New Year's Resolutions - How Getting Back On Track Is A Huge Opportunity
By Leo Gura - February 3, 2014 | 1 Comments
Falling off track with your New Year’s resolution is actually an important life lesson in success. Learn how winners think differently about success.
So… here we are, now a month into the new year. Woot 2014! But this raises the obvious question, How are you doing on your New Year’s resolution? Do you still even remember that you set one? I hope so.
If you’re like me, it’s been a struggle. Personally, I set about 40 things for the year that I’m working on. But officially, my resolution is to shoot 365 videos in 2014. I wanted to really stretch and challenge myself to shoot one video every single day!
This was a crazy, tongue-in-cheek goal. When I set it I knew that it was totally unrealistic, but I said, “So what! Let’s see how far I can take it!”
I stayed on track for two weeks, shooting a video every day. In fact, I shot 40 videos in the first two weeks of January because I got on a roll. But then I fell off track. The trick of course — and this is the point of this article — is how you handle your moments of failure. Do you have a mindset that encourages you to get back on track? Or do you have have a mindset that discourages you from ever trying again?
I bet I can predict your level of success in life very accurately just by knowing how you handle these types of situations.
Perfectionist vs. Optimalist Mindset
The perfectionist tricks himself into a disempowering state by thinking that everything has to progress smoothly and consistently: “I’m on track with my diet if I obey it every day for 30 days straight.”
I’m all for discipline and rigorous consistency. I think it’s the most powerful way to get results. But as soon as you’ve fallen off track — like most of us mortals do — then your thinking has to change. If you stay a perfectionist after the fact, you’re going to lose out on a lot of potential growth.
Instead, you should think like an optimalist. Regardless of what happened last month, last week, yesterday, or 5 minutes ago, What is the best action you could be taking right now? Yes, I know it’s sad that you broke your winning streak, but wallowing in that sadness isn’t doing you any good performance-wise. In fact, it’s killing your performance.
What Golf Can Teach You About Life
Have you ever gone golfing and played an excellent game the entire day? And then towards the end, just as you’re about to finish with flying colors, you botch a shot and land in a sand trap?
“Dammit!!! That could have been a perfect game if not for that one shot! Why did I screw up that up?! This happens all the time! Just think how great it would have been if I got that last shot right? Everything’s gone to hell now.”
Can you relate to that type of thinking?
This types of thinking can come into play in any area of life, from golf, to relationships, to business, to new year’s resolutions. Maybe you think this way when you make a mistake cooking, or painting, or giving a presentation at work. I know I used to think this way a lot. It is my natural way to think.
But this is perfectionist thinking and I’m now more aware of how it subtly robs me of results. Instead of being a perfectionist, you want to learn to immediately cut off the past. Yes, it’s sad you made a mistake and broke your winning streak, but it will be even sadder if you convince yourself that all has gone to hell and that there’s no more point in performing. That is truly the only way to fail.
The Secret to Success
Guest what? Tiger Woods has bad shots.
And that’s okay because he understands that he’s playing for the long-view. He can keep his mind on the big picture. And in the grand scheme of things, one bad shot is not a problem. In fact, it’s how you handle the bad shots that determines where you’ll end up. Tiger Woods is good because he doesn’t get discouraged and treats the next shot as thought it was following a long streak of successes, even if it isn’t.
Successful people train themselves to mentally cut off their loses. Whether it’s a bad shot, a bad investment, a bad hiring decision, or a bad product launch, you have to train yourself to say, “Okay, that was a wrong move. But it doesn’t matter now. I’ll just make the next right move and everything will average up over time.”
And you carry on as though nothing happened. Otherwise your bad moves put you into a downward, negative performance spiral that can kill your results for good.
Watch Out For The Slippery Slope
Of course, be careful not to let this become an excuse for laziness.
In the grand scheme of things, one bad mistake here and there doesn’t make a big difference at all. One bad shot won’t kill Tiger Woods’ career. One greasy cheeseburger won’t kill your health. One bad investment won’t ruin your finances. And one misstep with your New Year’s resolution doesn’t impact your overall intentions much at all.
But… the thing you do have to watch out for is when your subconscious mind latches onto that misstep and uses it as an excuse for a second misstep, and then a third, and a fourth, and a fifth!
We’ve all been there, right? That “oh, just one more” potato chip that turns into eating the whole bag! Oops! How did that happen?
That’s why I’m all for rigor — it’s still important — but if you do make a mistake, let yourself forget the past as long as you’re starting to take right action again.
Stop Aiming For 100%
When you set ambitious goals — as you should! — aiming for 100% isn’t necessary.
Most people set small goals and try to aim for 100%. Then, when they slip up once or twice, they get discouraged and quit. This kind of mindset and approach generates mediocre, average results.
Successful people set huge goals and aim for 80% or 90%. Then, when they slip up once or twice, they just get right back on track and try to do the best they can from that point on. This kind of mindset and approach generates extraordinary results.
Which approach are you taking?
It’s Never Too Late to Get Back on Track
So how are you doing with your New Year’s resolution? Are you still on track? Have you fallen off? Have you given up?
If you’ve fall off track (like me) and it pains you to even think about it, how about considering getting back on track right now? Why not? It’s not too late. Yes, you might have horribly broken 2 weeks of your diet, but you have the opportunity right now to practice adopting the winner’s mindset. And this is even more valuable than staying on your diet!
Think of it like this: if you’ve fallen off and you decide to stay off track, you’re just reconditioning the old, mediocre mindset. This will make you average, getting the same results you’ve always gotten. But! If you’ve fallen off and get back on track RIGHT NOW, you are conditioning a new, success mindset.
You have the opportunity, right now, to start becoming an optimalist rather than perfectionist. What would it mean for the results in your life if you trained yourself to be an optimalist from this day forward?
This is how real change happens — at the level of shifting your patterns of thinking.