Ah, the beginning of a new year brings on a renewed desire for new starts: New business goals. New jobs. New travel plans. New mindsets.
We even clean up the house to bring in the new year (almost like preparing for a visit from a nosy mother-in-law ready to do an inspection). It can be considered a ritual as you metaphorically put out the welcome mat for the proverbial new start.
A clean slate.
But something happens as the days become weeks and the weeks become months. That renewed lease on life unceremoniously comes to a halt.
It’s bound to happen if you’re not mindful because a new year doesn’t change old habits. And if you don’t change your old ways then you certainly won’t get new results.
As Stephen Covey said in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
Consistent action brings about change; not starting all over. This is where you understandably go wrong and eventually give up.
So, what’s the key to staying focused?
Ditch the thought that a clean slate is an answer to a better year. Instead, resolve to create better habits by working on your trouble spots (which is where you tend to lose focus):
- Do you take on too much?
- Do you put all your energy upfront then lose steam quickly?
- Do you misuse your time?
- Do you try to make everything perfect then do nothing at all?
- Do you listen to other people’s opinions more than trust your own instinct?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, use this as your starting point.
Now, once you’ve identified your triggers, write down five things you can do when you feel those habits seeping in.
After you create your list, remind yourself of these five things every time you feel like you need to replenish your momentum. Sure, there is hope in a reset of the calendar for a clean start but it doesn’t equate to an internal reset; you still have the emotional millage that continues to tick toc even with a new year.
And that’s perfectly fine.
Every year is an opportunity to add to your story. Whether it’s accomplishing bucket list items or learning to face hard truths. There’s beauty in growth no matter what form it takes.
And you know what?
Sometimes hope does not come in the form of a new start. Hope is trusting that you can shape your own destiny at any time.
Originally published at maribrandsforyou.com on January 10, 2017.