First off, let me start off by wishing you all a happy and prosperous new year! Many of us have set up new goals and aspirations, but it’s important to remember where we left off the past year, and try to reflect upon milestones in order to continuously improve! Last year was the first year where I was out of school and simply had no direction. Trying to figure this whole ‘life’ thing out has been a little challenging, especially when lacking the figurative sheltering of school and/or home. But hey, there were many milestones and exciting memories to learn from. And while the New Year brings new opportunities and memories, it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to change everything about ourselves. It’s not a new you, but a better version of yourself, a “You 2.0.” So take that idea of ‘changing’ into ‘developmental growth’.
Besides, it’s difficult to go ‘cold turkey’ and change habits instantly. It’s difficult and we all know the odds are slim that we’ll actually change immediately. Approximately 8% of New Year’s resolutions are actually kept, according to research from the University of Scranton. Yet somehow, year after year, we hope that our resolution will defy the odds and be one of those 8% (and it’s not to say that you can’t do it, but it’s tough) I’m also very guilty of this myself. So you might ask, what’s the secret to success and how do certain people keep going when they encounter obstacles?
I’ve decided to try a few different approaches this year in hopes of overcoming procrastination and achieving goals I’ve set. Again, it goes without saying that there are definitely other ways to get back on track, but these methods can help propel your progress in an efficient manner.
In a world where we are constantly occupied with our electronic devices and social media, it’s very helpful to re-establish a sense of connection with each other, face to face. Yes, social media and technology have a plethora of benefits when it comes to people keeping in touch, but it’s arguable that it also prevents us from conventional communication strategies. Many organizations have recognized the importance of connection in achieving health related goals (or goals in general for that matter). Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, fosters an environment of connection and community that provides recovering alcoholics with the positive social support they need to beat their addiction. So in a more personal way, try to find someone you can depend on to help you keep track of your goals. I for example am held accountable by a friend of mine, Scott, who is let down when I refuse to go to the gym. That idea of accountability strengthens our will (will go into detail next) and ultimately helps us stay focused when it comes to overcoming our next hurdle.
Getting ourselves to do something can be the hardest thing at times, especially when we tell ourselves that we have time. And yes we do have time, but it’s easy to get caught up in other things and lose sight of our initial objectives. So how do we get ourselves to ‘just do it’? It’s easier said than done, and cliché at best, but we have to simply understand the importance of the goal and commit to starting. Make that the challenge. Starting is the hardest part of any process, but once you get the wheels rolling, you can continue to progress. I’ll use the example of creative work because it’s relevant to me. Doing creative work, or any kind of freelance work, really isn’t for the faint of heart – since it isn’t consistent and the precarious element shrouds it. But you must be willing to do it. The strength of willpower. The ability to be stubborn, tenacious, determined, over and over and over. Stay consistent and work hard, and soon habits begin to form, which ultimately help you attain your goals.
“Your will shall decide your destiny.”
— Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre
The most important of them all, in my opinion. Keep an attitude where every experience is a learning lesson. Be it positive or negative, always be intent on taking a thing or two out of the situation. It’s really fascinating to look back on earlier years and wonder why we thought the way we did, and it goes to show that learning certainly improves our mindset, while allowing us to continuously grow. Learning also has the ability to keep us humble – which goes a long way when meeting people. Having the ability to also be a good listener gives us the opportunity to learn from others. I could provide examples of how learning demonstrates growth, but it’s apparent that even learning the slightest things can assist us in keeping our minds open, which ultimately creates many different ways to approach challenges and goals.
“There are few things more pathetic than those who have lost their curiosity and sense of adventure, and who no longer care to learn.”
― Gordon B. Hinckley,