Happy New Year 2022
A new year is here and with it comes a list of resolutions and a deluge of ‘New Year! New Me’ Facebook posts. Research shows that 25% of people give up on their new year’s resolutions by the first week of January and 80% by the second week of February.
So why set them in the first place you say?
I, myself, have criticised people setting new year’s resolutions. I dismissed it as ‘Just talk’ and ‘Who sticks to their resolutions anyway’? … Well, those who commit. Those who have the drive, the patience and the passion. Those who are ready to change and above it all those who have a plan!
‘We cling to the familiar because it is the path of least resistance’
The last few years have been particularly intense. There were moments where nothing seemed to go according to “plan”. For one thing, there was pandemic 🙂 and on a personal level I kind of got caught up in the merry-go-round of life, unable to tune in to myself. I was constantly anxious and felt like I was lost in the middle of a desert without a compass. With a little hindsight, I can see now, that I did not even know what the plan was!
Between 2009 and now I went through big transitions and major life events. Ok, the entire world did 😀 but I mean on a personal level as well. I experienced losses, disappointments, but also successes and so many happy moments I am grateful for. I moved countries twice. I met wonderful people full of energy and hope, but also others who infected me with negativity and awakened the worst in me. I left my job twice, had to learn a new language and adapt to new social codes. As if that was not enough and amidst this whirlwind of changes, I became a mother and had to review my priorities and fight all the demons gnawing at me and I have also embarked in my entrepreneurial journey.
In those circumstances, we are all tempted to stick to the known and the familiar or even worse to follow the wisdom of the crowd. ‘That’s what everybody does!’ so why question it? Very few will question or challenge those “truths”. they will tell you that a “known devil is better than the unknown angel.” (really?) We cling to the familiar because it is the path of least resistance, it seems comfortable and safe but it is also the path to stagnation, foot-dragging, self-sabotage and inertia.
In my case, for so long I was stubbornly resisting change. I wasted energy and time trying to make an obsolete set of tools and mechanisms work when I could simply have updated my software.
We are evolutive beings, equipped for change but we sometimes actively choose to ignore that fact. Don’t be reckless but embrace change because it is empowering and often he only way to move forward.
“Midlife is when you reach the top of the ladder and find that it was against the wrong wall.”
If this makes you smile and think: ‘typical midlife crisis’, you are probably right. Midlife crisis is real. It is a phase most of us will go through. However, just because someone has labeled it does not mean we should let them define it for us. We can treat it like a storm and wait for it to pass or consider it an opportunity to transition and find an answer (or many?) to our questions.
It is normal to feel that push and pull between the vision you have for your life and what your life really is. What’s important is to find the strength in you to get rid of that stuck feeling and find your path.
There was a point in my life where I had an Obama moment and adopted the slogan:
‘Change we can believe in!’.
Real change starts from within but what they don’t tell you is that breaking bad habits is hard and takes time, consistency and perseverance. As Mel robins says: “Old habits can take years to form. Forgive yourself if it takes more than a day to break them.”
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Alvin Toffler, futurist and philosopher
I am the kind of person who needs to clean up my work space to be able to focus. Consequently, first and foremost, I initiated a detox. A process that allowed me to identify all the things that I wanted to unlearn, the situations I kept regretting, the negativity and bad energies that dragged me down.
Identifying and stopping the mindset that dominates our life when we believe that “we already know” or that “that’s the way it is” is a long but necessary process and a voluntary and conscious decision.
When the identification process is complete, the next and probably hardest step is to commit to it. I am not fully there yet!
When I started the process of unlearning, I have, ironically, found myself doing and enjoying many of those things I had laughed at or denigrated before; things that people deem basic, not so important or not complex enough. I opened my first motivational book, for example. Started a small clothing business to generate cash and support “Kanzyana” my main project. Inspiration and motivation are ‘a thing’. Setting your goals in written form, having a vision board, setting your intentions daily, manifesting … do work.
It is not enough but it can give the extra boost, the clarity, the concentration and the focus we all need to keep going.
You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind
You cannot live a positive life with a negative mind. Focusing on the imprecfections can become an addiction and is scientifically proven to distort reality. It affects our interpretation of challenging events. Keeping this in mind allowed me to break the habit of talking about everything I hate and focus a little bit more on the things I love. I am also learning, though it is not the easiest, to congratulate myself for the small victories of life.
The energy we get at the beginning of a year, a week (Monday I will start a diet) or a month, is very important and it is only up to us to follow through or just assume ‘Who sticks to their plans anyway? I will try again next week!’
Only you get to decide if this year you will belong to the minority who acts or the majority who talks. Goal-setting can focus performance in formidable ways. Know your destination, know your motivation and set your plan.
“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
Eric Hoffer — social writer and philosopher.