2023: a new year and a new you. What are your resolutions for next year? And what are you going to start doing on January 1st to make it all happen?
The idea of a fresh start is incredibly appealing and motivating. We circle that date on the calendar, feeling like this time, THIS TIME, we’re going to make it happen.
But what happens when we wake up January 1st after a poor night’s sleep? Or with a hangover? Or to a fresh snowfall and no way to get to the gym? Or maybe we DO start on January 1st and stick with it for awhile, but then something comes up. A family crisis. Or stress at work. Or an illness. And then we quit.
And then we beat ourselves up over quitting, feeling like a failure. We’re lazy! We’re useless! We screwed up! We’ll never achieve our goals! It’s hopeless!
But this is all bullshit. We’re not lazy or failures. It’s not hopeless. That plan we put into place was just unrealistic and unsustainable. If that plan had been realistic we would have had no problem sticking with it. A realistic plan is something that we can sustain over the long term, but those plans we come up with for New Year’s? Those are usually go big or go home.
We dream big, and why not? I think it’s good to have a big, crazy goal for ourselves. To visualize our optimal self and then do what we can to make it happen. But perhaps in these cases that big goal wasn’t broken down into realistic steps. Perhaps we were hoping to achieve in a few weeks what would honestly take a year or two years or more. When we rush it, when we expect too much of ourselves or expect signs of progress too quickly, that’s often when we fail. We need more patience, and a more realistic and measured approach if we’re going to make this happen.
So here’s my suggestion. January 1st, that new year, IS incredibly motivating and inspiring. We don’t have to give up that pull of a fresh start. By all means come up with your goal and your plan, circle that date on the calendar, announce your plans publicly, write it down somewhere as a motivation and a reminder. But then don’t wait until January 1st to put it into effect. Start today.
Two weeks until the new year. That’s plenty of time to get started. Think how much further ahead you’ll be towards achieving that goal with an extra two weeks. This time before January is also a good time to work out the kinks in your plan. You’ll quickly realize if that plan is unrealistic, if you’re not able to sustain it. Get started now and do all the problem solving NOW, make all the mistakes NOW, so that you’ll have a much better plan in place by January 1st.
Also, the end of December is a very busy time for many of us. So we sometimes think oh, I’ll wait til after the holiday mayhem, it’ll be so much easier to get started on January 1st. But here’s the problem with that line of thinking: if you can’t stick with the plan over the holidays, with all the eating and drinking and visiting, how will you be able to stick with it in the new year when another thing comes up? The next holiday? The next time you get a cold or flu? The next stressful setback?
Starting it now, even with the holidays upon us, is a great way to test how realistic that plan actually is. You want it to be simple enough that you can do it on a regular basis consistently, no matter what comes up in your life. Training just during summer vacation, for instance, won’t get us fit for life. But training on a regular basis—even if that training is less impressive—is exactly what will get us fit for life. Being able to do something day in and day out no matter what comes up in our lives is a sign that that plan is realistic and sustainable. And that is how we will get results.
So come up with your resolutions now. Circle January 1st on the calendar. Announce your plans to whoever will listen. And then start today. Even a small action every day up until the new year—just getting in the right mindset, working on setting aside time for those actions, planning how it will look, figuring out how to handle potential setbacks—all of these will help increase our chances of success in the new year.
A fresh start in the new year. Absolutely. I love that idea. But this moment right here, right now: this could be your fresh start. So start today.
Show Notes for Episode 13
2023 is upon us. A new year and a new you! Join me in this episode in a discussion of the reasons why people typically fail with their New Year’s resolutions, and a better way to approach our goals so that we CAN achieve success in the new year.
Thank you for joining me on my martial arts journey, and in the exploration of all the ways we can perform better in life and martial arts.
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What are your New Year’s resolutions? Write them in the Comments section below to help keep you accountable. You can do this!