I have to confess something. Actually, I have to confess two things.
One, I’ve never stuck to a New Years resolution. Two, I’ve never actually made a New Years resolution. When I was younger I used to think I was just forgetful or I didn’t care. Now I realize, there’s much more to it. There’s a fundamental reason why new year’s resolutions don’t work, never have, and never will.
Priorities change – fast.
When we set out to make a goal we always start with good intentions, but life gets in the way and we don’t just forget, we inadvertently take that resolution off our priority list. We react to our external circumstances. We don’t follow through simply because we give our attention and time to other things.
Guess what? This is totally normal. Down to our human instinct level natural.
It’s totally natural to change your mind… All. The. Time. I actually recommend it. You now have an excuse for giving up on your new year’s resolution.
But let me be clear. Your decision to change your priority list around must be a conscious one. Your intention is everything. That said, we are adaptable creatures. We’re meant to evolve and change our minds as we gain new perspectives and grow. This is how we’ve become the leading lifeform on Earth.
- How will you lead your life into this next year while keeping your values at the forefront of your actions?
- How will you create goals that hold you accountable for true growth and success in 2019?
- How will you step into your best self every day while always realigning to keep the big picture in focus?
- Do you have a big picture to even focus on? How do you know it’s the right one?
In this age of accelerations, each year seems to bring vastly different experiences than we expect. Every passing milestone becoming less comparable, less relatable than the one before. We are constantly transforming, altering our routines, trying new things, consuming crap constantly, forever in the flux of fast-paced societies forcing the future upon us while we lose sight of what’s here and now.
This is why it’s up to us as individuals and us as a collective community to prioritize what truly matters most.
And to know what that is, we must take the time to consciously re-evaluate what we do and how we do it, by focusing on why we do things. What drives us, what fuels our true passions. We have to realign ourselves as we evolve and expand our awareness.
I’m not motivated to tell you how to make a goal or resolution and stick to it. I’m inspired to share these ideas because you, me, and everyone who can read this, is in desperate need of a radically new framework that will help us re-evaluate life at any given moment.
Skip the goal setting (for now) and start re-evaluating your year by focusing on these three aspects of life, first. With these checkpoints as your framework for planning you’ll have more clarity not just for 2019, but for creating a long-term vision of what true success looks like to you.
Three aspects of life everyone should re-evaluate as you plan for the new year.
First, measure your small successes. Then measure everything else.
2018 has definitely had it’s extreme ups and downs for many of us. But isn’t that always true, every year, in some perspective? Instead of focusing on the extreme wins and loses you’ve had in 2018, try taking a closer look at your actual small successes first. That is the ones we don’t realize are successes at all.
Quite often our minds are quick to create a summarized story of our past year that’s full of extreme experiences – good or bad. This is because our memories are tied to the emotional effects each experience has on us. The stronger the emotional effect, the more likely your mind holds on to it as a memory. The more likely that memory plays a major role in your overall story.
Different wins and loses cause different emotional outcomes and the ones we tend to hold on to don’t always add up to our actual truths. When we take the time to examine exactly what brought us to those successful moments, we can create a better roadmap for future ones to come.
In other words, we must see our losses as what they truly are – Learning lessons.
We must reframe our negative outcomes and create a story that’s more true to our reality. When I look back on my past year, I can see so many great wins. But I can also remember so many loses too. So many times I tried to make a project work, write a story or bring an idea to life. So many times it felt right, there was no forcing it, it seemed to work, but then… as much as I tried, it just didn’t turn out the way I’d planned.
I had been sure it was right at the time, but it wasn’t. But instead of chalking it up to a failed experience that ruined my plan or cost me money or wasted my time I can reframe the situation, see it as a lessoned learned, and link it to the infinite possibilities life has, can, and will offer me.
When I think about the story my mind created and reframe it as a lesson, I can start to imagine how those experiences led me down a different path than I’d originally planned. But this unexpected path was altogether much better, simply because I was aware of the lesson learned. These little moments create huge impacts on all aspects of our lives, as long as we let them.
We tend to identify success with physical achievements. But more often success isn’t a physical gain at all. That is unless we put a label on it. I’m asking you to remove all labels.
Instead, define success by the clarifying action that led to your successful outcome.
I went to the Blue Ridge Mountains a few months back as a “vacation”. I had all these goals of things I would do, what I would capture, and the stories I would create. I had expectations…
As usual, unplanned plans created a wonderful experience full of adventures on the parkway, but I didn’t come home ready to roll out a new notebook and hammer down brilliant ideas. Actually, I almost nothing related to work at all in those four days. So when the writer’s block set in, and it was time to get back to work anyway, I could have created a whole stressful story around why I didn’t do the right thing. Or how I failed at an opportunity and didn’t follow through on my goals. I could label all the things I did wrong.
