It’s that time of the year again. People are taking down their Christmas lights, investing in a decent planner, and envisioning the changes they want to create in their lives. This year has been a particularly different type of new year. We are ending an unexpectedly difficult 2020 and hoping to embrace a much kinder 2021.
New Year’s is one of my favorite parts of the year because I am a fan of personal development. I love the idea of looking at the larger goals I have for my life and making a plan to execute on these goals. Unfortunately, I’ve learned each year that the momentum of the new year can quickly fade. And if I don’t accept that there will be obstacles and plan for how I will face them, I will find myself feeling sorry for myself and disappointed that I slipped up again. It doesn’t have to be this way, but I am particularly hard on myself when things don’t go well.
Over time I’ve learned how important it is for me to reframe my thinking in order to help myself through these challenges. I try to let go of the “results” that motivate me to create change in my life and focus more on the “process” of change. For example, instead of focusing on getting the six pack abs and beach body, I have to focus on exercising 5 days a week. If I can shift my attention from the long-term results to the short-term actions, I can maintain change longer. Because in reality, I can work out 5 days a week for 1 month and not see the progress I want and feel completely deflated. But if I remember that it’s about the small actions I take daily, I know that if I keep going with this goal I will eventually get there.
Change is difficult, regardless of if you are embarking on change alone you or are you are doing it by going to therapy, getting a coach, buying an online self-help program, etc. If you are making a commitment to change, remember to recommit to your decision often. Track your motivation through journaling so you can catch it when its wavering. Most importantly remember that if you do slip, you can always pick it back up again. Like Jay Z said ‘you gotta get that dirt off your shoulder’, get back up and try again.