Everyone is talking about New Year’s Resolutions—either embracing them, making them, or rejecting them outright. All over social media, I’ve been reading about why this can be my best year yet…how to set achievable goals…or why I’m better off not making any goals for the new year. Truth be told—I’m a skeptic and a little caught up in my head about this. Do I want to achieve great things this year? Of course, YES! Do I want to change some things about myself? For sure, YES! Do I want to set myself up for failure and disappointment? Heck NO! So what do I do? Goal-set or not?
This mental ping-pong game became all too real this week when I went to the gym on the day after New Year’s. The parking lot was packed and I had a work-out just getting into the fitness center from my car. Every weight machine was in-use, the track was packed, and I thankfully got the last elliptical. I looked around and wondered who was going to be here in two-weeks. Well, I can tell you that the next morning at 5AM, there were only 12 cars in the parking lot. An article from Psychology Today shares many reasons why people backslide and do not achieve their resolutions. One concept that stuck with me was the idea of “false hope syndrome”, reflecting a resolution that does not fit with the way a person truly views themselves at the deepest levels. Because you do not really believe about yourself in a way that is congruent with your resolution, you actual sabotage yourself and double down on the damage to any positive self-view. Essentially—you find yourself worse off than if you had not even made the resolution in the first place!
One of the antidotes to failed resolutions and worse-off places is to first change your mindset.
Behaviors flow from beliefs. So this year, I’m not making resolutions in the traditional sense. But I sure want to be resolute or someone marked by firm determination. I want to work on my mindset and strengthen those beliefs about myself that will power my actions for the years to come. So, I’ve themed each month with a focus rather than a specific goal. This month I’m focusing on discipline. For me, this amounts to developing daily rituals and habits to lay a foundation for success. In the past, I have believed myself to lack discipline in many areas of my life. But this month I am going to focus in on changing my mindset about myself in only this one area. Epictetus said, “No man is free who is not master of himself.” So, this month is going to be about me making conscious choices about my time, focus, and consumption.
Now it’s your turn! What do you really believe about yourself? Are you willing to dive in deep and ask yourself those scary questions? Instead of making some grandiose resolutions this calendar year, shift your focus with me to examining your mindset with a different theme each month. So here’s to the disciplined life!