I love when the New Year hits… the drinking, the confetti, and the kissing! There always seems to be a great buzz of anticipation and excitement for the year to come. It feels great doesn’t it? It ignites your hope and faith in better things, dreams awaiting to come true, it almost feels like a second chance! Maybe you ride on high for a day or two, shouting “Happy New Year!” to everyone you see, and then you wake up for work or to take the kids to school… and you realize; everything is just the same as it was.
Well my friends, that is life. No magical better life awaits us at the stroke of midnight. All of our problems and fears don’t disappear as if they never existed. And we are not automatically better than we were the year before. But that’s okay…. Change is inevitable. It has always been. At some point this year your life will be different… The question is how?
Whether you choose to make resolutions for yourself or not. One thing I know for certain is that things will change… whether you want them to or not. And we all have things in our worlds’ that we want to be different. Maybe your living circumstances? Your work situation? Your financial security? Your relationship status? Your energy levels? The amount of time you have available to spend with your spouse or family? How often you treat yourself? There are so many different things that it could be. But realistically, we only have the ability to change one thing in this world… and that is ourselves! And not surprisingly, it is also the hardest thing to do.
We are creatures of habit and routine. We do what we know, expect other people in our lives to deal with and accept us for who we are, and on and on we go. However, we are changeable. One magical opportunity that the New Year does present us with, is the time to reflect. To look back over 365 days of our life and say, “Do I want to do that again?” Or, “Do I want to do that better?” If you killed it last year and you are riding high at the top of your game – run with it. You don’t have to do anything differently if things are working out awesome for you, just stick with it. But if you are looking back and feeling less like you killed it… then maybe this is a chance for growth and self-improvement.
I don’t believe that any person is perfect, nor should they try to be. But you do have to be self-aware and willing to look deep inside yourself if you want to constantly be better. It can be a really hard thing to do for some people, myself included, but if you are willing to do the work; the benefits can be extraordinary. If you know your areas of opportunity already, you are a step ahead of the game. Write them down and analyze each one. Start with the one that you think will bring you to most noticeable and instant reward, do that one first. Then prioritize the rest. Don’t expect change to happen over night. Being aware is the first step, but it takes concentrated time and effort to make effective changes that stick. Allow yourself room for error. You most certainly won’t get it right the very first time. Expect that, accept it, and then give it another go… You will get there if you try.
Now if you aren’t sure where to start or what areas you need to improve on. You can start by asking someone close to you. A parent, your children, your spouse, or even a close friend, if you know they are honest with you. Be willing to take the criticism… it might hurt a little, but if you respond defensively, you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot. Not ready to face it head on yet? Think about things that people have said to you over the year, or reason that you have had disagreements or fights with the people you love… Are you controlling? Defensive? A poor listener? Distant? Irritable? Unavailable? Do you follow through as promised? Do you spend enough time with your children? Talk to your parents as often as you should? Can your co-workers depend on you? Does your partner feel connected to you? Are you trustworthy? Are you healthy and fit? Need to quit smoking? Swearing? Are you consistently negative? I could go on for days here… My point is this: We all have something. Find it – and make it better.
The year has just begun. We have plenty of time. So don’t rush it. Just be willing to keep moving in the right direction. Positive effort and commitment will bring positive results. Here’s to another great year and being the best versions of ourselves that we can be!