Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Year for the Bold...and the Resilient

Ahh New Year's Day!   What is it about this day that compels most of us to make "resolutions?"  Is it guilt from eating, spending and relaxing too much over the holidays?  Perhaps. How many of these "new" goals to eat better, exercise more, i.e. lose weight, save more money, stop smoking, be nicer, etc. will be given up on by Groundhog Day??!!  That is the fallacy of this so-called resolution cleansing process that almost always leads to disappointment and another year of roughly the same level of personal performance.

Here's my take:  I am absolutely all about reflecting on our lives and setting or re-setting goals to ensure we are on the right path and moving forward.  In fact, this weekly review is something I teach in Bridges and is absolutely key to effecting lasting change in our lives.

That said, but for the once-a-year opportunity to straddle the past year and the upcoming year New Year's Day is really just another day.  And we kid ourselves if we think that by making our goal an official "New Year's Resolution" that our ability to actually accomplish it is somehow magically enhanced. It's not.

So, in order to make the most of this tradition this time of year make, or re-make, your New Year's goals with the following keys in mind.
  1. Go bold. If you dig deep enough into your persona you will very likely find that you know what you really want to and should do this year (is it really all that different than that past ten or twenty New Year's?) but fear, self-doubt and conformity hold you back. The world gets no better when people shoot for average.  Do we encourage our kids to stop just short of the line of greatness??!! No!  We say blow right past it.  Why should it be any different for ourselves?? I contend that setting bold goals is what gets us closer to being great than nearly anything else.
  2. Write down your goals and review them weekly.  What sounds great on New Year's Day can often lose its luster--or be totally forgotten--by February or March if we don't take the time to write and review our goals regularly.  If you are serious about making change--not just talking about it--then a weekly review is a must.
  3. Feel great about the fact that you are even thinking about setting resolutions/goals.  The prospects of accomplishing your goals this new year and of becoming more than you were on December 31, 2010 are raised significantly as you put forth the optimism and energy it takes to combat the natural complacency and laziness we all face when trying to make change.   When you decide to change and actually do something about it you are entering rare air.  Good for you!
  4. Be ready for the "hardness" that comes when your goals meet the rhythm of your current life and you feel like quitting.  This very moment is when we get to choose to change and be great or do what most people do and simply stay the same.  This is where change happens and resilience--a fierce commitment to your goals--is what makes it a reality.

Last note: Bold doesn't have to mean big or crazy, it means doing things that are strategic or key to your life-long pursuit of improvement.  This pursuit happens one step at a time and without a bold goal to pursue we may find ourselves bored or tired, or both, and end up becoming less than we are capable of becoming.  My example for 2011: I want to run a marathon in less than 4 hours.  I have never even run a marathon but am sure that if I keep that as my ultimate goal and maybe even register for one this week for later this summer I will stay focused on the day-to-day training and habits that will help me accomplish this bold idea for me.

I say, go bold or don't go at all.  But if you do go bold be prepared to be resilient and literally fight through the myriad things that will try to prevent you from becoming your best.

If you are ready for change then consider this: Compared to today, it will always be harder to start making changes tomorrow, or next New Year's. Don't wait.

At the very least resolve to keep an eye on what we are doing here at Bridges and practice what we preach.

Today, indeed every day this year, could be your day.  It's up to you!

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