As we prepare to wrap up yet another year and start a new one, I’ve been trying – unsuccessfully, in most ways – to put some serious effort into thinking about my goals. Honestly, 2010 has been a year to forget for me – I’ve fallen behind in almost every aspect of my life that matters to me. Some areas I’ve fallen behind quite badly; others have simply slipped a little. But as I’ve thought about how to fix all of them, I’ve realized that a piece of oft-repeated advice is key: it’s tough to change multiple habits at once. If you start January 1st making ten resolutions, you’re less likely to keep any of them. What I’ve considered doing – and I’m still trying to steel myself to something like this – is to start to change one bad habit each month of 2011. I believe I picked this up from Zen Habits a few years ago, although I don’t know if this thought process was originated there.
I’ve picked up recently on the concept of fear of success. Even though people claim to fear failure, they really fear success even more. I can relate to this in terms of career, of course; if you fail, little is expected of you. You don’t stay busy. You don’t have to get out and do things. But if you succeed, you’ll be doing more. You’ll have to talk to more people, deal with the ancillary parts of success such as professional events and so on. So it’s scary. It’s easier to fail at fitness, too; if you commit to the hard work of running or lifting weights or whatever you choose, you’ll have a lot of work in front of you. Even though people claim to WANT to be fit, they are afraid of what will be required to succeed. Anybody can fail to be fit fairly easily; it’s not much work. So as I cross the finish line of 2010 stumbling rather than sprinting, I’ll be doing some serious thinking about how to refocus my efforts on various areas of my life: physical, financial, career, emotional, family, friends, intellectual, spiritual. Just not all at once.
Have a great New Year’s Eve – be careful out there!