2019 is upon us. There’s something inherent in the idea of a new year that seems to bring a longing to be something more than we are out in most of us. The fact that this wellspring of desire for growth is so ubiquitous leads me to think that there’s more to it than mere lip service.
There exists within each of us seeds of greatness, whether or not they will germinate and the vigor of their growth remains in our hands. If we continually fail to feed the soil, to mismanage the water, and to salt the earth, we can expect the seeds to wither and fail to grow.
If we have motivation, we can see the seeds germinate, and rejoice at the appearance of the seedlings, but without discipline, we’ll fail to keep the seedlings alive, and they will wither and die.
If we’ve motivation and discipline, we can see the seedlings grow into saplings, but without direction they will grow stunted and disfigured, because we won’t guide them to reach for the light.
If we put all three together (motivation, discipline and direction), then we can sprout the seeds of greatness, we can guide them safely through their infancy, and see them grow to be tall and straight trees in a forest of greatness.
Each new year delivers to us a fresh crop of seeds, and the care and dedication we attend to them with determines what new life will grow within us.
This is the seed (yes, intended) of the New Year’s Resolution phenomenon. It is the recognition of cycles, and the opportunities that come with the completion of one and the emergence of another, that drive so many to make promises to themselves about their future.
Problem is, as so many have noted before, there is little correlation between the promises you make in January and the actions you take during the course of the year. This is not a healthy cycle.
Because deception starts within, but it does not stay there, and it begins to infect every facet of your life. Not only that, but when you fail to meet the standards you set for yourself, your self-worth plummets. This can lead to a cascade of destruction, of yourself and otherwise.
This is nothing you want, because if your mistakes and broken promises are hard to bear now, imagine how difficult it will be to face them after they’ve multiplied and intensified. This is the reason so few make it out of the addiction to living in the pit of despair.
At least in the pit, you’re surrounded by suffering, and this familiarity allows you a certain measure of comfort. Plus, if you descend deep enough into the pit, you can’t see the light anymore, and it’s easier to tell yourself that it doesn’t exist.
I would suggest that this failure to act in a manner in line with the dreams of the new year is in large part due to a lack of effective planning. It is not enough to write down a few things you’d like to be better at, and leave it at that. You must be more detailed.
In that light, here’s an advanced New Year’s Resolution exercise for you.
New Years Resolutions +++:
- Write down 5-10 tasks. TASKS. Not some ineffable concept or generalized category of life, but actual things that you can DO. There should be short-mid-long term tasks on there. You don’t want to burn out by loading up the front end of the year, and you don’t want to procrastinate and pretend you’ll start later. Pick one to start on today, and spread the rest out across the year.
- Chunk them out. This means breaking each task down into smaller steps, that you can accomplish in one day. If you’ve a schedule in mind (which you often should), then break your task down into the amount of days you want to have it done in, minus 10-15% Why the cutback? Because you’ll likely run into unforeseen events, and you’ll need the extra time to meet your own deadlines.
- Start today, and keep in mind that all you’re doing each day is accomplishing that day’s chunks. It’s cool to keep your dream in mind, but don’t let the magnitude of the goal overwhelm you. If you continue to make progress towards a certain task, then you WILL eventually reach it. This is an imperative.
That’s it. A simple plan of attack, with easily measured metrics, and a sound strategy for accomplishing your mission. All that remains is for you to soldier on, but that becomes much easier when you have direction. Remember the seeds, they need to know what to grow towards.
You’ve already got the motivation, else you wouldn’t be interested in the resolutions in the first place. All that remains is the discipline.
So, what is discipline?
It is guiding your actions towards your chosen goals, and within your chosen principles, regardless of the circumstances. Keep in mind, nobody has perfect discipline. This is a hopeful message, because this means that everybody has room to improve their discipline.
If you fall, get back up. If you fail, try again. This is the only way to grow. Yes, life is hard. Yes, it will spin you and flip you and batter you.
So what? What are you going to do about it?
Feel sorry for yourself and wallow in self-pity is an option. But not an acceptable one, and if you’re doing this now, you must stop. You’ll destroy yourself and your relationships with all you love if you continue that way.
What you must do is stand up, face the destructive forces in your life with lifted chin and straight back, then laugh. Laugh at your mortality, then carry on. This is all you can do, and anything less than your all will disturb and perturb your self-worth. We’ve talked about what that can do.
Don’t do that.
Give your all every day, chunk out your goals, and get after them. If you do this, in less time than you might think, your life will look very different than it does today. And much better.
Remember, the destructive habits that you engage in have obvious consequences. If you apply the same habitual and methodical behavior to your constructive actions as you do to your negative ones, the consequences will be just as obvious.
In closing, simply this:
I believe in you, you can do this, and you’ve no reason not to.
Chance Lunceford – Logocentrifugal