“New Year, New You!” “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” “What are your New Year’s resolutions?” It is January 2nd and they are everywhere, the kitschy phrases and weight loss ads, the marketing schemes that seem to capitalize upon the new year. It is nice to begin again, but what are you doing with your “clean slate”? Some people set goals for the new year, such as weight loss through exercise or diet, smoking cessation, returning to school or other worthy goals. Some people avoid New Year’s resolutions because they have “been there and done that” too many times.
So, what are you doing with your “clean slate”? It is a fresh and shiny new 2019, with only one day under our belts in which we have succeeded greatly or failed miserably. I do believe in setting goals and making “business plans” for our work, relationships and life, in general. “You can’t hit a target you can’t see.” (Zig Ziglar) Is this, however, too much pressure for some? I believe that it is. While goals are there to guide us and help us to have success that matter to us, resolutions being shared with all of our friends are often too much pressure.
The downside to those resolutions is when we fail and we often do, research shows that most people fail at their New Year’s resolutions and quickly. I believe that failure is a good thing but the key is to not beat ourselves up over failure. If we never try to attain those goals that are in our heads, we will surely fail and while we may not feel like a failure if we don’t try, we truly are. “You never fail until you stop trying.” (Albert Einstein) This quote is true in life. Every success is preceded by many failures. There are very few people who succeed upon their first attempt at anything that is difficult. History reveals many successful people who indeed failed many times prior to reaching their goals. Thomas Edison, for one, failed numerous times before he succeeded at inventing the light bulb, as did Abraham Lincoln, Bill Gates, Charlie Chaplin, and J. K. Rowling, just to name a few.
So, what are you doing with your “clean slate”? Not sure where to start? I say start with last year, 2018, was it a success or are there things that you still hope to accomplish? What were your goals last year or were you just surviving? Are there things that you wish you had done but just didn’t get around to them? Are there things that you tried to achieve but didn’t quite succeed? Maybe it is time for a second chance or a third or fourth try. Things that are worth accomplishing are worth failing at and getting back up and trying them again. “Nothing worth doing comes easy.” (Theodore Roosevelt) I say, be thankful for the failure and what you learned as a result of it. Brush yourself off, look at what you did well and what worked and adjust what you did poorly and what did not work.
Maybe you have to look further back to find the things worth doing with your “clean slate”? What have you always wanted to do but felt there was not enough time, or energy, or money, or whatever kept you from accomplishing the goal? Maybe now is the time to pursue it. What did you try, fail and put away a long time ago, believing that your failed attempt made you a failure? Making a mistake, falling short or failed attempts do not make us failures. Maybe it is time to dust that idea off and go at it again.
So how do you begin? I like to have clients write their goals and keep them in a prominent place. Viewing goals and thinking about them often helps to increase success rate. Also talking about your goals with others increases your chances of success. Often wise, encouraging friends and/or family will have some insight into ways to meet your goals. After determining your goals, set out the steps that you believe will be required to attain them. Often this takes some tweaking as you go along in the process. Setting time/money/energy requirements also helps to increase the success rate of reaching your goals. Not counting the costs is often the reason that people fail to meet their goals. If you have made attempts previously, write down what you have done in the past, what has worked and what has failed. Give yourself credit for any strides that you have made toward completing your goals.
Your goals can be relative to anything. People often have fitness/nutrition goals, relationship goals, savings/debt resolution goals, academic goals and many others. There is a way to begin to fill the “clean slate” with positive and affirming goals and steps toward your success. The difference between resolutions and goals is that we don’t beat ourselves up when/if we fail to reach them. Sit down today and think about what you desire to accomplish in 2019. Take a step toward those goals. Sometimes it is as simple as buying the running shoes or the journal to begin to write them down. Good luck! May your failures eventually lead you to success!