Here we are. That month where the finality of 2015 is a harsh reality. It’s December, and suddenly all the things you did, didn’t do, and the things you wish you’d done and/or hadn’t done are becoming insanely clear. It’s also the time you’re likely to start setting goals for your 2016 self with grandiose New Year’s resolutions.
It’s no secret that the failure of New Year’s resolutions have become a tradition as much as making them is. For some it’s even become a bit of a joke.
Of course, there is HUGE value in self-improvement, but that forced expectation of when the calendar turns to 1/1/2016 and it’s all going to change because you wrote some resolutions down on paper is a very tall order that sets us up for failure year after year.
So … let’s try this.
When I decided it was time to take charge of my business, I didn’t wait for New Year’s Day to roll around to get started … I couldn’t. I was wearing thin, exhausted from spinning my wheels, and I decided I needed to make a change. Well … lots of changes, but I was already behind.
It was already after the new year … sometime in February, and I felt like it was too late, because I really wanted to start back in January. When it was the new year and everything was fresh.
It’s not so fresh now.
But I knew if I waited any longer, then I’d have had even less progress to show, with plenty of time to talk myself into waiting another year. I’m not kidding. And the longer you wait, it’s conveniently easy to convince yourself your goal is not actually a priority and you can ignore it.
If you want to do something important, you have to do it now.
If you’re the type of person who likes to start things on a specific day, and that day is not today, get started anyway.
Choose Progress Over Perfection
It’s not an all or nothing mentality. I hear stories from people who said they were going to go to the gym 5 days a week, or they were not going to eat fast food for a month, or write 1,000 words every single day, etc.
These are not good resolutions. In fact, they’re horrible because they set you up for failure from the beginning. It takes work and sometimes falling down and getting back up to create a good habit. If you only make it to the gym three days one week, you feel like a failure and give up, promising you’ll try again next month. Rinse and repeat.
Rather than say you’ll go to the gym five days a week, say you’re going to set a personal record for time spent on the treadmill or lift weight, or that you’re going to eat fast food fewer times than last month. Say you’re going to write something every day, no matter how little, and don’t worry about the word count.
See where I’m headed?
When you focus on progress over perfection, you build momentum that gives you the energy and spirit you need to keep striving for something difficult. And you build a mentality that allows you to fall down and get up again because you’re headed the right direction.
It’s Just a Day on the Calendar
One thing that helped propel me to where I am today is I decided that there’s a much more powerful way to use the concept of time. Instead of putting all this pressure on yourself to start the new “year” out right, you can actually do it whenever you choose.
If you’ve had a rough week, decide that Sunday or Monday will be your new start.
If you’ve have a rough day, decide that tomorrow will be your new start. You can actually start every hour off fresh, review every minute if you choose.
That’s probably a bit unrealistic, but a new day? Definitely realistic. A new week? Absolutely doable.
How did I fix this? How did I not let the self-imposed pressure of starting the new year right ruin my entire year?
Simple. I just removed that unrealistic expectation. It’s simply a date on the calendar. A time on the clock. All I did was chose to start my year one month later. Nobody cares.
It’s what you do with the time that you have.
I know you’ve heard that cliche, or seen the quote on facebook somewhere that says “Tomorrow you will wish you would have started yesterday.”
Cliche’ or not, it’s true.
No more waiting.
Who cares if the new year starts in a few weeks.
Start today. Create your plan and start working your plan as soon as possible. Tomorrow? Monday? Just do it.
What about last year’s goals?
I just reviewed this post from last January. Man, I had some lofty goals … and all great ones!
Some I accomplished. Some on time. Some I didn’t accomplish at all. And there were some things I accomplished that weren’t even on my list.
BUT either way … I moved forward. And I continue to move forward. Learn from my mistakes. Think big. And do better than the time before.
Whatever it is you want to do or, whoever it is you want to be, YOU CAN DO IT.
Massive amount of good wishes to you in achieving all of your goals in the coming year.
Cheers to changing your habits, forgetting about resolutions, and just getting sh** done!
The ideas above are what helped me build healthy habits that’s lasted me 5 years and counting.
I hope they do the same for you.
What will you be working on next year?