The beginning of a new year often makes us re-assess. We look over everything that happened (or didn’t happen) over the previous 12 months, which often pushes us to want to make some changes because we wish that things were different.
These ‘things’ fall into two categories, those we can control and those we can’t.
If we feel that we can’t change the outcome of something (which incidentally is normally just a perception), we won’t even try but if we feel that we can change it, we probably will make the decision to make it happen. This is where new year resolutions come in but unfortunately in most cases, we won’t get the result that we want.
This is mainly because we often set ourselves extreme and unachievable goals… Therefore, we find it difficult quite quickly, start to struggle to keep up the momentum then get annoyed that nothing’s happening, then give up and return to the warmth and safety of our comfort zone. This is by the way no criticism, just the way it works for most human beings. The only problem is that before you know it, bang, another year is gone and as we start the process of reflection again, realise that nothing’s changed. Rinse and repeat. And again. Life passing us by…
There are essentially two things at play here and the first one is control.
We actually have more control than we often believe. We forget that everything we do comes from a decision we have made at some point in the past so if something isn’t working out, we basically need to make different decisions. Yes sometimes, life throws a few spanners in the works but on the whole, we have to take responsibility and accept that our lives reflect our choices. So if you want a different outcome, you need to change the choices you’re making.
The second issue, which is linked to the first one or sometimes derives from it, is that what we may identify as the problem is merely just a symptom of something deeper or that we haven’t learnt the lessons so keep on repeating themselves. This is often because we are not asking ourselves the right questions, purely because we assume that we know the answer.
So how do we solve this? Well it’s actually easier than you may think, because knowledge is power. All you have to do is to commit to take responsibility for your life and happiness, as well as being willing to do things differently. So what is that going to look like? How are you going to change this year and more importantly, where do you want to be this time next year?
Because yes, bad things happen (and trust me, it takes one to know one as I’ve had more than my fair share…) but what really matters is how you react to what you’re facing or the unsatisfactory situation you find yourself in. So, if you are feeling stuck in a pattern and trapped in a life you don’t want, you really have to ask yourself why. Especially if it doesn’t make you happy.
I recall a singles event I hosted years ago when I overheard someone say that the only reason why she was single was because the right man hadn’t come along. And the way she was going on about it, I felt sorry for the poor bloke who hadn’t even met her yet because it was all his fault! It’s difficult to accept at first but we have to take responsibility for the results that we get, even when we feel that we have no control. There is always another way if we are just willing to open our eyes and try something different instead of settling for what we know.
It is also ok to admit to ourselves that sometimes, we could do with a bit of help and direction in getting what we want. And other times, we can simply do it by ourselves. What matters is that we do something and tweak what isn’t working for us.
So, where do you want to be this time next year? And what are you going to do about it?