Why does the start of a new year make us want a change?
A new year is like a new beginning or new birth. As the new year begins, we feel we need to make changes in our lives and create new beginnings within ourselves. We set our sights on a new job, new social group, healthier lifestyle or just changing some of our set patterns that no longer serve us. We make these resolutions with enthusiasm and intent to see them through, but the reality is, most of us lose our enthusiastic focus and go back to our old habits far too often. Why do we lose our enthusiasm and our resolve to see these things through? And, more importantly, what would it take to keep our resolve and perseverance to finish what we started?
It is great to dream a dream of a new you but in order to make your dream come true you need to do more than just daydream; you need to make a plan and take action. The new year is like a book with blank pages and you get to decide what will be written on them. To ensure success with your resolutions you will need more than temporary inspiration and desire. There are skills, habits, and traits of character that you need to possess, along with creating a step-by-step program to follow, to ensure your continued perseverance in your endeavors. Starting with common sense, set your resolutions based on fact about you and your environment and not on emotional resolutions based on wants and desires that are impractical for you or that you really only thought you wanted.
A well-defined goal is crucial in goal setting. Without a well-defined goal you may drift and lose focus on what your direction is and become discouraged and stop what you have started. A well-defined goal is just that, very specific and thought out. If you want to go see a movie, you first decide what movie to see and then what time fits best for you. If you want to buy a car, you first decide what car you want and what your budget is and whether a new or used car will fit that budget. If you want to make changes in your life, you first decide what kind of changes you want to make. Changes can be anything from changing your hair style to changing your career to changing your lifestyle. Be certain the changes you want to make are important enough to you to spend the time necessary to reach them. If you set out to change something you really want, you will be more likely to stick with it than if you set out to change something because you thought it would be cool or it was something someone else was doing so you decided to go along. Make sure you want your goal for the right reasons. Then decide the specifics of the goal you have chosen. The more specific you are about your goals the easier it is to plan steps to achieve them. For example, picking a specific color for that car you wanted narrows the field of possibilities considerably!
Usually when we start something new, we are filled with motivation and inspiration to see it through. But after encountering a few difficulties and obstacles; or if things take too long, our enthusiasm tends to run out and be replaced with doubt. We start to believe we were just kidding ourselves, thinking we could change something that can’t be changed. At this point, we need to muster our self-discipline and persevere with our efforts. How do we keep persevering, you might ask? Simply put, we need to make the decision to NOT GIVE UP! This is what separates a successful goal from an unfinished goal. Remind yourself of the benefits you will gain by accomplishing your goal. Reading about others that have met difficulties and conquered them might help. Having cheerleaders in your corner will help too but be carful to make sure you weed out those who would damper your enthusiasm or try to persuade you to let it go. Also, training and strengthening your willpower and self-discipline will help your perseverance be stronger. A little research will help you find ways to do this. Sometimes we have to get creative and figure out what really motivates us. It may be a picture board of what we want or motivational reminders of what we will gain or a daily routine that helps keep us focused on our end goal. Be creative and see what works for you.
Turning a dream into a goal is the first step but it is not the end step. To carry out a goal you must take action! A goal without action is just a thought that you think from time to time and wish it would come true. Action is what pushes us forward and gets us motivated to do more. Action cannot be taken tomorrow or next week or next month; action should be taken right now! Do not wait for the right time to take action because the right time is now. Procrastination is the number one killer of dreams and resolutions and new beginnings. If you allow yourself to procrastinate you are allowing yourself to wait for something that will never come. And while you’re waiting for something to come, your life goes on as usual with no changes or modification, only dreams. A well laid out plan with well defined goals means nothing if you never take the action to implement them.
We are all creatures of habit and love the space we have created for ourselves because it’s familiar to us and, therefore, feels safe to us. But if we’re serious about making changes in our lives, we must be brave and be willing to venture outside our comfort zone to unfamiliar territory. Let’s face it, if it were familiar, we would already be doing it and there would be no need for change. Only when we leave our comfort zone can we start to do things differently in our lives and do things we have never done before. Change can be a bit scary, but it can also be exhilarating and even enlightening for us. Change can only happen if we are willing to allow it to and willing to allow ourselves the space to experiment and grow.
Our own minds can, at times, be our own worst enemy causing us to doubt ourselves and our inspiration. Our family and friends can be a close second when trying their hardest to help us make the right decisions for ourselves to keep us safe and protected from harm. There are times when listening to our inner voice or the advice of family or friends can be inspirational and beneficial to us. However, we must take charge of our own destiny which includes what we think and the way we think it along with what we listen to and the way we perceive what has been said. We have already determined the goals we want to strive for, so we have already determined they are important to us and for our highest and best. keeping this in mind, we must keep our focus and stick to the plan we have laid out for ourselves. Determining goals, planning steps and taking action to do the steps; this is our blueprint to success. Bottom line: it is our decision and our choice what we do or do not do; there is no try to it.
It’s easy to keep your eyes and focus on your goal if you’re in a foot race. You can physically see you’re goal ahead of you. But even then, sometimes we let doubt and uncertainty creep in and cheat us of our goal to cross the finish line. It’s times like these we have to dig a little deeper and set our resolve to cross that line no matter what. To not listen to the doubts and uncertainties, whether mental or physical, and push forward anyway. Success is not measured by who crosses the finish line first. Success is measured by who crosses!