Resolutions…or Real Change?
Change your life by changing your mind…Buddha
We love making New Year’s resolutions, so why do we rarely keep them? What is it about every January 1st that propels some of us to jump in the ocean without a wetsuit, vow to make sweeping dietary adjustments, or formulate grand plans to change our life in major ways?
This is the time of year our shortcomings command the most attention, until we are distracted a month or so later and our good intentions are a distant memory. Eleven months later they resurface, only to go through the same cycle. If we want lasting change, we must change the ways in which we approach reaching our goals.
Working on our weaknesses is a gift. Often, we focus on our strengths, and develop an aversion to areas where we do not excel. Once you address the blind spots, less energy is spent on trying to ignore them. Lasting change does not happen when we are content, and it requires incorporating a few basic concepts before proceeding.
Grit – Passion, perseverance, and consistency, not necessarily luck or our talents are practices required for lasting change. Your level of grit is reenforced when you realize over time that your hard work pays off. Achieving actual results is not immediate if they are to be sustainable, instant gratification is fleeting. Fostering grit may not be glamorous, but soon you may find complacency is kind of boring. Any difficult path you have taken to achieve a goal worth pursuing is always more rewarding later. Having grit involves consistent practice and effort, all year long.
Mindset – Do you have a fixed or a growth mindset? If you believe change is possible with energy, preparation, and tenacity, then you have a growth mindset. If you subscribe to the idea that intelligence, athletic ability, and success are set, then you may be stuck in a fixed mindset. Challenge the belief that our success must appear effortless, and embrace that actually working towards your goals is not a character flaw. A growth mindset is one that allows a potential for change while a fixed mindset reinforces that you do not have power over your future.
Motivation – Your motivation must be intrinsic, something that is not for or about anyone else. Let distress be your signal, discomfort with where you are may mean you are ready for a change. Being uncomfortable is our greatest ally for change, which is why we may reevaluate our lives during the time of year that is the darkest, coldest, and seemingly most bleak.
When you weave grit, a growth mindset and intrinsic motivation together, you create an atmosphere in which areas of your life that are not serving you can shift. Every win that seems to “come out of nowhere” is a result of endless, tedious tasks. Expand your perspective and potential to change, beyond the first day of every calendar year.