Their unbridled enthusiasm. Their hope. Their expectations.
Year after year, I watch the turning of the calendar and the ongoing talk of the “New Year’s Resolution.”
“This year will be different,” I hear.
But also, year after year, I can track the lousy record of success for many resolutions.
And I’m not alone. Forbes magazine, reports that only 25 percent of people that make New Year’s Resolutions are still working on those resolutions after 30 days. After a year the number plummets to 8 percent.
“But this time, EVERYTHING has changed, and it’s going to be different.”
Ummm….I hate to harsh your buzz, dude, but this year is going to be no different.
This year probably won’t be different unless you can change the basis on which these Resolutions are built. Let me explain…
Sometimes Short-Term Memory is a Good Thing
Just like you, I, and about everyone else in this country, am ready to scrub all memory of 2020 from my memory. Pandemic. Nasty election cycle. Isolation. I pointed out how these have all sowed negativity and fear in our world. If there was ever a need for a year to be different, this is it.
But it won’t be.
The turning of the calendar will not magically improve our situation…much like a cover lifted to reveal a newly-restored 1973 Plymouth Barracuda that was once the car you drove in your youth! (Sorry for the momentary lapse into a long-standing dream of mine 🙂
But despite all we’ve been through in the past year, some constants will be with us for a while. Forever, really.
We can’t control everything.
This is easy to say but much more difficult to take to heart.
I see so much frustration, anger, and despair build up about things we cannot influence, but in the end, they are a tremendous stress and a waste of energy.
We can’t change how a virus behaves.
We can’t affect the effectiveness of a vaccine.
After you cast your vote, the election results are out of your control.
In fact, every time you catch yourself getting worked up about traffic or the weather, this should hit home. It’s not to say we need to sit back and be content with the way things are, but we would be better served by directing our attention to the next point.
We can control a hell of a lot!
Despite what the rest of the world is doing, you CAN control your behaviors and your reactions. This may sound small, but I assure you if you spend some time on the concept, you will begin to free yourself of some enormous burdens.
I realize that the world is not black and white. We live in a world made of shades of gray. That’s why I use a specific exercise to help put perspective on and sort this out with our members.
First, grab a piece of paper and draw three circles that look like this, and label them as shown.
Then begin filling in the categories. I think you may start to see my point.
At the core of everything is you. What can you directly control? Even though the list may be small, the effects ripple outward. Now, I don’t want you thinking your behaviors will magically change the outermost ring. That’s not going to happen, but I hope you realize your center circle is most important for your happiness and success
So what do you do with this? I realize that your center circle may not be operating optimally. Your behaviors are probably not where you want them to be to reach your goals. Can I get a raise of hands to show who among us indulged over the holidays more than they’d like to admit? In case you are wondering, my hand shot right up 🙂
This is where the real work begins. By saving the emotional energy you waste on the “uncontrollables,” you can direct it elsewhere. This is where you begin the task of behavior change. Not an easy assignment, but if you want to change your body and your life, you must start here.
If I can help, just reach out. Or at the very least, keep reading!