It’s the start of a new year, and for many that means new year’s resolutions. I’ll admit, I love new year’s resolutions. There is something so fresh and hopeful about a new year, it inspires us to turn a new leaf. But we all know how easily we become disenchanted with these new goals, and then before long we’ve given up. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to us all, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
Just as with anything, it’s all about perspective.
Positivity and hope get us started, but fear, frustration and doubt undermine our intentions. So what’s the perspective I am talking about? I’m talking about resolve. When we start something new, we should resolve to see it through. But here’s the part I want to clarify. Sometimes when we start new ventures, we don’t know what we’ve gotten into until we are in it. And sometimes those things turn out to be absolutely the wrong thing for us. And that’s okay. It really is. In fact, it’s better than ok. You see, learning what doesn’t work is just as valuable as finding what does. That’s because we are still learning, and there’s nothing wrong about that!
I make goals all of the time. Sometimes my first impression is right on the money, but more often than not, it’s not! I learned long ago that it was my goals that were still important to me, not my means of reaching them. Sometimes my plan is working, but I start to feel distracted or restless with it, so I change it. I’ve learned enough by now to know that when I start feeling restless, there’s an underlying issue as to why. Most of the time it’s as simple as making a few little changes to my routine, giving it a fresh new look. But sometimes it signifies a deeper problem. Sometimes, it’s a sign that my goal needs to be adjusted.
Notice I said adjusted, not abandoned. Have you ever started something and realized you bit off more than you could chew? Yeah, me too. So many times I have started a new project only to find that my goals were not all that realistic to begin with! I set high expectations for myself, and often they are a little too lofty. And that’s okay, too. Remember, it’s about resolve and flexibility. Those two things sound funny in a sentence together, but I keep my resolve by being flexible.
But what happens if we indeed find that our original plan might not be a good fit? How does resolve fit in there? Well, the resolve is for our original GOAL, not our original PLAN. Our goal is what we should commit to, not how we reach it. So, if something’s not working, change it. If it’s a weight loss goal and your planned six days of intense cardio is really not working out well for you, switch it up. Try a new exercise routine. Try weights. Try interval training. Be flexible. Rearrange your thinking and allow room for change. Resolve to keep trying.
We’re on the right track when we choose new goals at the start of a new time, be it a new year, a new month, a new week, a new season. It’s natural to adopt change at these significant turning points in our lives. These desires to change are a response to the natural rhythms of life. If you know me, then you know I wholeheartedly support going with the flow of things. And I think it’s clear that for many people, this innate tendency is still intact. It is easy for us to start this mission, but it’s the continued dedication where we lose sight of the big picture.
So this new year, I want to challenge you. Where is your resolve? Go back to your goals, your hopes for this new year. If they are truly something important to you, then you can achieve them. Resolve to see them through. But be gentle with yourself. Allow yourself some room for flexibility. If you run in to some problems, it’s not a sign that your goal is unattainable. It’s simply a sign that you might need a new route. So, stop what you’re doing and give it some thought. Is there something else you could try? Some other approach that you think might work for you? The key is to keep on going. Don’t stop your goals if you fall off the proverbial wagon. Get right back to it the very same day, just try another approach. After all, it doesn’t often help to keep banging our heads against a brick wall, now does it? Why don’t you look for the door in the brick wall, instead? I hear it’s easier, and from my experience it has turned out to be true.