One would think that I’d encourage a New Year’s resolution to be more confident, but resolving to be more confident doesn’t make it so. As I was thinking about New Year’s resolutions and how often they fade before the month is out, I recalled Yoda’s admonition “Do, or no do. There is no try.”
To resolve to do something is merely to make up your mind to do it. Generally there is little, if any, thought given to how it will be accomplished, much less whether it’s something we want badly enough to take action.
Once you’ve decided upon a goal for yourself, the first step is to take action as quickly as possible. You don’t have to know the entire game plan, just the first few steps you need to take.
Make sure that each day you take action to move closer to your goal, realizing that some days your progress will be greater than others. And on some days, you may actually lose ground. As my youngest brother so eloquently said “I’ve never known anyone whose graph was a straight line up and to the right.”
Instead, progress is a series of zig zags along an upward-trending line. Knowing that up front makes it easier to stay focused during the zags. You’ll be amazed at how much more quickly you’ll make progress when you maintain daily action and can smile through the inevitable challenges you’ll face.
It’s the daily repetition of actions that move you toward your goal which ultimately makes your dreams come true. I’ve never seen that result from a resolution…and I doubt that you have either.
Instead of making a resolution for the new year, identify the first three to five steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Then take immediate action on the first step. The next day, take the next step. Continue the process until you achieve your goal. It’s action, not resolve that make dreams come true.
For our kids
Kids mimic the behaviors of their parents. Each day that you take action toward your goal, you teach your kids that action is the key to success.
My dad was an automotive mechanic for the Ford dealer in my home town. One of his goals was to be so good that he could get nearly the same pay as union mechanics in St. Louis without having to make the hour-long drive to St. Louis.
To that end he would read the weekly bulletins Ford sent out about issues Ford was having with its vehicles as well as the recommended fixes for these issues. In doing so my dad achieved his goal for decades. And we, his family, enjoyed more time with him.
My brothers and I have followed dad’s lead. Each of us, in our own way, have worked to be one of the best in our chosen fields. I would never, nor would my brothers, ever claim to be the best. For in doing so we would risk becoming complacent and, consequently, less active in our pursuit of being one of the best. Knowing that no matter how good we get, there is always more to learn keeps us focused and successful. You can do that for your kids just as our dad for my brothers and me..
There are few gifts that you can give the kids in your life than the understanding of the importance of action and the futility of resolve.