New Year, New You

It’s that time of year. The 1st of January. A significant time of the year, not only because it’s the first day of the new year, it’s also one you have been waiting for for the last week, or month, or even few months depending on how badly your year is going and when you consider it a write-off. It’s the next significant milestone in the calendar for you. But, why is it so important to people and why is there so much stock put into one day on the calendar year when there is no cultural, religious or political event that takes place on this day? It’s so important to people because it’s the day they change their life.

This is the day when they are finally going to get in the mood to change, the stars will align on this day, a week from now, 2 weeks from now, or 3 months from now, is finally going to be the day they decide to change. But why so far off? Why wait to change. You’re the only person in your life who can a) inspire change in yourself and b) Take action to follow through. You’re the only person in your life who can control what you do. 

Change isn’t easy. If it was, we would all be doing it.

It’s a mindset. Being able to establish and build habits to do something takes time. It’s not a switch you can just flip. The only switch you can flip is the decision to turn up, no matter how hard it gets. Make it become a reflex. Think of it as ‘this is something that I do’, not something you have to do. There are 2 approaches to successfully building a habit and sticking with something;

  • Find something you enjoy doing
  • Make it part of your life

When your fit something into your life by allocating a dedicated time for it, you embody it. It becomes your life, something people associate with you. Through doing it regularly at a specific and dedicated time, it becomes a habit. This only works when the first two practices work in conjunction. What you enjoy doing will find it’s way into your life easier. Likewise, you wouldn’t make something part of your life and spend so much time on it if you don’t enjoy doing it.

When the two are working in conjunction and you have found something you enjoy doing, the key component to marrying the two practices is a goal. A goal unites the two ideas and gives you a cause to work towards. Without a goal, you strive towards nothing. There is no end in site. With no end in site, you can quickly lose focus give up entirely. For the idea of being trapped with no progress is worse than constantly spinning the wheels, burning energy on something that your not getting better at, or feeling closer to the end.

You start in the gym to lose weight. But what happens when you don’t see the lost weight? You take up cycling so you can take part in a race. But what happens when you aren’t tracking your time or distance? You take up the piano to learn a new instrument. But what happens when you can’t play a popular song? These are all common goals that are set in each of these fields when first taking up the hobby.

Doing something wayward and without clearly defined goals is a surefire way to give up without remorse. Goals offer recourse, a sense of direction, something to aim for, and accountability.

New year resolutions are easy, that’s why everyone does them.

Even the most well-intentioned changes via resolutions are well and truly faded over in the first week of the new year. The over indulgence over Christmas, the ‘end of year’ mentality. The start of a new year, the idea of being a fresh year, to erase the past, to start over, take-it-from-the-top, let’s get off to the best possible start and change what was wrong about me last year. It’s the time of the year when you reflect on the year and what went right and what went wrong. We strive to improve ourselves all the time in life. It’s one of our better traits as human beings. It’s empowering to improve and get better. improving our health and way of living.

How To Change

What you should do is plan. Like when I mentioned before about planning your next day the night before. You should plan your next year a week in advance (or even a month. Granted a hard thing to do what with the hectic nature of the end of year rush, day-jobs tying up loose ends, the build up for Christmas, and the numerous social events over Christmas). When you plan what you want to do in the next year, it gives you clarity in the rest of your life and a goal to aim for. You can take it month to month, and then week to week, breaking down the key moments and parts that comprise the larger goal.

Instead of resolutions, set goals. Create a list of things you want to achieve over the course of a year, and then plan these out. This way you won’t become pressured to follow everyone else who is doing the same thing (a bad way to life your life). Resolutions don’t work because when everyone starts something at the same time, it’s easy to compare your progress to someone else’s, regardless of the hobby, or task etc. If you not used to change or simply beginning to change your mindset and are insecure about your new ‘resolution’, then you’re an easy target for a defeatist mindset and to then give up. Humans naturals compare themselves to others. What you have to do is learn to understand the differences between you and another human being and their situation or circumstance. Learn to be your own person with your own goals, values, and circumstances.

If something isn’t hard then it’s not worth doing.

Whatever your list may be; maybe you want to travel more, take up a couple of new hobbies, learn an instrument, start writing, change profession, change your lifestyle. It all starts with the two practices; Find something you enjoy doing. Make it part of your life.

If you’re looking for a more detailed insight into creating and sticking to long-term goals, I’ve written about it before, here – #37.

As a bonus here is a task list to help get you off to the best start of the year;

  • Start a social media account – We all have one, I know. What I mean is: start an account dedicated to the thing you love. Share your feelings with it, your ideas on it, be yourself with it and show others how much you care for it, either anonymously, or as yourself. The key is to only post about this topic. You have to curate this account. It builds public accountability, makes you report back to people that you have made promises to, makes you stick to your word. People get invested in these things. They want to hear the stories of others, the highs, the lows, the triumphs. People love stories.
  • Find a community – A place where people share the same interest and goals as you, somewhere people are going to help you thrive and succeed. Join this community. Share your problems. Pay into it. People don’t pay to be trolls. Paying is a filter that blocks out those who aren’t serious about what they do. I recommend the Seanwes Community.
  • Cull your friends – I get a lot of flack for this subject, but it works (and incredibly well). Let this post do the talking – #08.
  • Travel more – Go to more places that you have never seen before.
  • Keep a diary – Yes, a daily diary. One you write in, physically. I started keeping one in 2016 and it was one of the best decisions I made that year. The ability to look back at the things you did that day is incredible, it allows you to charter your progress and see where you had fun, made changes in your life, improved yourself, and shows what you learned.
  • Take more action – You’re the only person who controls you. You decide what action to take and what not to take. Take more action. Spend less time pondering. Schedule time for thinking and pondering. If in a difficult situation or crossroad, ask yourself, “What would [your hero] do?”.
  • Remove distractions – Turn your phone off at night. Buy an alarm clock. Spend less time on your phone. Spend less time consuming social media. Spend more time doing the work that matters to you.
  • Meet more people – Spend more time dedicated to meeting new people. You’re going to meet bad people but spend more time around good people. Different scenarios and situations put into perspective your life and help boost and improve your own values. Make deeper connections with people you like. Ask the girl out. Have difficult conversations with your partner, and your best friends.