How to Harness the Power of Beginnings
Every end is a new beginning—we’re presented with a “fresh start” every day. There is an innate power in beginnings if you wield them wisely. New beginnings bring people strength, perspective, and another chance.
Written by:Tara A. Collison, Ph.D.
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” — John Pierpont “J.P.” Morgan
We picture life as a linear thing with a clear beginning, middle, and end. We’re born, we live in the way we see fit, and then we die. But with a simple change in thinking, that line can become a series of circles, making our lives cyclical -- beginning, middle, end, repeat.
Every end is a new beginning and we’re presented with a “fresh start” every day, which is actually a wildly comforting thought. There is an innate power in beginnings if you wield them wisely. But you already know this! Ever notice how more diets start on Monday than any other day? Why do you think that is? Because new beginnings bring people strength, perspective, and another chance.
New Year’s Day is like the ultimate Monday. The page has flipped, your slate is clean, the year is over, and now a new one begins. The trouble is, it can be difficult to harness the raw power of beginnings.
Don’t Let Your Resolution Fade
You need energy to begin and follow-through on your goals. Not only that, but you need the skills to harness that energy. Electricity, light, solar energy, water power -- with the proper technology and technique, you can harness all of these things and use them to your advantage. The same can be said of your mental/physical energy (you will need both) to enact change.
Identify the right resolution.
We recommend your resolutions be realistic, and small enough so you can see your progress. Try not to set impossible standards for yourself. Most important, make your resolutions meaningful. Cookie-cutter goals don’t connect with that deeper sense of purpose.
Get specific. Resolutions often fail because they are too vague. Make sure your goal is also trackable. You should be able to measure the behaviors that get you closer to your goal. For example, going to the gym every day is a behavior you can track and measure. The goal is to lose weight or run a marathon. If your goal is to be happier, the measurable behavior is to give a daily compliment.
Overcome your optimism bias.
You’re going to feel great right at the start -- that’s the nature of beginnings. In the first few days, we’re drunk on optimism. We’re unstoppable. But you may just sabotage yourself with that false hope.
Accept that you will be busy, tired, and stressed. You aren’t going to be motivated to chase your goals at every moment of every day. You’ll hit slumps and lose steam. And that’s okay. Look for how you can create a new beginning right at that moment (or the next morning at the very least).
- Accept that you’ll encounter obstacles. Plan for them. It will be hard, and you may not always stick to your plan; however, if you’ve prepared yourself, you’ll be better equipped to pick yourself back up and continue.
- One way to prepare is to preplan what you will do when you hit an obstacle. For example, when I want chocolate at 3 pm, I’ll take a walk instead. When my colleague comes to my desk to complain, I will suggest we get coffee and brainstorm solutions.
- Forgive yourself. That’s the beauty of beginnings—you get a new one every day.
- Don’t lose sleep, time, or motivation over mistakes and shortcomings. Instead, consider what those mistakes tell you about adjustments you can make.
Hold yourself accountable.
Being well aware of our imperfect nature is one thing. You also need to hold yourself accountable. What does that mean?
- Take responsibility for any mishaps/missteps. Own them. Don’t place the blame on external forces.
- When you own your mistakes, you have more power to change them and even avoid them in the future. You’ll also be surprised at how little power your mistakes actually hold, especially after you admit them. Most are easily manageable.
- Some people have accountability issues. For those people, you can create a structure be selecting a buddy to check in with, declaring your intentions publically, asking for feedback, joining a group for support and structure, keeping a daily log of your behaviors and progress, etc. (depending on your goal).
Once you identify the right goals for you, overcome your optimism bias, and hold yourself accountable, you’re able to move boldly in the direction of your choice. There’s no such thing as a perfect beginning, but there is such a thing as a new one. And another. And another. Make this beginning your best one yet. Happy New Year!
Are you ready to start fresh? Do you have the tools and skills to take your team along with you for the ride? Meddlers will help you strategize and implement in 2019! Reach out today.