“The future is always beginning in the next moment”
As January rolls around each year, we’re bombarded with new ideas for the new year ahead. Online ads and glossy magazines are filled with “New Year, New ____” (fill in the blank with just about anything you can think of!) headlines, and there’s a general attitude of “now is the time” to make big changes. But, why now? Is January really any different to any other month of the year? And, what will it take to make any of the changes made now, lasting changes?
What Do You Want in the Year Ahead?
New Year resolutions are often made, but how many are kept? If resolutions are something you make each year, take a moment to consider how many of them tend to remain in place beyond the end of February. In other words, how many of your New Year resolutions have you actually achieved?
To be resolute means to be determined and unwavering, so a New Year resolution must be something you’re determined to see through, and something you have an unwavering commitment to achieving. As the saying goes, it’s always easier to do the things you want to do, rather than the things you feel you have to do, or should do, so identifying what you really want in the year ahead is an important step towards achieving it. There’s a big difference between setting yourself a goal that you’re determined to achieve and just thinking up a list of things that seem like a nice idea at the time. Unless you’re resolute in the true sense of the word, you’re more than likely to give up at the first hurdle you encounter along the road.
Letting Go of Last Year
Want to do is infinitely more positive than have to do or should do, but something else that holds phenomenal power is the ability to let go. Until you let go of everything negative that’s still hanging around from last year, you’re not in a position to move forwards and achieve what you want. Negative thinking can only ever hold you back, keeping you stuck where you are. If where you are is not where you want to be, you need to move. To move, you need to change the way you think.
Whatever it is that didn’t go the way you planned last year, you need to let it go. Maybe you wanted to lose weight and get in shape, and you didn’t; maybe you wanted to change jobs or set up your own business, and you didn’t; maybe you wanted to declutter your home and get your living environment organised, and you didn’t; maybe you wanted to save a certain amount of money for a specific purpose, and you didn’t; and maybe there was a special event or a special trip planned, and it couldn’t happen because of covid… you get the idea. If you’re still holding on to thoughts of what didn’t go to plan or what didn’t happen for you, dwelling on them will only keep you stuck in that negative place.
Look Forward, Not Back
Last year is now gone, it’s in the past, and no amount of regretful or “if only” thinking can change anything that did or didn’t happen. You can’t change what’s in the past, but you can influence what happens in the future. Holding on to last year’s negativity keeps you stuck there, letting it go let’s you take what you’ve learned from the experience and move on.
When you think negatively, you act negatively, and negative behaviours lead to negative outcomes. Switch your thoughts away from what is now behind you and can no longer be changed and focus them on what you want to achieve and can change with a positive attitude. What you focus on, you give energy to, so achieving what you want in the year ahead comes down to not wasting energy on what hasn’t happened in the year that’s now past. Letting go is allowing yourself to focus on the positive things that could still happen if you take positive action today, tomorrow, and the next day… each new day of the new year ahead is another chance to become who you want to be and do what you want to do.
Remember, to be resolute means to be determined: determination takes energy, so put all your energy into positive thoughts and actions. Thinking positively isn’t looking at life through rose-tinted glasses, it’s having the self-motivation to learn from every experience and to do what it takes to find another way when things haven’t gone to plan. In short, if you’re allowing negative thinking to hold you back, you’re getting in your own way of becoming the best you can be.
Don MacNaughton is a High-Performance Coach and runs coaching programmes for ambitious individuals email donald@zonedinperformance for the latest spaces available