It’s January, that month when people make resolutions and decide how they will take the new year by storm. Yet according to some recent surveys, 80% of people fail to keep their resolutions by February. So obviously, something needs to change.
I want to do something different. I want you to take some time to focus on all the things you are already doing right: the things that work for you, the things you’ve overcome, the “hacks” you’ve figured out that make your life easier, better, and more fulfilling.
We should all be striving to improve ourselves; it is absolutely good and necessary to have goals. But do you know what is even more important? Believing you can accomplish those goals.
Let me be clear: I don’t mean, “oh, just say you can, and you’ll do it.” I love positivity—I’m a person who wrote a guided gratitude journal— but I’m not into bullshit positivity. How do you actually get yourself to believe you can do something? With PROOF. A track record.
There’s a reason so many people have the same resolution every year over and over. We don’t believe we can do the thing. We’ve failed it before, and in the back of our mind when we say, “this year will be different,” we don’t mean it. Why? Because even the literal act of making the same resolution that we’ve never kept reinforces the idea that we failed last year.
So why not stop beating yourself up in a backhanded way—because that’s what I believe most resolutions are, a way to slide in an insult to yourself under the guise of a helpful little pep talk. It’s like a visiting relative who says, “This house has so much potential!” when they stay with you for Thanksgiving. What if, instead, you focus on all the things you have overcome, the positive ways you’ve grown as a person, and the legitimate compliments you deserve?
I believe that, if you start with that as your focus, you will automatically shift your thinking and that will be much more powerful. I believe this so much that I made “What you are already doing right” the first chapter of my year-long daily gratitude journal, You Already Have the Answers. When you know you can overcome difficult things because you have, when you’ve proven to yourself you can take risks and have them pay off, it suddenly makes the idea of building muscle, going into business for yourself, or taking that dream vacation feel achievable, because you have the data to back it up. You are the case study for how these things can work.
To prove it, I am going to take six questions from this month in my journal, and I want you to answer them for yourself. (And I mean, really take a moment and write down the answers… yes, even in the notes app on your phone).
- What is a risk you’ve taken that has really paid off?
- How have you grown as a person in the last year?
- What is something you are proud to have overcome?
- When do you feel most comfortable in your own skin?
- What leaves you feeling rejuvenated?
- What is the best piece of advice you can give someone based on your life experiences?
I want you to think about your answers and use them as a guide. If you spend the rest of this month, or even the rest of this year, celebrating the things that you do right and focusing on the habits that you have cultivated that work for you, this will automatically lead you to doing more of that. What we focus on is what we create. When you focus on things you are doing right, you will behave in ways that lead to more of these moments where you are the MOST you. You already know that you can, because you have.