams to identify and water their bamboo to create remarkable results. To learn more, visit or follow @WatertheBamboo. For additional comments, Bell can be reached directly at or contact Cindy Kazan at to schedule an interview.

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