1. What do I want?
One of the unsung heroes of failure is ambivalence. We think we want something, but we don’t. We may partially want it, we may want something else represented by what we think we want, and we may not be aware of real ways which we don’t want it. This can happen when we are out of touch with important parts of ourselves. “What do I want?” and “What do I really want?” are two different questions. One of the most valuable lessons from failure—actual and simulated (in the sense of deeply thinking through the implications of decisions we make)—is that failing clarifies what we truly value. Learning can take more time than we’d like. The end of the year always quickens our sense of time running out, and renewal.
New Year’s is traditionally a time when people wish to turn over a new leaf, but is notoriously when we may hastily set goals. After a half-hearted attempt, we give up. If this happens we can feel pretty crummy, though not necessarily. It is also a cliché, amusing, and upon reflection, practically what we expected to happen. We can laugh at ourselves, which is sometimes a good thing to do. So, ask yourself how committed you are to making whatever change it is that you are considering in the New Year.
2. Setting the stage
In order to increase your chances of sustaining positive changes, we set the stage for success and identify and reduce sources of failure. You’ll need a pen and paper, or an equivalent way of keeping track because keeping it in your head won’t allow you to do what needs to be done. I encourage you to write with pen and paper, and transfer to digital if desired because pen and paper engage us more—leveraging what is called “embodied cognition.”
Continue reading the full article: Psychologytoday