The year 2014 has shuffled into its place in history and has dragged with it all of our old selves. All of those, "In 2014 I'm going to..." resolutions have come to an unapologetic deadline and we are left looking back at what we have accomplished. For a lot of us this experience brings with it a fair amount of happiness, perhaps a little bit of longing, a bit of sadness, and, here it comes, regret. Yes, regret. It always starts with the best intentions, doesn't it? However, a well-intentioned resolution is a lot like the bottle rocket that many of us shot off into the newly minted 2015 sky. Think about it. It begins with so much promise as it whizzes, shiny and sleek and colorful, through the air! (Boy, is it colorful!) "I'm going to run 5 miles every day and lose 60 pounds in three weeks!" It looks so good, doesn't it?! That little sparkly tail could propel that bottle rocket straight into the starts! Then it starts to wobble and sputter as we put it off and make excuses to not follow through. "I'll run ten miles tomorrow because I didn't get around to running today." Pretty soon ten miles turns into 45 and just like that tiny little bottle rocket our resolution ends up crashing, head first and charred, into the cold, unforgiving earth.
The new dawn of 2015 is bright and brings with it the hope and resolve to be better, a resolve to change and be different. I would like to start off 2015 with something a little different – a short “To-Don’t List” for how to make 2015 your best year.
- Don’t let one misstep derail your journey! – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the record in the NBA for all-time points scored in a career (38,387) and Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for most points in a season (4,029). What if they would have given up after missing their first shot? They never would have made the record books! Don’t let one bad day skew your view to the horizon ahead. Get back up and get at it! (Which leads me to my next "To-Don’t”)
- Don’t just sit around! – Do something! Maybe you set your exercise goals a little too high. Adjust them. Maybe you thought you could write 3 pages per day but it’s just not working out. Write one page per day. Maybe you want to be healthier but you just don’t know where to start. To put a spin on Nike’s successful slogan, “Just Do Something!” Do ten push-ups, walk to the corner and back, write a paragraph! You’ll soon find that the list of things that you CAN do is much longer than the list of things that you didn't do.
- Don’t do it alone – Life is a team sport. We all have friends and family members who care about us and want us to be our best. Get others involved and assign them to help you stay on track. It’s much more difficult to talk yourself out of something if others are there encouraging you to press on. Show gratitude to those who are willing to help.
- Don’t settle – John Wooden said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” Doing things right the first time means that you gave your best effort. Make 2015 the year that you never settled for less than your best. Sure, there will be deadlines that will sneak up on you and it may be easier to just throw something together. Always do the very best you can with what you have. If you are given a week to complete a project, don’t wait until Friday to get started! Give yourself a chance to submit your best effort.
I hope that 2015 gives you hope and a sense of excitement for all that you can accomplish (and you can accomplish many, many things!) Keep moving forward, take things one day at a time and you’ll get where you want to go. Just make sure that where you’re headed is where you want to be.