Thoughts On New Year’s Resolutions
A new year is a new chapter for many people. We wait very eagerly for the next year to come, hoping that it will bring new and exciting possibilities. We can call that a “New year, new me” mindset. But think about it, what it is that actually changes? Why do you hope that something will be different because the earth completed its next usual circle around the sun?
Do you want to know the secret behind being successful and accomplishing all your new year’s resolutions? Okay, here it is:
There are no secrets, and nothing changes, except for the motivation to change something, and it lasts for a couple of days or couple of weeks at most.
Isn’t that what’s really happening? Just think of the past new years when you set some resolutions, did the changes that you were trying to make actually stick?
What I’m trying to explain here is that you should be living with this mindset not only on some special parts of the year but literally every day of the year. If you want to make changes in your life that matter and grow you, you should be living from the above-mentioned mindset every day.
Just think about it, why are you motivated to change something right now, and not in the middle of summer, or at the end of fall, or at the beginning of spring? Why now?
I want you to realize that the motivation that you feel right now is not grounded in anything real and will fade away very quickly. You can’t be depended on motivation when you want to change something.
Do you know what is the difference between amazing visionary people and ordinary mediocre people?
Vision and discipline, not motivation.
Vision is the thing that sources motivation. If you don’t envision your future clearly, and if you don’t fully buy into your vision, you’re almost guaranteed to fail.
Discipline is the ability to do the things that you know you should be doing, even though you don’t want to. It’s is the key to real-life changes. If you can’t do it, it’s almost impossible to make dramatic shifts in the way you live, because the tendency of your system to stay the same way it’s always been is just too strong.
“If Resistance couldn’t be beaten, there would be no Fifth Symphony, no Romeo and Juliet, no Golden Gate Bridge.” — Steven Pressfield
Your mind and your body will do everything to not achieve the goals and plans that you set yourself for the new year. If it was that easy, the levels of consciousness and ways of living would be much better in society then it is today.
Progress is slow (from a human perspective) because everything around you wants to be the same, including you of course. It’s good and bad news at the same time, because that tendency keeps you alive, but also keeps you stuck in life. And if you want to help yourself, you will have to go through the battle with your mind and body, to “Tame the Gremlin”, as Richard Carson would say in his book called, yeah you guessed it right, “Taming Your Gremlin”.
“I free myself not by trying to be free, but by simply noticing how I am imprisoning myself in the very moment I am imprisoning myself” ― Rick Carson
So again, I will tell you as directly as I can:
If you want to achieve something in 2021 that you were not able to achieve in 2020 (or whenever you read this, doesn’t matter), you probably won’t, if you don’t change your strategy.
You have to consider the power of your mind’s resistance. And you have to think about the fact that you don’t really want to change. And I mean it seriously, deep down, you don’t want to change, because you are afraid of change.
After all the negative things I said, let’s talk about some good news.
And the good news is that you can accomplish much more than you think even in a single year. But also, the following quote has some truth to it:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” — Bill Gates
You just have to do the following, very briefly:
- Figure out who you are right now
- Figure out what you want to be
- Figure out the skills and traits you need to become that version of yourself
- Figure out how to develop those
- Work on their development every day
- Just forget about motivation, cultivate discipline and struggle through bad days and emotional roller-coasters that are inevitable
- Learn about your mind and it’s resistance patterns. For that, you have to cultivate observation practices such as meditation, contemplation, journaling, etc.
- Visualize your envisioned self every day, review your goals every day, reflect on your progress every day, for the whole year.
- Go through the process of trial and error, get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and confused, surrender to the fact that you have to go through emotional labor to change anything worthwhile.
- On your worst days, when you truly want to quit, remember that it won’t always be this way, because nothing stays the same.
- Try to enjoy the process, have a positive attitude, and be grateful towards yourself that you are taking responsibility for your life.
“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance” — Steven Pressfield
That’s basically how I see it. Do you want to truly change something in your life next year? Just remember the points I listed above and do them. Yeah, that’s hard work, but remember, we are trying to go against the behavioral patterns that are deeply rooted in us, that don’t allow us to be the best possible versions of ourselves. It’s a feature, not a bug. You have to be smart and approach the problem of accomplishing your goals strategically, because if you don’t, you might as well don’t set any goals and just go with the flow, and nothing’s wrong with that.
If you want to know why it’s hard to change, I recommend reading an article I wrote a couple of months ago, called The Truth About Truly Changing Yourself.
In the end, try to enjoy the process of trying to become a better human being in any way possible. Because in the end, it all comes down to enjoyment and being okay with whatever you have or whoever you are.
“If you are aware of telling yourself you should change, your gremlin has got you buffaloed. Should, ought, and must are gremlin terms that dampen the spirit of experimentation. Instead, simply change for a change. Play around. As you become aware of an outdated concept or an old habitual behavior, consider playing with changing the behavior.” — Richard Carson
So, accept the way you are right now, be okay with it and then get out of your cushy little comfort zone and get to work.