Every new year it’s the same story. “This year will be different” you say, “I’m going to stick to it this year!”. Although every year most people’s new year resolutions are no longer in place by March, if they actually make it past the end of January. The challenge for all people is that we are fundamentally creatures of habit, most of us live and exist in set routines and patterns of behaviour. We do this because it is comfortable, it’s familiar and we know where we are and what we are doing. Often any changes to these routines throw us into complete chaos and can impact every area of our lives. Our inability to make adaptations to our routines is often masked behind claims of “I don’t have the time,” or “I’m too busy at work/with family/at home etc…” Scratch the surface a little and you’ll find that the inability to make behavioural change is fundamentally motivated to our desire to be ‘comfortable’ and stay safely within our familiar environments and routines.
Stepping outside that comfortable box is not just difficult, it’s downright scary. We fundamentally fear failure. Culturally we are continually told that failure is a negative. To fail at something is to show that we are inadequate. That we are not perfect. To fail at something puts our fragile ego and perceptions of social image at risk. We are no longer that successful, capable individual, we have been exposed as being fallible. What we misunderstand in this is that in terms of experiential learning failure does not exist. If we engage in a course of action, it will produce a result - this is the basic and immutable law of cause and effect. We need to recognise that every effect positive, it provides a fundamental base for further development. It indicates that we are indeed on the right track, reinforcing that we are undertaking the correct actions. Conversely it may provide indication that this specific means is not entirely correct to elicit the effect we first desired. In this we are gifted valuable feedback indicating what we need to change and where we need to adjust.
Too often we start a new course of action. We initially commit to the course and we gain positive feedback. However nature is not all plain sailing and pretty soon we encounter a test to his new pattern of behaviour, something doesn’t go our way.
The predominant result to this is to dismiss the new behaviours as being wrong. We convince ourselves that they don’t fit our routine and the outcome we wanted wasn’t really that valuable to us in the first place. However, In reality what we need is a complete perceptual shift. We need to dismiss the desire to be comfortable and recognise that all change is an active and continual process. In any endeavour there will be periods of success and periods of challenge. The periods of success allow us to consolidate and strengthen, the periods of challenge allow us to learn, evolve and grow. Perfection is in the realisation that all things are correct and all experiences provide us this opportunity to grow and develop. Wanting to win, but not being afraid to lose, is the mantra of the successful.
So this new year, don’t make a pointless resolution. Go out and fail. Fail and learn. Fail and evolve. Fail and develop. Challenge yourself to live uncomfortable and embrace the lesson from experience you have!