So, the year is coming to an end

So, the year is coming to an end

The year is coming to an end. Time for new year's resolutions?

Just like most years, somehow the holidays become a time for reflection and new year’s resolutions. Not always clear and not always apparent, I like to clear my head by thinking mostly about the failures from the past year. Let me tell you why and how this works.

Focus on the obvious

For a few years I have been doing the trendy thing and writing down goals for the upcoming year. I am now thinking about moving towards goals for the next decade - but that is a topic for another day. However, I like to look at them and see where I have failed. This is something we should all be amazing at - just think of all the problems we can spot without even trying!

We are taught by social media to focus on gratitude for our new year's resolutions. While there is a place and time for that, I like to do the opposite. You see, one of the things our brains are awesome at is surviving - should not be confused with thriving. One of the ways is does this is by noticing problems and sometimes finding solutions. This is why we tend to mostly see the bad parts in most situations and people. But I am looking into making my brain work for me, and not the other way around.

Now let me make things clear: we should not focus on every little mistake or mishap we have ever encountered. Focus on why we are not achieving our goals. What has prevented us from crossing out that goal for the year? Think about it and see what sticks out more. If we listen carefully, it should become pretty obvious quite easily.

Hindsight gives us clarity

While we are in the midst of things, details can often get lost. Looking back can help us see things in a different light, while giving us a great chance to review and improve. Take this chance to see not only what went wrong, but also to find ways around it next time.

Now that we are back home, in a quiet room (hopefully), it is easier to get things into perspective. Use this time to our advantage and allow our thoughts to clear up. It is easier to see things in a new way when we are not caught up in the moment.

There is a difference between taking note of something and lingering on it

There is a very subtle difference between thinking about something and obsessing over it. Sometimes we have a tendency to go back over and over to the same situation and that is not healthy, nor is it going to help us in the long run. 

In order for this approach to work and make it worth our while, the ideea is to take note of things, learn from them and move on. We are thinking through our problems, not thinking of them.

Focus on behaviour not on objects

We all know gear is shiny and nice, but when getting down to it, gear is rarely the reason for not getting what we want. What we do (or not do) wil have far more impact on the outcome than a dead battery. We can often find ways around a technical problem, but there is no getting around being in the wrong location. 

Create the conditions we need

Now comes the easy part for our new year's resolution: let’s take everything that went wrong and write down next to each of them what would be the opposite: were we late for something? Next time, let’s get in early. Did we forget a critical piece of gear for a task? Next time, let’s pack ahead. Were we in the wrong spot to get a photograph? Now we know where not to stand and where we should stand next time.

The easiest way to move that needle is to do. Often, when I am faced with a decision, it helps me to think about what not to do, instead of what to do. It is surprising how not being wrong takes me further than being right.

What we need vs what we want

Please notice that in the subtitle I mentioned “the conditions we need”. I did not say the “conditions we want” or “the perfect conditions”. Yes, using a Phase One camera will give we more resolution, larger files and a greater colour depth, but using the camera we have now will give we an image – one that we did not have before.

Yes, using the latest pair of running shoes will help us run a bit faster, but when the goal is to be healthy and feel better, our old pair of shoes will yield the same result. We need to focus on our goals, not those 0.01% conditions that will make them perfect.

Ask a friend to help you think things through

Sometimes we just need a new perspective, and there is no better way then asking a friend or a spouse. I will often ask friends or family to give me feedback on an idea, just to see if I am on the right path with my new year's resolution or not.

While we know all our friends and family are awesome, for this application, it is best to pick someone who is perhaps not as close and a bit more balanced. Someone who will compliment or criticise everything we do or say will likely not help us with this endeavour. 

New year’s resolution

So, what is your new years resolution? Are you rinsing and repeating? Did you cross off things from last year? Or do you think new years resolutions are silly? I would love to hear from you.

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