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New Year, Same You: A Better Map to Achieving Your Resolutions

Updated: Jan 2

I must confess I've never been a Resolution Enthusiast. I wonder, what is the likelihood of us following through on our impulsive, holiday-inspired commitments to self-improvement? I tend to be skeptical but stick with me here. Real, lasting growth doesn't typically emerge from a mistletoe-fuelled epiphany. It's often borne out of profound experiences or piercing wake-up calls. You see, changes that stick are usually powered by pain, love, fear, or sometimes a personal desire to evolve, not by a date on the calendar.

So why, you might wonder, am I penning a piece on New Year's Resolutions? Simply put, I'm a firm believer in personal growth and transformation, and January 1st is as good a kick-off point as any. Let's face it, everyone knows what a New Year’s Resolution is, right?!

Well, if you don't have any plans, let's explore a bit deeper. What does "Resolution" truly encapsulate? It's not just about adopting a new hobby or bidding farewell to a bad habit. It signifies a strong determination, a focus, a commitment. When was the last time you were genuinely resolute about something? This, I believe, is the appeal of the New Year's Resolution: it's a call to be decisively better, to be resolute!

Now, what if you tumble off the wagon? Resolutions can be daunting, even paralyzing. You might think, "If I'm likely to fail, why bother trying at all? Who needs that kind of judgment?" It's tough to shake off that mindset, isn't it? We're often overly concerned with how others perceive us. If we truly desire growth and transformation, we need to stop measuring our worth through others' eyes.

So let's be clear: I’m not advocating a total disregard for people's views. But, we must learn to see them as exactly what they are - opinions, not judgments of our worth and value. If anyone criticizes your efforts towards self-improvement, it reveals more about them than it does about you. It hints at their limited worldview, and who needs validation from small-minded folks? So what is the path of wisdom? It's undoubtedly the more challenging one - embracing empathy towards your critics and refusing to adopt their limiting mindset. Consider this ancient wisdom: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Luke 6:31

So, how does this relate to goal-setting?

Viewing things in this light allows you to charge fearlessly toward your goals, without the daunting weight of potential failure or scrutiny. Remember, it's perfectly fine to stumble, to "fail forward," as John Maxwell puts it. No one nails it in the first go. The real downfall is not trying at all. As mentioned in the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear "Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. No single instance will transform your beliefs, but as the votes build up, so does the evidence of your new identity." Therefore, direct your efforts toward the areas of your life where you truly desire change. From there you can more clearly identify the realistic goals that will move you towards your desired future self.

And finally, don't be reluctant to ask for help. All humans are meant for connection and community. As Jack Johnson rightly said, "We're all as lonely as we wanted to be." And in the words of James Clear, "Surround yourself with people who have the habits you want to have yourself. You'll rise together."

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