As 2016 draws to a close, we will be bombarded in every media channel by retrospectives of 2016. In fact, they’ve already started and there are more appearing every day. These musical montages are designed to manipulate our sense of nostalgia, causing us to look in the mirror at the 365 days behind us and reflect on how we fit into the events of the year.
Instead of simply getting swept up in the nostalgia of “the year that was,” I urge you to examine how you responded to the challenges you faced, look for the lessons in your failures, and find inspirations in your successes as you look forward to “the year that will be.”
I also urge you to rethink your New Year’s Resolutions—not what they are, but how you approach them.
- First, I suggest that you seize this opportunity to take stock of your “Past Year’s Revelations.” What did you learn in 2016? Did you make any 2016 resolutions? How did you fare in meeting them? Why did you succeed or fail? How can those insights strengthen your resolve in 2017, and act as a springboard for being a better person and living a better life in the year to come?
- Second, I suggest that you replace your New Year’s Resolutions with “New Year’s Challenges.” There is an inherent flaw in resolutions—they foster a pass/fail mentality, and every failure makes it seem like the goal is farther and farther away. If you instead give yourself New Year’s Challenges, failures do not become setbacks, but instead are steps and plateaus as you strive to live up to the challenges you have set for yourself throughout the entire year to come.
- Finally, design those stairs! If the challenge is something to be risen to, and setbacks are simply plateaus, then a staircase will help you reach those challenges.
Start with a single step, no matter how small. It may be trite, but it’s true—even the longest (or highest) journey starts with a single step. Small steps quickly add up to big successes.
Don’t be afraid to stumble every once in a while. Nobody’s perfect. Everybody stumbles. Steady footing comes from practice and confidence. Even if you’re feeling super-confident, be careful about taking too many steps at once.
Change one behavior at a time, and let each changed behavior give you greater upward momentum.
It’s okay to accept, and ask for, help! Sharing your struggles with those facing similar challenges makes the journey less intimidating.
No one is saying that the new year won’t be daunting, but there’s a staircase leading to success. You just have to decide where it’s going, and what it’s going to look like!