It’s my most favorite time of the year. And, no, I am not referring to Christmas, even though it just passed. The beginning of a new year is ripe with memes of failure. If you follow any of the popular success coaches or influential promoters of how to obtain wealth, you will know that failure is a key component of success. Because failure is not the opposite of success. Failure is good, great even. However, it’s only beneficial if you learn from it. Apply it. Adapt and revise. After all, doing the same thing over and over expecting different result is the definition of insanity. While I am not a big proponent of “New Year’s Resolutions,” I do thoroughly believe in having goals and direction.
This article is for you if you feel like you have already missed the boat or fallen off the wagon face first for whatever goal, resolution, and/or intention you set for yourself. Now let’s explore the reason you might feel your new year already sucks (okay, so maybe it’s not that extreme) and how to resolve what went—or is going—wrong.
It’s A New Year, But Not A New You
Think about it. How did you bring in the New Year? Reflect on it for a moment… If you did something like party like it was 1999, then we have some talking to do. Odds are you brought in the same mindset and habits from last year because you used them as a springboard for this year. Really consider the mindset of “I’m going to do this one last time for old time’s sake.” Soooo…you’re going to stop (fill in the blank) by doing it again, but just one last time?
That strategy often does not end well for most. What I have seen is people who are truly determined just quite cold turkey, no matter what it was. That level of resolve is the beginning of what it takes to be renewed and reborn.
What is the solution for when you have great intentions but are trapped in an old mindset and are tackling it the same way you have before?
First, realize that a problem cannot be solved in the same way it was created. Example: Does it sound feasible to quit partying by doing more partying? There is no homeopathy (treating like with like) in the world of self-improvement. You will forever be angry if you try to cure your anger with more anger.
Second, determine what it is that you really want and need. Get really honest with yourself. And if you’re not sure how to do that, just ask your friends what they think you could improve on or what you talk about all the time. This will give you insight to your true desires.
Third, create a game plan for how you will change your approach and leave behind the old you and old habits. I’m pretty hard core, and keep things as simple as possible. That means just letting it go—a little Queen Elsa from Frozen, anyone? Don’t get me wrong. I was not always like this. And sometimes it is still a challenge if it’s something I grew attached to over time.
Change is the key. And avoid temptation. If your friends are the source of leading you to undesirable results, change your friends and inner circle. If you smoke and drink, don’t go to the club. If chips beckon you to eat just one, which turns into the whole bag, don’t buy the chips or have them in your house. Be a new you, and create a new environment.
It’s The Time of Your Life, So Live It Well
Sometimes people are not as optimistic as they think. Just because you might not go around literally thinking the glass is half empty does not mean you are not carrying around major negative luggage. Did you go into 2023 thinking, “This will be MY year!”, “This will be THE year!” or something along those lines? Well, therein lies the issue. You waited. Instead of taking action in 2022, you waited for the year to change to make a change. That’s called procrastination. You put off for tomorrow (or rather the next year, literally) what you could have done today, yesterday or the month before.
Recently my daughter and I were sitting on the couch crocheting while watching A Bug’s Life. As the end credits started to roll, I was immediately enthralled with the theme song. At first it was because I knew the distinct sound of the singer and desperately tried to grasp his name from the recesses of my brain. But then I realized as I bobbed my head to the doo-wop beat that the lyrics were super relatable. Finally, the chorus with the song’s title made it a homerun: “It’s The Time of Your Life, So Live It Well.” Never did I expect a little ditty from a Disney movie to hit that hard. It instantly became like a mantra for me coming into 2023.
So how does this apply to your new year and rectifying anything that has already not panned out the way you anticipated, expected or hoped for? No matter how much you have messed up or fallen off the beaten path, there is always NOW. You are one decision away from change. Whether you are 1, 10, 25, 40, 90 or anywhere in-between or beyond, make it the time of your life. And while you’re at it, live it well. Notice I did not use a term like “successfully.” The concept is well. This means to the best of your ability and what resonates for you. Whether you use the term success or not, Jim Rohn sums it up in his 1981 titular seminar “The Key To Your Future Success Is You.” No matter what word you replace “success” for, they key is YOU!
You Set Goals With No Reference Or Actionable Steps
Having a resolution is a start. Setting goals is awesome. Having a mantra and affirmations, cool. But what happened after you stated your resolution or goal verbally or in writing? What happened after you recited your mantra 10 times and looked at your affirmation on the wall and mirror every time you went to bed or peed? The point is, you set a goal with absolutely no plan! Or even worse, you only made a resolution.
The first issue is you are or were making a goal or resolution with no reference. If I say, “I want to lose weight this year” that is nothing more than a statement: it’s a potential goal worded as an idea hoping to be a declaration. A more specific goal is: “I will lose 15 pounds in three months.” Then I can make actionable steps to reach this goal.
The second issue is you do or did not have actionable steps. You failed to plan so you planned to fail. Now you are reaping the benefits. Just setting a goal is not a plan. If I go back to the example of losing weight, here’s what a plan and actionable goals would look like:
Goal: I will lose 15 pounds in three months.
Month 1: I will change my eating habits and maintain a food journal to lose 5 pounds.
Month 2: I will power walk for 20 minutes every day to lose 5 pounds.
Month 3: I will include intermittent fasting 2 days a week and increase power walking to 30 minutes per day to lose the final 5 pounds.
Once again, there is a huge difference between a resolution and a goal.
Goal: The object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.
Resolution: A firm decision to do or not to do something.
These definitions show you in plain text why resolutions are a set up for failure. A resolution is just a decision, a choice. It does not have any true power behind it. So you made a choice, great. But did you actually act on it and see it through to the end? A goal shows ambition for a desired result. This means there is passion and drive behind it. Therefore, you will be more apt to take steps towards meeting your aim.
Now that we’ve examined how making a resolution versus determining a goal potentially sets us up for failure, let’s talk about how to fix this. The simple version is create a plan (which you saw an example above). But how do you create a plan and actionable steps like I did above?
Determine the steps and resources needed to make your dream a reality. I find Robert Kiyosaki’s “Be. Do. Have.” model the most effective for determining goals and how to accomplish them. In short you write down 1) What you want to Be, 2) What you need to Do, and 3) What you already Have.
Here's my breakdown and explanation for the “Be. Do. Have.” model:
Be: What is it that you want, want to be, or need?
Do: What will you do to obtain it, or what steps are required?
Have: What do you already have that will help you reach your desired outcome, or what do you need in order to make progress?
I also merge Kiyosaki’s “Be. Do. Have.” model with the “It’s Your Life” exercise from The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. You write or chart out everything you want in all aspects of your life. This is what my blank chart looks like combining the two exercises:
Need Some Basic Actionable Steps?
If you want to learn some ways to renew yourself any time of the day, week, month or year, check out my article here. While some of the ideas might seem too straightforward or like what you have heard before, consider this: if it’s so simple, then why is not a part of your life or basic routine? Because simple is not easy.
We are human and love to complicate things. Until we learn about our ego, fears, stress and so much more, we will be far from the practices of Stoic thought. Growing and changing is a lifelong journey. So even if the title of some of these actionable steps seem basic, read the description, listen to my audio explanation, and go from there.
There’s always something new to learn. Happy New Year! Happy new now; day; week; month; and, most of all, you...
Further Reading To Foster Your Future Succes
If you happen to stumble along the way to your goals, read this lovely poem about the realities of life, especially after your dream does not come true, and how to pick yourself up again.
Stephanie is a certified life coach, national speaker, author, educator and consultant. To learn more or book a session, visit stephaniebradberry.com
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!
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