It’s that time of year again — when the seasonal decor is all but packed away, NYE confetti can be found behind throw pillows and between couch cushions, and dead Christmas trees line the sidewalk of New York like some sort of Holiday cemetery.
It’s around this time when most of us take time to reflect on the year that was and contemplate the year ahead. We’ve been given the gift of an automatic fresh start, now how do we make the most of it?
After speaking with a few friends this week, we laughed a bit about how differently we all approach the concept of New Year’s Resolutions. Some are sticklers for S.M.A.R.T. goals, others hold fast to a single “word of the year” as their true north, while others abstain altogether — whether by dereliction or by conviction that resolutions are unnecessary.
Sometimes the problem with our fresh starts is that we aim solely with the end (or goal) in mind, when, in fact, most of us have no idea how to how to even get there. Then when we make the goal, others (or perhaps our own past shortcomings) are there to remind us that we probably won’t reach them — and as a result, they’re too unrealistic. And when we do inevitably fail to reach our goals, shame fills the tank once reserved for that “New Year, New Me” fuel we had obtained not-so-long-ago.
What we’re getting at is this: not reaching a goal is a natural part of the human experience.
Trying and failing course-corrects our paths.
Attempting and missing teaches us what it takes to keep going.
Reaching and falling short informs our current limitations and future potential.
Starting and deciding not to finish narrows our focus to what we truly love.
This year, whether your focus be a word, or a singular goal, or a spreadsheet full of ambitions, consider the process of failing. Nearly any successful person you openly or subconsciously admire would probably tell you their achievement was built on the back of attempts, failures, and course corrections (in some form or another, on repeat).
If you’re already feeling overwhelmed, just take a small step today. Go for a 5 minute walk (set a timer, and stop the second it’s over). Pick up the paint brush, and just get something, anything on the canvas. Call that friend and just make small talk while you run errands. Go to LinkedIn, and just apply for one job that only requires your profile in order to apply.
If you do one small, seemingly insignificant/easy step each day, the results will astound you.
As silly as it sounds, this is the process. Showing up and trying, even barely, every day. We assume we need motivation to start, or a grand plan in place, when often the motivation and planning flows from the action itself. If only we can muster up the strength to begin, we’ll find that out!
In the end, with enough repetition, you still might not meet your goals by 2025, but is that really the point anyways? So many of our goals simply act as starters to get us moving, while the attempts to reach them are what actually inform our next steps and ultimate destination.
Even if there’s no tangible, finished product you can point to at the end of the year, knowing you took steps will lead you somewhere you’re glad to be!
So Happy New Year! Let’s all get to failing, together!