(And Santa Claus May Not Exist)   By Darren Hardy

When we were kids, we thought we could write down a list of everything we wanted and mail it to the North Pole.  When we grew up, we realized there wasn’t really a big roly-poly guy who delivered presents.  A real person had to earn the money, march through shopping malls, wrestle the presents home, wrap them up, and place them under the tree.  But I think many people still believe in Santa Claus. Why else would they write down a list of wants on New Year’s Day, stick it in a drawer for the rest of the year, and wait around for their lives to change?

Sorry, but it’s time to grow up.  Most people know how to write down goals, but few ever achieve them.  Want to stop chasing rainbows, wishing on stars, and rubbing lamps, and instead achieve real results?  This article will help you start.

WARNING:  Achievement requires work, discipline, commitment, and maybe some heartache and a stiffened spine.  If any of that makes you queasy, I invite you to continue reading.

The Cause of All Your Problems and the Solution

When I ask people what they want to improve in their lives, I hear things like, “I need to make more money,” or “My marriage is unhappy,” or “I need to lose weight.”

But these are simply symptoms or outcomes of the problem.  The cause of the problem is you — and this is probably one of the most sobering understandings you can reach as you work toward your stated goals. Whatever it is you want to change, whether it’s your marriage, financial situation, or weight, you’ll never achieve lasting change until you change.  Once you improve, everything else around you will improve.

In life, you don’t get what you want; you get in life what you are.  The success you have in life correlates with your level of self-worth.  But the human tendency is to engage in the study of effects, while giving little attention to causes.

I see this travesty play out every day. People complain about their terrible marriage, so they leave it.  Oddly enough, they end up with similar problems in the next relationship. Why? Because they didn’t address the real problem.  The same set of circumstances and patterns of behavior will create the same outcome.  Some people go from diet plan to diet plan, losing weight and then gaining it all back.  Why?  Because the plan and the weight aren’t the issues or the solutions; they are effects, and the weight will ultimately meet them back where they are.

Darren Hardy is the creator and visionary behind SUCCESS magazine as well as the New York Times best-selling book “The Compound Effect.” His newest book is “The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster.” For more, visit: www.darrenhardy.com