Consider how many mistakes we make each year. Mistakes are inevitable, and a necessary part of our learning and evolution. Now, imagine if we could learn from them and avoid repeating them. It’s not just our mistakes, but all the things we tried that didn’t work, and the things we saw other people try that didn’t work. Fortunately for us, more than a few things did work out. All of this knowledge can be applied to this coming year. After doing this for several years, our lives would be pretty spectacular! Since you’re learning so much each year, why not put it to good use? Unfortunately, we don’t change our behaviors very much from year to year. Commit to making this year different.
Apply the lessons of the past to the future
Review the lessons this year has taught you. What did you learn, both positive and negative? What mistakes did you make? What were your biggest wins? Now, consider your family and closest friends. What challenges did they face? What were there successes? What can you learn from them? Do you see a pattern in any of your mistakes? Many of our challenges are caused by making the same mistakes year after year. How can you apply the lessons?
- Take the best and the worst from your past and learn from them. Make use of that information to enhance your life.
- Find alternatives to your least effective actions. Maybe you procrastinate too much or consistently show up to work late. What are the changes you want to make in the coming year?
- Identify those behaviors that support your success. Perhaps you made your spouse feel loved and lost 25 pounds. Those are behaviors that you might want to repeat.
- Create new habits. Choose habits that will counteract your less-effective behaviors and ensure your positive behaviors occur more frequently. Consider these examples:
- Procrastination: Take immediate action when you know something needs to be done. Remind yourself of the pain and frustration procrastination has caused in the past, and imagine how amazing it will feel to complete the task.
- Late to work: Place your alarm on the other side of the room so you’re forced to get out of bed. Choose your clothes the night before. Commit to leaving the house in plenty of time.
- Spouse: Spend 15 minutes each day doing something nice for your spouse. Remind yourself of what you love about them.
- Lose 15 lbs: Continue making healthy food choices and working out three times each week.
- Monitor yourself. If you’re not careful, you’ll quickly slip back into your old patterns of behavior. Change is challenging, and you can expect to face a lot of internal resistance. Avoid being too hard on yourself when you slip. Just vow to redouble your efforts going forward!
- Celebrate your successes. When you apply what you’ve learned from last year, you can expect some great things to happen. Appreciate them and be proud of yourself. This is the best way to ensure good things keep happening.
- Reinforce behaviors by feeling good about yourself. You’ve faced some tough times in the past. Take advantage of those challenges! You’ve had some good times, too. Repeat them in the future. Your past is the key to your future. Take what you’ve learned and leverage that experience going forward. It would be a shame to repeat your mistakes in the future.
You can have the best year of your life, but not if you fail to learn from your past experiences. Your results have lessons to teach. Are you paying attention? I hope you found these suggestions most helpful and will find ways to integrate the suggestions into daily living.
Starting soon, I plan on switching things up a bit; focus on one topic each month, post more often, and provide helpful downloads, worksheets, and reports.
Until the next post, Happy New Year to you and yours!