When you think about big changes, re-engineering any aspect of your life, you think about January: the month of resolutions, of renewal, of re-positioning. If you start to pay attention to the world around you, you will notice that there is an entire industry devoted to the idea that “A New Year means a New You.”
A prime example is the gym. Most gym’s in America would close their doors if they couldn’t sell memberships to those people who have held their guilt throughout the year until January and are now looking for a way to sweat out their holiday sins. But there is a reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail. Have you heard the old adage that, “those who fail to learn from history are bound to repeat it?” So this year I propose that before we start our changes we set some time aside as sacred, and reflect before we act.
In my personal life I have held December as a time to evaluate the year that has passed. I am a firm believer that no January resolution will ever come to fruition without a time to reflect. I know some very successful individuals who actually schedule time in their calendar to reflect – I tend to use my holiday travel time as the chance to let my mind focus. I think about the ground I gained in the past year, and I look at it from career, fitness, relationship and happiness perspectives. When I look at the changes I made, the attitude and approaches that gave me an advantage, and how I presented myself the overall goal is to celebrate the wins and then to know how I made it to that point.
Once you have had your moment of glory, shift your thought process to the defeats you suffered. What did you bring to them, and how was the way you approached those failures different from the way you approached the wins? Why make a resolution for next year if you can’t figure out what worked and what didn’t the previous year? Get to know yourself and what you’re good at before trying to build a plan for the next year.
Of course you can’t take time to reflect until you have had your holiday celebrations and opened all your presents. But this year I also want you to kick out that old adage and adopt this “new” one: “History follows many of us around like a second shadow. And while it’s easy to ignore, the smart ones acknowledge — and even invite — its presence.” It is my hope that you are among the smart ones, and invite the past to lead you in your resolution making.
My best wishes for joy, celebration and reflection. I’ll see you next year, hopefully more confident and prosperous than I left you.