Reflections for the New Year
The beginning of a new year is a time of hope and enthusiasm. Even if you’re wrapping up a challenging year like I am, it’s natural to entertain the possibility of something better. It’s common to start the year with several lofty resolutions. After all, it’s exciting to contemplate a life with more money, more love, and more joy. A Paris vacation sounds nice, too!
Sadly, few resolutions are ever realized. Health clubs are packed with new members for a couple of weeks. Half of those new members are never seen again after two weeks, and 95% are gone within a month.
We quickly forget our resolutions.
This year can be different! A systematic approach can make all the difference.
If you’ve failed to make meaningful changes to your life, you’re in luck! In this series, I’m going to share a process that’s guaranteed to work if you’re diligent. Where will you start?
Evaluating Your Life
A very famous golf coach once said that it’s impossible to create a good golf swing without evaluating a client’s current situation. Likewise, how will you know where to go if you don’t know where you are? It’s nearly impossible to develop an intelligent and effective plan of attack without evaluating your current situation.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”
– Neil Gaiman
Determine the Low-Rated Areas of Your Life
It’s the deficiencies in your life that limit your happiness. Think about it…you’re not unhappy because:
- You live in a 3-bedroom ranch instead of a 7,000 square foot mansion.
- You’re not married to a supermodel.
- You don’t own a $200-pair of shoes.
- You drive a Honda Civic instead of Mercedes.
- You don’t have a million dollars in the bank.
- You don’t have the body of a Greek God or Goddess.
- You only have five friends instead of 20.
You can certainly be unhappy because:
- You live in an unsafe part of town.
- You’re alone and lonely.
- You can’t afford appropriate clothing for yourself or your children.
- You drive a car that might not survive the drive to work.
- You don’t have enough in savings to cover any emergencies.
That’s not to say you can’t make any part of your life spectacular. However, dealing with the most challenging aspects of your life first will result in the greatest return on your time. Focus on these low-rated parts of your life first to get the most out of your efforts.
Think about it…finding a few friends can do more to enhance your life than buying a sailboat if your social life disappoints you.
I’m going to share a soulful and systematic 3-step process to help you determine the parts of your life that would make the biggest difference for you if you were to change them.
Today we’ll be covering steps 1 and 2.
Step 1: Think about your average day and record your thoughts. A few examples might include:
- “My alarm is going off, and I can’t stand the thought of getting out of bed.”
- “I’m afraid I won’t make it to work because I can’t afford gas until I get paid.”
- “I have to sit alone at night because I don’t have anyone to spend time with.”
- “I only have two pairs of pants that fit because I’ve gained so much weight.”
- “I hate my job.”
- “I wish I could go back to school.”
- “I’m tired of arguing with my girlfriend/boyfriend.”
Step 2: Complete this exercise on a weekday, a weekend day, and a holiday. Try to cover all the bases. Your dissatisfactions during the week might be different that those you face on the weekend.
I know this takes some time and commitment, but it’s so worth it.
You can record your insights on the app on your phone or in a notebook.
Remember, try to cover all your bases. Notice how your thoughts differ during the week vs. the weekend.
Here are some questions to consider as you move throughout your day:
- How do you feel when you wake up?
- What are you excited about?
- What worries are on your mind?
- Are you feeling overwhelmed or stressed?
- What brings you joy?
- How are your energy levels?
- How easily do you fall/stay asleep?
- How do you feel when you go to bed at night?