It’s that time of year again when all you hear people talk about are their new year’s resolutions. As cliched as this practice may seem to be for some, somehow, resolutions revive a sense of hope, optimism and enthusiasm in the hearts of many.
Whether you get into this annual practice of creating your New Year’s Resolutions, or you prefer Year-End Reflections instead, I’d say that unless you’re approaching the new year with the right mindset, nothing ‘new’ that you vow to do this year will make any true and lasting difference in your life.
This is a hard truth to hear and accept because most resolutions consist of breaking old, destructive habits and kicking old habits successfully requires a renewing of the mind.
“New behaviors start with new mindsets. The pathway to personal transformation requires a change in perspective.”Nancy Leigh DeMoss
Singer/actress Jennifer Hudson attributed her remarkable transformation to the power of mindset. After losing 80 lbs., people started speculating that she was able to maintain her new weight only because she had the money to hire a personal trainer and a chef which she firmly denied saying, “It’s all about self-motivation because at the end of the day, you can have all the trainers and all the money in the world, but if you don’t have that mindset, it’s not possible.”
The pursuit of success is 90% mindset. Your mind is the training ground where you prepare for life’s battles and you need to develop a winning mindset in order to overcome any challenging situation. But don’t disregard the power of your emotions either. Your emotions affect your thoughts and your thoughts affect your choices which consequently form your habits and behavior.
If you seriously want to start the new year strong, you have to choose to adopt a winning mindset now — make sure that you are mentally and emotionally capable of receiving and handling all the great things that the universe wants you to have this year.
At a quick glance, here is the 4-Point Plan that I wish to present to you for starting the new year strong:
- Be grateful for everything you received last year.
- Let go of everything that’s weighing you down.
- Make space for what you’re asking to receive.
- Welcome change with grace and ease.
And now, let’s talk about each point.
1. Be grateful for everything you received last year.
This is nothing new to you. I’m certain that you’ve heard this a million other times but it has to be said as many times as necessary until this becomes deeply ingrained in your character. In order to start the year strong, having the confidence that you will achieve your desires, you need to start off on the right foot. And as you very well know by now, this means starting with the mindset of Gratitude.
Being grateful is not just about expressing appreciation for the obvious blessings and favors that we are naturally happy to have like money, recognition, family, friends, job, house, etc.
Today, I challenge you to take a look at the last year and remember each and every blessing that may have come in the form of:
- The people who helped and supported you
- These could be people who are close to you or they could just be casual acquaintances or even complete strangers, but these are people who helped you accomplish a goal or who helped meet a need at one point in your journey last year. It could be that guest speaker on a podcast whose story made a huge impact on you; or it could be that nurse at the hospital whose assistance helped alleviate the pain you were experiencing; or it could be someone who answered a question you posted on an online forum and offered some valuable perspective. Whoever they may be, however they may have come into your life, I believe that these people were put on your path as God’s way of reminding you that you’re not alone and that reinforcements will always be sent to you when you need them.
- The people who hurt you but also made you stronger and made you a better person
- I know it’s difficult to think about these people who may have said or done something to make you feel so insignificant and feel gratitude at the same time. But you need to try because these people were instrumental to molding your character. When you think about these people, the pain might resurface —and understandably so —but I challenge you not to dwell on specific memories that bring up the agonizing emotions but just to hold the memory long enough in your head to say ‘Thank you‘ for their contribution to your life because in a lot of ways, you came out of that experience a better, stronger and wiser human being.
- Financial provision
- Whether or not you are at a financial level that you hoped to be, the fact is that you had the means to pay your bills, buy groceries, and eat at least three times a day. Be grateful for that. Take a moment to truly be thankful for those times when you had the financial means to pay for a visit to the doctor, or to buy medicine when you needed to, or to fix something that was broken.
- Your health
- The fact that you’re able to walk from one point to the next… the fact that you’re still able to perform vital functions everyday… all that is worth being grateful for. Even if your health is not at its optimum level, to simply be alive is the greatest blessing that can be bestowed upon anyone.
- The moments when you felt really nurtured and loved
- Appreciate the moments when you really felt nurtured, taken care of, and noticed. This could be when a loved one took an effort to tell you how much he or she appreciates you, or to ask how you were doing, or to ask if there’s anything you needed. This could also be moments when you laughed with abandon, or when you were moved to tears because of overwhelming joy. When your spouse sends you a text message to simply ask you how your day is going, or when your kid plants a kiss on your cheek and whispers I love you before leaving for school… remember not to take these moments for granted and dismiss them as nothing more than ‘daily routine’. These moments are God’s way of reminding you that you are massively loved. These moments are His way of nurturing your soul.
