By Ron Price — I cannot recall ever welcoming a new year more than I do 2021. Somehow, I do not think I am alone in that regard. Someone recently said that 2020 will soon become a common expression in our culture to describe anything tense, unsettling, discouraging, frustrating, etc. I could go on, but please do not be surprised to hear in the coming weeks, months, and years something negative described as a “2020 thing.”
For many of us, 2020 was a nuisance and great inconvenience. It was, however, devastating for some of you, and my heart goes out to you if that is your case. Hopefully, this new year will be a vast improvement.
As with all trips around the sun, a new year inspires us to choose goals or different living ways. So, have you yet made your new year’s resolutions? As I write this, we are on day five, so I must also ask if you are still keeping those you made? I do not know the statistics, but the vast majority of us abandon our hopes and aspirations quicker than we like to admit.
While there are numerous reasons why this failure is so common among us, I want to focus on a couple of hints that might help you stay the course and accomplish what you decide is essential in your life.
My source for this post is Jon Acuff, a fabulous author who offers wise counsel in living life well. The first point I’ll share is what he calls “the day after perfect.” When you set out to bring about a change in your life, you are typically highly focused, motivated, and determined. The first day or two is a proverbial piece of cake. But sooner or later, you will have a day when you miss your target. You fall back to your old ways and do not live by your new desired standards.
That day is “the day after perfect.” Up till that point, you have enjoyed success and the fruits thereof. You’ve been on a roll and feel a great sense of accomplishment. And then the crash comes, and you face a critical decision. All too often, that decision is “well, I blew it, so I might as well eat the whole cake,” or “smoke the whole pack,” or “drink the whole bottle,” or you fill in the blank.
That’s why the day after perfect is so important. If you can somehow refocus and marshal your energy to resume the effort, you will be well on your way to success. When attempting to bring about any change, please expect setbacks, and determine in advance that they will be momentary stumbling blocks, not deal-breakers.
On a side note, as a former smoker, I noticed that whenever I abstained from cigarettes for any length of time, after my first smoke, I would invariably increase my normal usage for about that same time to sort of balance out what I had missed. This was not intentional, I promise you, but it seems to be a common fact of life that when we stay away from a destructive habit we increase our usage after we relapse. Hopefully, that can provide you with some incentive to rejoin the battle quickly after a setback.
The second tip from Mr. Acuff – and he has plenty more in his book Finish, is to cut your goal in half. He suggests two ways to do this. One is actually to cut it in half. If your goal is to have $1,000 in the bank by a specific date, change the goal to $500, which is more achievable. Since success breeds success, you will likely be motivated to go on and reach the full destination of $1,000.
The other way to cut a goal in half is to double the time required for its achievement. Again, if you desire to have $1,000 saved within 30 days, give yourself 60 days to complete it. Doing this should increase your chances of success and spur you on to go after other pursuits you desire.
Nobody ever said life is or should be easy. However, I believe the harder you are on yourself; the more manageable and more enjoyable life can be. Also, please remember that you are worth the effort. Though it is a cliché, the statement that there is not another just like you anywhere on the planet is also true. And the rest of you are counting on you and pulling for you to succeed.
— –Ron Price is a member of RMC executive committee from Farmington, New Mexico. Email him: [email protected]; photo by pixabay