New year, new you? January 1st comes with feelings of hope for the new year and also nostalgia for the one we leave behind. The new year is a new page, where new ambitions and hopes for the year arise. New Year’s Resolutions are popular among many, giving people the optimism to push themselves to be a better version of themselves. However, somewhere throughout the year we become discouraged.
Just because last year’s resolutions didn’t stick or give you the results you wanted, doesn’t mean you should lower your expectations for yourself.
As the countdown begins, and you wait for the clock to strike twelve, marking the new year, a few things are happening. You might think about everything that happened within the last year, both the good and the not so good. Or maybe you think about how this might not have been your year, but next year it will, or you feel so grateful for how this year treated you. However you feel, when the clock strike twelves, the year has ended. All you can do now is take what you learned and use it for the following year.
The hard truth? It will feel like a damn challenge sticking to new goals, especially when there is already a long list of other priorities. Work, school and other responsibilities might get in the way of our goals like wanting to get more fit, or wanting to write more.
Then exists the factor of time.
I love the quote John Green wrote in his book, “The Fault in Our Stars”: “What a slut time is. She screws everybody.” When time isn’t set aside for the things your pursuing, it just won’t get done.
The hardest part is when feel you did all those things—when you have made your new goal a priority and you have set aside time to devote to it, but it still isn’t working out. Discouragement. Yup, that’s the hardest one, and also the one I struggle with the most.
Last year, I started out on a high.
I had just changed my major from health science to English and it felt freeing, finally following my dream of writing professionally. After my few months hiatus from working on a book I started the previous year, I was back on it and encouraged to finish before the year ended.
As the semester continued, I started to feel stressed and lost that high I first felt as an English major. Instead I thought about how teaching would be the only job I could have as an English major (so not true, by the way) and how the chances of making into the publishing world were slim–to–none. While I had prioritized my writing and allotted time for it, the discouragement became my downfall.
The experience allowed me to redefine failure as not something that impedes your growth, but instead fosters it. I found that continuing to push through and get up after getting knocked down said a lot more than finding success on the first try. For every failure, lessons can be learned, exemplifying how we grow, change, evolve.
At the end of that semester, I changed my major to telecommunications-news to pursue a career in journalism.
And no, it wasn’t because I let doubt get in the way of my dream of being a published writer. I had found just a small piece of confidence within me that knew this would be the best career path for me. The process of making this decision created a lot of sleepless nights for me. However, nearly a year later, and that small pea of confidence blossomed into something much much greater.
Not only did I finish that book, but I wrote another one. I became even more passionate about my writing than ever before. It isn’t that now I don’t find myself in moments of doubt—because I assure you, I do. Instead of letting those moments of doubt deter me from a goal or dream, I let it serve as a reality check. I only have myself to prove to, because when I believe in myself, the rest of the world will start to believe it too.
Did you know that J.K. Rowling was a single and depressed mother who was also severely poor?
She so brilliantly said, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” She’s sold over 500 million Harry Potter books since they were first released twenty years ago.
Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh only ever sold one(yes, one!) painting throughout his lifetime?
Today, one painting of his could easily cost $100 million.
Did you know that arguably one of the best basketball players ever, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school basketball team?
Jordan said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” To this day, he holds the record for the highest regular season scoring average.
This year, set a goal for yourself, whether or not you feel proud of where you stand, or you wish to be somewhere else. Write that goal down on a slip of paper and keep it somewhere you can see often. This will give you encouragement and also act as a reminder. Every day, when you look at that sheet of paper, ask yourself what you can do today to get to that goal. See where your failures take you, and if you keep trying, you won’t be disappointed.