Have you ever tried to do something only to fail, or give up, or “get too busy”? You know the things I’m talking about; they often pose as New year’s resolutions. Lose weight, start exercising, stick to the budget, write a book, run a marathon, give up sugar, start a business. Or maybe smaller things like getting gas before your gas light is on for 20 miles, starting to meditate, fold the laundry as soon as it comes out, drink less alcohol, print your christmas cards before Thanksgiving, pack a lunch for work, eat healthier, keep your inbox at zero (maybe that should be in the “bigger” list).
Take a minute and pick one thing that you really would like to get out of the way BEFORE New Year’s day comes around in 42 days. If the old adage is right and it only takes 21 days to cement a habit, we can knock out 2 by then.
This is when we start to get nervous. After all we tell ourselves we have tried all these things (or many of them) already and here we are again- coming up to another year with the same goals still on the to do list.
WHY ARE THEY STILL THERE?
Because we have gotten to the point that we just fail ahead of time. It’s easier.
Of course we call it other things, things like family obligations or work burnout. When it comes to our goals we either set it and forget it, like a crock pot, or we decide it’s not the right time, that we couldn’t possibly do it right now. Either way, we do this sneaky thing of not making a plan because then we don’t have to be disappointed if it doesn’t work out.
WE FAIL AHEAD OF TIME by not even trying.
I know it sounds harsh but this is actually good news. Many of us are doing this without even realizing it. It’s like a surprise each January 1st that we somehow came through another year without accomplishing the growth potential we had thrown into the universe the year before.
It’s sooo backwards, we don’t put ourselves out there and stick to a plan because we don’t want to feel bad if it doesn’t work out. So to protect ourselves from feeling bad, we don’t do anything….which results in feeling bad. We skip all the work and all the potential for a different outcome to avoid a feeling that we will definitely have by not trying. WHAT?!?!?!
Once we realize this, we can do something about it. Staying the same is just discomfort masquerading as safety and security. Don’t fall for the smoke and mirrors!
So the answer, believe it or not, is super simple. You just need to make a plan, any plan will do.
Decide what you want for your life.
Make a plan and set a time to reevaluate.
When you don’t want to do it, remind yourself that it is too uncomfortable to stay where you are and do the next step anyway.
Evaluate your plan. Instead of beating yourself up, get the data and remember this is not a one-and-done process. If it’s not working (and you are honestly doing it), pick a new plan and try again. Believe it or not, when we do new things it may not all come together on the first try. We may actually need to practice. Crazy right? I didn’t get an IV in on the first try and yet somehow I didn’t give up nursing. I didn’t make it mean something about me as a person. I kept practicing (sorry, patients). Whatever job you’re doing now you didn’t master in one day of training and have it become second nature.
Practice being the person who achieves your goals. Instead of throwing in the towel with the first obstacle, remind yourself that it's practice and you may need to adjust the strategy.
Maybe some things will work. Maybe some won’t.
If you are going to feel bad either way you may as well choose the path that at least has the possibility of feeling amazing at the end.
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