Let’s talk about resolutions.
As I write this, we’re closing in on the last few days of 2015. It’s possible that many of you are making resolutions as you read this right now. Promises to yourself to read more, exercise more, love more; drink less, worry less, buy less.
And while I believe those intentions are (theoretically) a fantastic way to bring some ownership into your life, this year I’m feeling a bit like we need something… more.
Yes, resolutions can be helpful. Tiny commitments to yourself to get in shape or stay in touch with friends or keep things organized are all good and well. But do you know why the majority of people fall off the wagon? Because they don’t take the time to confront the mindsets that cause them to drop the ball on those things in the first place.
If you don’t take time to understand why you’re lacking in those areas to begin with, then resolutions are just like temporary band-aids. (And, as the great poet Taylor Swift has taught us, band-aids don’t fix bullet holes.)
Instead, I say we need revolutions, not resolutions.
Yep, we need to start a revolution in our own minds. And listen, I know, “revolution” sounds kind of extreme. But I use that word purposefully because it sounds abrupt and important and downright rebellious. That’s the kind of change that’s necessary to stick to something you’ve never stuck to in the past.
Think about it, a revolution marks the being of a new era, a different story, a divergence from what came before. If you’re in the boat of people that are looking for that, this could be your ticket.
No longer do I make resolutions, but instead, I look at the year ahead and ask myself what MAJOR (revolutionary) mindset shift could make the biggest impact for me.
In other words, I answer this two-part question:
- What do I want the MOST for my life right now?
- What story that I’m telling myself is holding me back from that?
Because if you find a way to flip just one destructive or fear-based script, all those tiny resolutions will pale in comparison to the revolution you can create for your own life over the course of a year.
Now, it might help to give you an example:
At the end of 2013, I found myself completely exhausted with one year of entrepreneurship under my belt. I felt like I was working all the time. I was constantly worried about what other people in my field were doing. And it was creating a major imbalance in the way I lived my life. (No exercise, my mind racing before bed, major anxiety.)
As 2014 approached, instead of resolving to “make more time for relaxation” or “work less on the weekends” etc, I knew there was an underlying mindset that had to be dealt with.
Using that trusty two-part question above, I realized that what I wanted MOST was a blend of life and business that allowed me to actually enjoy the perks of running my own business (as opposed to being enslaved by the never-ending list of to-dos.) I wanted a day-to-day that made time for art and hikes and mid-day movies and reading and fun as much as it made time for to-dos and answering emails.
Ultimately what I realized was holding me back from that was this story I kept telling myself that if I didn’t take advantage of every opportunity, the business would suffer and ultimately fail.
But, I had to ask myself, was that really true? If I stopped working 10-hour days would things fall apart? And did I really need to be a “six-figure business” like some of the other entrepreneurs I’d seen or could I be content making enough money to support my lifestyle and live as my happiest self? Suddenly I started investigating this story and realized that I had the power to take back control of how I run my business. It takes willpower and practice, but I no longer worry if I pass up an opportunity or if I leave revenue on the table or if someone else has their business on hyperdrive.
Throughout the entire year, when I found myself wanting to take a break or step away from my laptop but my inner guilt/anxiety was rearing its ugly head, I simply repeated to myself: “When you’re happy and refreshed, the business thrives.” And that’s the true story.
I can honestly say that was a completely revolutionary concept for me and it led to the happiest and most balanced year of my life. (The irony also being that because I was my happiest, most balanced self, I had more ideas and focus this year than I could have imagined, leading to six-figure business revenue anyway. ?That proves to me that I was right about the business thriving when I’m a balanced version of myself.)
So, now let me ask you, instead of setting resolutions for the new year, is there one major mindset shift that could change the game for you?
Try answering the two questions above and see what comes up.
In order to make lasting improvements in our daily lives, we have to continue to understand ourselves better and the things we tell ourselves. I hope this week’s letter helps you do just that in preparation for the new year!