Yep, it’s that time of year again.
We are on the downward slide to Christmas, New Year, and a time when people reflect on what they want as January 1 rolls in to town.
For some people, they have kicked a tonne of goals this year and are feeling pretty damn chuffed with themselves. For others, it’s the realisation that they have just lived the same year over again – maybe for the tenth time.
I believe the ‘technical’ term for this is “Groundhog Day”.
Why is it that some people are able to propel themselves forward and others feel like they are stuck on a hamster wheel running, running, running… but getting nowhere?
Below are the “Big Four” – the four most common reasons I’ve come across that explain why some people live the Groundhog Day Life – even when they desire something different.
- Not spending time getting clear on what they want, why they want it, and how to go about getting it
“Failing to plan is planning to fail” said Benjamin Franklin and I have to agree. If you don’t put time and energy into thinking about what you really want then you’ll wander aimlessly, being blown around by the wind – a bit like a wayward tumbleweed in a ghost town. Sure, you may end up in a great spot (luck!) however in reality many people don’t! Having read and learnt from some of the most successful people on the planet, I know there are common themes in their philosophies and the most obvious one is knowing where you are going and why.
Knowing WHY you want this outcome is so important to it being achievable! If your WHY is not strong enough it won’t take much to blow you off course when the going gets tough.
Once you have clarity on what it is you want and why, the next step is to create a plan. For example: if you landed in New York City and wanted to head to Brooklyn from the airport you would buy a map, ask someone for directions, or get in a cab with a driver who knows how to take you there. You wouldn’t just wander out of the airport, start walking, and hope you find it.
Look, chances are you probably will get there – but how unnecessarily long would the journey be? How may wrong turns would you take? And how much of your precious time would you waste – all because you weren’t willing to plan or ask someone for directions?
Let me be super clear with you: if you have ended up in the same spot as last year in a certain area of your life it is 100% because of your clarity (or lack thereof) on where you want to be in that area, your why supporting it, and the quality of the plan you used to get there. It’s as simple as that.
- Better the Devil You Know
Change can be scary, I get that. Sometimes we may REALLY want to change but as our thoughts run away with us, we often get caught up in the fear cycle. It becomes easier to just limp along protected in our mediocrity bubble – as least we are safe in our limping.
Change can be uncomfortable – even painful – and so what happens if we are worse off at the end of it all? I dunno, maybe it’s best to just tolerate the status quo and work with what we’ve got huh?
*Cue soul destroying music now*
Fear can be our friend or it can be our foe. If you are someone who has let fear trap you in circumstances that make you unhappy, I invite you to consider a new possibility for 2020. The only way we get better at facing fear is by facing off with fear. Just like the only way to get better at running is, well, by running.
There are two types of fear: authentic fear and unreal fear. Authentic fear is the type you experience when you are being threatened in the moment – for example when you’re honked at by the bus driver as you step out in front of her bus. Unreal fear is imagined fear and examples of this would be: what if I fail my exam?, or what if I speak up and that person no longer likes me? These are both completely fictional at this stage, however our brain and body respond to it like they are real. It usually comes along with an increased heart rate, sweaty palms, and shallow breath. This is the sort of fear that keeps people trapped. Even though it’s not real it feels completely real so we carry on doing what is familiar and staying safe.
- What the? It’s going to take effort???
Change requires energy. The amount of change you want in your life dictates the amount of energy you need to put in. Big results require big efforts.
If that’s you, then you’re going to have prepare yourself for that.
I understand that chilling on the couch after a hard day is sometimes all one feels like doing, but my next question is: how much do you want this desirable change in your life? Because if you really want it, if it’s something that’s in complete alignment with your goals, if the results totally light you up, then you will do what it takes.
So often people throw out random New Year resolutions, or revisit their goals list but because the change isn’t something that totally floats their boat (ie. doesn’t have a big WHY attached to it) their actions (which start with the noblest of intentions) quickly peter out and they go back to their old ways.
For something to be sustainable and achievable, we have to deeply desire the result. For example, someone who values their health and nutrition will take the time to prepare nutrient-dense meals every day. Someone who values financial security will always read books by money experts rather than watch Netflix.
If you find that you can’t be bothered doing the actions required to get the results, I invite you to ask yourself: “Do I really want what I think I want?”. If the answer is no then you need to change your outcome or goal.
If the answer is yes – but you still can’t seem to get there – then keep reading!
- Help Is Required – But No Request For It Is Made
If your car broke down and you weren’t a mechanic, would you try to fix it yourself? What about when you have a toothache – do you get in there with a bit of DIY and hope for the best?
I think not!
So how come when you aren’t making the changes you truly desire do you not ask for any help? For some reason people can be scared-off speaking up and asking for the help they need. I beg you, if this is you, please for the love of God make 2020 the year when you view asking for help from a new angle.
Asking for help is not a weakness. Again, look at what truly successful people do. They always ask for help. They recognise their strengths and weaknesses and know when they need to add a new member to their team so that they can kick goals.
Asking for help is also very smart. It means you make less mistakes because you‘d ask someone with experience in that particular area. It will save you time, money, and energy in the long run. It means you can learn from them in the pursuit of achieving the thing in the best possible way.
Finally, asking for help means that you are not on your own. Finding the courage, motivation, tenacity and know-how to achieve your particular outcome can be pretty exhausting, even if you desperately want it. Having someone on your team makes total strategic sense. You have recruited a champion in your corner and that can make the difference between winning at life or having a mediocre one.
I’m curious how many of you have seen yourself in the Big Four? I know I have certainly identified with each and every one of them at different points in my life. We are human and can often get in our own way – no matter how great our intentions are.
For those of you based in Perth, I am running a workshop called Make 2020 Your Best Year EVER! in December and January. I’m holding one session in North Beach (click here for North Beach tickets) and two sessions in Rivervale (Click here for Rivervale tickets). It is a three hour event that will help you get real about 2020, cut through the crap and formulate a plan. Come and hang out with me – I promise we will have some fun!
I know it’s only November, but I like to get my wishes in early: May 2020 be your best year EVER!