- The subtle reminders of how beautiful life is
- Your bare feet on the grass… the warm sun against your cheek… the gentle breeze ruffling your hair… the relaxing sound of a guitar playing… So many things that are supposed to remind us of how beautiful life is are often taken for granted, or worse, considered as disruption sometimes. Like the rain for example, so many of us often complain about the rain because it gets in the way of fun and often causes us to cancel our plans. But it would be good for your soul to take a moment to just appreciate it and honor the blessings that it brings.
- The opportunities to learn something new
- If you came across a book, or you enrolled in a mentorship program, or you attended a business-building event, and you learned something valuable, be grateful for that. Even if it didn’t quite meet your expectations, if it added to your bank of knowledge in the slightest degree, be grateful nonetheless.
- New people you met
- Remember all the people you met last year, even if it was only for a brief moment, be grateful that you felt their energy, that you crossed paths with these beautiful, gifted souls. Utter a short prayer of blessing for them. Surely, there was a reason that you crossed paths, however short-lived it may have been. Even if it was just for that one moment in time and you never saw them again. Honor the energy they brought into your space and be thankful for the opportunity to have shared with them a little bit of yours.
- Restored relationships
- It’s easy to take this for granted. If you had a falling out with someone and you had the opportunity to patch things up with that person last year, even though the relationship was never exactly the same again, it’s still worth being grateful for. Never take for granted the blessing of being able to go to sleep at night without holding on to any grudge against anybody, and knowing that nobody holds a grudge against you. At the end of the day, having that knowledge that you have done right by everyone to the best of your ability, albeit you can’t 100% please everyone anyway, is a great blessing. Forgiveness brings forth a tremendous healing power, whether you’re the one giving it or you’re on the receiving end of it.
2. Let go of everything that’s weighing you down.
This could be:
- Unwillingness to forgive those who have wronged you
- Relationships that are merely transactional, giving you more stress than joy
- Dreams that are no longer aligned with who you want to become and where you want to go
You need to make a conscious choice to not take along with you any bitterness, guilt, regret and resentment from last year. Whether pleasant or unpleasant, every experience brings with it a valuable lesson that contributes to the refining of your character.
Stop judging yourself and how well you did last year on the basis of how much you accomplished versus how much you didn’t, or how much you cried versus how much you laughed, or how much you gave versus how much you received. It’s a terrible misapprehension to evaluate and to judge your experiences this way. Doing so will only accomplish one thing — kill your spirit and zest for life! Focusing on last year’s PAINS makes you blind to the GAINS and this will adversely affect your ability to move forward and make wise choices this new year —you’ll guard yourself so heavily that you won’t be able to trust people or even to trust yourself again for fear of getting hurt or failing again. You’ll refuse to take chances and you won’t even put forth enough effort to win.
Choosing to see the value and the good in the painful experiences does not mean denying the fact that you got hurt or a wrong was done. But instead of focusing on the pains and getting stuck in it, use it to get better. Stop looking at it from a perspective of a victim, but look at it from the perspective of a winner—someone who came out of it stronger and wiser. While you continue to allow yourself to be stuck in bitterness, you won’t be able to recognize new blessings as they come.
“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”Barry LePatner
It’s also time to let go of relationships that are not taking you to the next level in life. If it doesn’t bring out the best in you, or if it holds you back from pursuing your dreams, or if you’re starting to feel like your value in the relationship is contingent upon what you can do and what you can give, then you, my friend, are in a transactional type of relationship, and it’s time to give it up.
The type of relationship you should be cultivating in your life is what we call Transformational relationships. Benjamin Hardy powerfully explains this in great detail in an article he published last year about the two types of relationships.
It’s the same mindset I urge you to adopt when it comes to the dreams you choose to pursue. If a goal no longer inspires you, or is no longer in alignment with what you want to do or where you want to be in 2020, it’s also time to let go of that dream. I know that this is particularly difficult to do because we tend to equate our lifelong dreams with our life purpose. So the idea of letting go of a dream is almost like giving up on who we are and the very essence of our existence. But this isn’t true. Our dreams evolve just as we evolve as human beings. So this is actually a good thing because upgrading your dreams and goals only means you’re upgrading your life.
3. Make space for what you’re asking to receive.
You might think that this is exactly the same as Point No.2, Letting Go of Things That Weigh You Down, but it’s not.
Letting go doesn’t automatically mean you’re making some space for new things to come. Your willingness to release something is not necessarily the same as your willingness to receive something else.
Making space for what you’re asking to receive refers to specific actions you take in preparation for the arrival of your desire. It’s a strong declaration that you believe you’ve already received it.
A farmer praying for rain upon his crops but not doing anything to prepare his crops for that rain doesn’t truly believe that the rain will come. A woman praying to find a good man but isn’t willing to go out and meet new people doesn’t truly believe that a loving relationship is possible for her.