We should all over ourselves… and we really shouldn’t.
You should have captured this kind of shot…
You should have written more while you were there…
You should have tried to do this… you should… should…
No! Instead, let’s look at the reality and consider the small successes this trip gave me.
My mind found peace and quiet in the mountains, for the first time in a while. Not just relaxation. Actual, peace and quiet. Ya. Do you remember what that feels like?
- I felt like a kid again playing with my camera instead of rattling off shot lists and exact images I had to capture.
- I lost track of time only to find it when the light began to fade or a new day dawned.
- I found stillness. Naturally. Unknowingly. I stopped the voices from taking over… for a little while anyway!
What did all that lead too?
Photographs I never imagined I could create before. Conversations I wouldn’t dare feel confident in before. New bigger and better ideas than before. Direction and clarity like never before. Not just because I ran away to the mountains. But because I allowed myself to reframe the experiences altogether.
When you look at each of your successes individually, no matter how big or small, they always follow a learned lesson (or two). The point of re-evaluating your past year is to give you a clear path for the year to come. When we reflect on our past year according to wins and losses, our story can become detrimental to our overall goals.
To gain real clarity for the new year, we must reframe our past experiences and identify our fails as learning lessons that connect to our successes. By reframing our story when we reflect we can begin to alter our perspective and create a clearer picture for the year to come.
Reflect on your interdependence of others and find gratitude.
We are becoming more and more interconnected to everyone, not just those closest to us, or those we personally rely on, but to every human being on Earth. No matter what kind of life you lead, every action you take has a direct impact on millions of lives around the planet. We all know this. But have we taken the time to reflect on it personally?
This may be a serious pain point for many. I know it has been for me. Taking a closer look at how and why I make the choices I make, isn’t always easy. It’s hard to examine things we’ve done “wrong”. It’s hard to honestly look at how we live our lives, especially in 21st century America. But if we can see our interdependence we can humbly open our minds to new ways of creating success in our future.
I used to consider efficiency and convenience reasons to prioritize things in my life. I used to be fueled by “getting things done” and “being busy”. Checking things off felt like a step towards success.
But I was completely unaware of how interdependent I was on the unclear plan I had laid out in front of me. In a sense, I was just going with the motions. Doing what seemed right. Following a plan of action based on the rules of what was reflected in my outer world. I was relying on people, places, situations, and ideas that seemed to be a part of my story but weren’t truly serving me.
We all make decisions because of convenience or efficiency. Both are ideals conditioned in us by the free marketplace fueling capitalism in the first place. Hence, we become short-sighted and driven by subconscious greedy habits that aren’t aligned with our truest desires. We choose quick fast fixes, one right after the other. Never taking the time to step back and look at the whole picture.
Reflecting on my choices in business and in life (good and bad) has become a source of inspiration and unexpected growth for me. Yes, it’s scary to look at your mistakes and consider how you could have made different choices. It’s not easy to say, Hey – I screwed up. Or I see how I could have done things differently.
One of the hardest things in the world for us humans to do is, to be honest about our independence. Because the truth is – we are extremely interdependent creatures. We need each other. We need support and love. Not only to survive but to thrive. Simply by becoming aware of this truth is a huge step towards a more conscious understanding of your decision-making process.
Now after years of fighting to do it “my way”, I am reflecting on my choices in a whole new way. I am constantly trying to take time to reflect on how I am connected to everything and everyone, with all of my choices, especially my buying choices.
From food and household purchases to business expenses, and investments, I am constantly re-evaluating the 5 W’s of my purchasing power.
Who. What. When. Where. Why… am I making this choice?
- Who am I buying this from?
- What am I buying this from?
- When am I buying it and why?
- Where am I buying it from?
- Why am I buying it?
- What will I do with it when I am done?
BONUS: How is this going to make my life better and everyone’s life connect to it?
The idea of analyzing this may seem daunting at first. Because it is.
We should feel this weight. But quickly you see the power you have to make small changes and the challenge becomes a lot of fun, especially when you turn it into a game. I encourage you to try it. Go ahead, screenshot those questions and the next time you pull out your wallet or click to buy on Amazon, take a minute to pause.
Ask yourself any one of these questions and watch your pre-conditioned mind race through a zillion defensive excuses as to why you NEED that thing right now. Then, buy it or don’t. Just know you’re now making that decision from a more conscious place.
When we expand our awareness of life’s fragile balance and our interdependence of each other becomes a leading force and you’ll never make choices the same way again. You may also start to see through your own story within your story. That is, you may start to become more honest with yourself as you begin to identify your true values.
Be honest about your honesty. Accept, allow, and adapt.
