JJ and Linda haven’t returned from their holiday trips and festivities, so I’m taking over the 1st official post of the year. The topic was super simple to figure out—how to start off a new year just right. How, you ask? Not with those New Year’s resolutions that never last long, but with a goal (or two) and commitment.
As an FYI, I hear that of the folks who make resolutions, not even half manage to keep them until mid-February. That’s depressing. But having made them—a lot!—over the years, I can confirm that. It’s tough keeping promises, but not impossible. For example, as someone who wanted to be an actress from the age of seven on, I can attest to the fact that if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen—through commitment and perseverance.
Decide on what you’d like to accomplish this year. Make it a significant and/or life-changing goal. Avoid having too many goals (or “resolutions”), because too many equals non-success. Remember this my friends: to attain something means you have to give up or change something, which isn’t easy. This is where commitment comes in.
Take your goal and break it into manageable bits. Draw up a plan. It doesn’t have to be extensive. Keep it simple. For instance, when I decided I was going to become an actress, I didn’t hop on the first bus to Hollywood. I jotted down actions needed to make it happen. I started reading up on the performing arts and film folks, and learned (devoured) all I could. I took acting lessons, tried out for community stage productions, and volunteered in the theater world. Some things worked out brilliantly; some not so much. That’s okay. It’s all part of the process.
Consider all the things you can do to make your goal reality. Know that there’ll be setbacks, that you may receive criticism, warranted or otherwise (some folks can be just plain nasty). Play duck: let the negative stuff flow off your back like water droplets.
Share your goal with others. I told my mother (mistake, but live and learn), friends and cousins I trusted, and a couple of teachers. I felt that by stating my intention—my quest, if you like—I had to, and would, stick to it.
Motivation: be your own driving force. You can do it if it’s in your heart to do. I know, because I’ve been there. Sure, there’ll be off days. The odd one may even knock the winds out of your sails. And no, it won’t be simple, but think of it this way: if it were super easy, that awesome (!) sense of accomplishment—joy, triumph—wouldn’t happen. Let me tell you, there’s no better feeling than experiencing a sense of success that comes from knowing you—yes, you—did it.
I’ll leave you with some quotes that have kept—and still keep—me from straying off the path (too often):
“You always have two choices: your commitment versus your fear.” – Sammy Davis, Junior (actor, comedian, dancer and singer)
“Life is a challenge, meet it! Life is a dream, realize it! Life is a game, play it! Life is love, enjoy it!” – Sri Sathya Sai Baba (Indian guru and philanthropist)
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s the determination and commitment to unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.” – Mario Andretti (racing-car driver)
“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.” – Julie Andrews (actor, singer, and author)
Here’s to 2018 being your year.