Letting go is an act of SURRENDER while making space is an act of FAITH.
Whatever it is you’re hoping to manifest this year, ask yourself if you’re mentally, emotionally and even physically ready to receive it.
What do you need to rearrange in your life to allow for certain changes to happen?
What areas in your life need some clutter-clearing so that there is room to accommodate new blessings?
4. Welcome change with grace and ease.
When we were kids, all we wanted was to Play. Play is fun. Play makes us laugh. Play makes friends. Play makes us discover fascinating things. Play brings with it that sense of adventure and wonder.
And then, we grew older… now, all we want is to Play It Safe. Suddenly, life has become an never-ending quest for security and safety. We start resisting and despising change because change is uncomfortable… change is unpredictable… change is uncertain… change means a loss of control.
And when something is uncertain, it’s normal and natural to respond in fear or defiance. We get into that Fight or Flight mode. Either we fight it or we run away from it as fast as we possibly can.
Change can mean different things to different people, depending on one’s mindset and general outlook in life. For some people, change can mean the end of something good, while for others, it could mean the exact opposite—the beginning of something better.
For example, if the change you’re dealing with is a loss of a job because you were let go, it could trigger fear, financial insecurity and even self-doubt. Or it could also mean relief especially if the previous job had been a source of stress in your life.
The bottom line is… whenever we have to go through some type of change or transition in life, it’s common for anxiety and overwhelm to take over and consume us.
But if you’re serious about coming into the new year feeling like you hit the ground running, you have to learn how to move through life’s changes with much more grace and ease. Otherwise, you won’t be ready for the next level. When the bigger blessings and miracles start coming—and they will come—you won’t be ready for them, and that’s how a blessing can turn into a curse.
Because if you’re not ready for a blessing, you will mismanage it. You will abuse it. You will most likely even reject it. And so once again, there will be resistance which will bring you back to square one. And then you’ll say, “I tried everything I could but I was unsuccessful at manifesting success or abundance into my life. I tried meditation, and visualization, and affirmations, and journaling, etc. Nothing worked.”
When in fact, the problem is you and your resistance to change.
“To resist change is to deny the very essence of LIFE. To resist change is to resist your own evolution.”Myla Saavedra
So how do you embrace change with grace and ease?
- Take away JUDGMENT from the equation.
- We are so often so quick to judge a situation as good or bad, and often, our judgment is based solely on how the circumstances directly affect us. A couple who’s having a garden wedding prays for a sunny weather one day, while a farmer whose crops are suffering due to drought, prays for the rain on the same day. So when the rain comes, the couple will see it as a bad thing but the farmer will consider it a blessing. But was the rain good or bad? It’s neither. It’s just rain. The sooner you learn to take away judgment from the equation, the sooner you’ll be on your way to experiencing abundance and joy. Simply honor and accept every experience for what it is, nothing more, nothing less.
- Tap into your inner child and be CURIOUS again.
- Be willing to explore and be open to the many possibilities that this change can bring about. As what we often say, “Everything happens for a reason”. So to be curious is to anticipate that with this change in your life, you will uncover something amazing. To be curious is to be open to learning something new about yourself, about life, about people, about the world around you.
- Lose your emotional ATTACHMENT to outcomes.
- Along with facing a major change in life comes, naturally, certain expectations of what outcomes this change will bring into your life. How much better life will be now that this change has happened. But then if that desired outcome doesn’t happen, then regrets and blame and more self-doubt will start to kick in. So rather than measuring yourself and your life against your ideal outcome or scenarios, measure yourself and your life against where you used to be. If you were expecting to go from A to Z with this new development in your life, but you only in fact went from A to G, rather than feeling like a failure, focus on the fact that you managed to move from A to G. You advanced. The point is, be Progress-focused when you’re dealing with change. That whatever the results may be, HERE NOW is still better than being stuck BACK THERE. And if you realize that you did make a mistake, you can always tweak, recalculate, recalibrate. But you won’t have the clarity to recalculate your steps if you remain attached to the outcome. Generally, you need to lose any and all attachments to your investments—whether you invested effort, time, energy or emotion into something or someone—because this attachment is what holds you back from realizing your true potential for success.
Your game plan for succeeding this year ought to be simple. It should be clear, concise, and straightforward.
Easy to grasp. Easy to remember. Easy to implement.
So once again, your 4-point plan for starting the year strong is to…
- Be grateful.
- Let go.
- Make space.
- Welcome change.
Gratitude. Surrender. Faith. Ease.
To borrow a few words from the Book of Proverbs, tie these words around your fingers, engrave them in your heart and bind them on your forehead. May you find genuine and lasting success this year, my friend.
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