There’s something funny going on in the world right now. There are a few unexpected shifts in more than just the marketplace. People are started to shed their false identities. But is it really that surprising? I’m starting to realize that (especially in this day and age) everyone knows about the same as everyone else – absolutely nothing.
Let’s be honest about that first. We don’t know what we want and we’re constantly changing our minds.
If we can open up and be truthful to ourselves we can confidently be truthful in life. Now more than ever, transparency has incredible value in business and in our personal lives. We want to feel connected and when we do it’s hard to hold on too. Therefore false identities are starting to fly out the window as we adapt to a new reality.
We have to accept the fact that we are evolving into a single global community of ever-changing, ever-transparent, and ever-connected smaller communities. And we don’t have a rulebook for what’s to come in our very near future. We’ve already seen multitudes of proof that our systems aren’t working they way they were promised to work.
In almost every industry, foundations are crumbling and new models are being built. What was once a proud defining identity is now seen as a label or segregation from reality. Those who can’t get behind this new reality will not succeed in 2019 let alone in years to come.
If we are going to find success in our future, we have to get real about our present. We have to be open to seeing ourselves and the world around us, not just differently, but in a way that’s never been done before. And we have to be okay with that. We have to allow our past to be what it is and move on, with it still back there. There’s no denying it. There’s no sweeping it under the rug.
If we’re going to succeed at all, we have to honestly admit that we will probably always be beginners from here on out. Lifelong learning is inevitable for lifelong success. That’s true no matter what your goals are.
Life isn’t what it used to be. And it never will be again. Our cultural differences used to define us, separate us, give us our reasons to climb higher on the ladder of success. Not anymore. Rather, our diversity is exactly what unites us. Through transparency and open collaboration, our unique, creative geniuses will skyrocket all of our individual success, as long as we are honest with ourselves, first.
We have to come clean with ourselves, and who we truly want to be. And we have to know that this story will constantly change. Accepting ourselves in this way gives us the space to take a closer look at how we will connect and collaborate with others.
As you reflect, give yourself actual time to allow your memories, your thoughts, your ideas, to just come and go. Don’t attach to them. Don’t worry about them. Just watch them arise and then smile at them as you wave goodbye. Don’t attach to them. Don’t run down the rabbit hole of what ifs. Let the mud settle and clear your mind of stories that don’t truly serve you.
See your stories separate from yourself. You are not your stories.
Your stories are simply a reality of that given moment in time. But remember time doesn’t exist. We created it. We can alter our idea of our time here any TIME we want.
When I think about who I was in January of 2018 compared to who I am today, I can’t even begin to tell you how much my life has changed, thanks to my students, my clients, my family, my friends, and all those who have shared their stories with me. I have come so much further than I thought.
Yet I’m on a path I never knew existed a year ago. This is how I know I will always succeed. We set goals yes. But we shouldn’t attach our stories to their outcome. Instead, we use them as guidelines to creatively and confidently make new and better choices along this journey called life. Don’t measure your achievements in life’s situations to gauge true success. Measure your excitement for life itself.
I’m so freakin’ excited for 2019 I can’t even contain myself! I’m also scared, worried, and wonder if I’ll ever get it right. But that’s not my full story. I’m re-evaluating not just what goals I set and how I achieve them. I’m re-evaluating why I’m setting my goals in the first place. With these three aspects of life at the forefront of my mind, I can step into 2019 with a bit more clarity and confidence even with all those fears by my side. Because I know more incredible things are in store for us. For you, for me, for everyone.
2019 is eagerly waiting for us all to step into our best selves.
But we have to be willing to show up. Every. Single. Day. We have to be willing to reframe our negative stories and be honest with ourselves. We have to take the time to step back and align with our core values. This is how we will fearlessly discover our true story and succeed year after year. And if we can consider these three aspects of life with a little more care and love, we can proudly step into the new year with confidence and courage.
I’m ready. Are you?
Here’s what you can do right now to reframe your story and begin defining clear goals for yourself for the new year.
Take five minutes now to jot down your thoughts as these tips relate to you. As you review and reflect on this past year and ask yourself these honest questions and allow whatever comes up, to come up. Then take a wild guess at what my only New Years Resolution is going to be.
Have you tried to set resolutions in the past that didn’t work? I’d love to hear your thought-provoking ideas! Comment below and let us know what you think. I’m always open to new ideas, practical tips, and creative concepts that allow us to see life through a new lens. So please share.
Now, I dare you to share these radical ideas with someone who swears by New Year’s Resolutions. I’m curious to see what their thoughts are too. You can share this post by clicking the button below or just skip talking about resolutions at the dinner table this holiday season and give these three conversation starters a try instead!