It’s that time of the year again. We look back at last new year’s resolutions in despair and assert “This year, I will”. The difference with 2016, you ARE going to do it.
Bright lights, happy songs, family gatherings and plenty of happiness. All problems magically seem to freeze. The world breathes again. If only for a few days.
Another full cycle is complete. Another year has gone by.
Our hectic lives seem to slow down and our brain does something magical. Something it doesn’t do often enough. It’s starts to look back, to reflect. Like every other year it asks itself:
What have I done this year?
Every year is the same
No matter what, the answer to this question is always filled with incomplete objectives, abandoned proposals, unachieved dreams. As our brain connects the disappointing dots, a surge of excitement rallies through our body. A call to action that ensures that this year will be different. A new found strength that guarantees we will accomplish our childhood wants and leave behind our bad habits.
A familiar sentence comes to mind. “This year I will…:
- quit my job and follow my dreams
- stop smoking once and for all
- take up a new language or learn to play an instrument
- eat healthier and do more sports
But every year is the same. High on excitement we put all our heart into our resolution, for a few days. Then it dies out and we’re back to our old lifes. No change whatsoever.
Are we condenmed to repeat this cycle all of our lifes? No. There’s a way to guarantee that this year will be different.
How can I take big steps towards my dreams?
1 – Break the cycle
First thing’s first. New year’s resolutions don’t work.
They never have and they never will. Why? Because they are society-driven, template-born and consumer-oriented. For any real change to happen it must be born from within, connected to our own specific needs and with a clear long-term objective to make our lives lastingly better.
Let’s see how we can do that.
2 – Take the time to reflect
The year is over. Our brains are racing to understand what we have and haven’t accomplished. We’re angry, we’re disappointed, we want instant change. So we put in place an immediate plan of action that never works and circles us back to disappointment.
What’s wrong here? Reflection is missing.
As difficult as it is, we need to contain the urge to act immediately. We need to stop and self-analyze. Dive deep into the why and try to understand deep down. Give it a few days, let your mind swim in thoughts and it will surprise you.
3 – Be honest with yourself
Have you noticed that everybody seems to have the same resolutions? It’s ridiculous to think that billions of complex human beings would burn for the same dreams. Dreams are beautiful because they have no stop signs, no real sense of reality, no understanding of limits.
Why are we focused on a handful of meaningless, one-dimensional actions to define who we want to be? Is this the edge of our imagination? Is this the legacy we want to leave behind? Of course not.
Reach behind the curtain, light the stage, throw away your embarrassment and let your heart speak. It will most certainly show you what you really want in life.
4 – Think big, everything is possible
We are our own best friend. We are our own worst enemy. We push our minds above the sky and dream with the impossible. Only to let logic plummet them into an inescapable reality and bury them into the ground.
This cannot be avoided. It’s the nature of the beast. But a simple question can help us overcome mental blockers.
All the great historical figures went through the same thing. They were nothing more than you are: flesh, blood and dreams. Yet they achieved the unseemingly impossible.
They dreamed big, they thought big, they overcame. If they did it, then why not you?
5 – Focus on small actions and keep steady
As cliché as it sounds, it’s 100% true. And it serves us good to stop and really think about what it means.
“Rome was NOT built in one day.”
Then why are we trying to achieve meaningful and life-long change in one big chunk? Why are we surprised when we don’t succeed in this manner?
It’s time to take a different approach. Take your objective and break it down into small steps. Instead of trying to accomplish it all at once, just focus on a small part of it.
Focus makes big work into little effort. Accomplish less, but more often. The boost on confidence will revert back and motivate you to keep going.
6 – Have heart and never give up
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.
You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you’re hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.
That’s how winning is done!
Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you!
You’re better than that!”
This dialogue from the last Rocky movie is simply spot on.
I try to watch this as inspiration every week. It’s a reminder that what ultimately carries us through hard times is passion and perseverance.
Now it’s up to you
What happens in 2014 is up to you, and only up to you. We’re not always in complete control over what happens to us. But we’re certainly in charge of what we’re going to do about it.
The question is, do you have the courage to push forward day by day and make your dreams come true?
What are your little tricks to help you accomplish more every year? Let me know what you think by commenting. I’m always eager to get better!