With 2014 quickly drawing to a close, the final days of the year are often spent reflecting on the highs and lows of the past year, admonishing ourselves for where we fell short of our best laid plans, and then dusting ourselves off and committing to a new set of goals for the year ahead. But the sad truth is, in spite of our resolve to do better in 2015, many of us will again fail to keep those well-intentioned resolutions. We fail to recognize how to get what we want in love and life.
As much as we may want things to be different in our lives – more fulfilling relationships, better paying jobs, more fun, or a healthier body – we struggle to make the changes necessary to reach our goals.
So why is it so hard to stick to a plan and effect real change in our lives?
- We don’t really like change - Let’s be honest. Change is hard, often uncomfortable, and downright scary at times. As much as we might dislike where we are – stuck in a dead-end relationship, going to a job every day that we hate, or looking in the mirror and not liking what we see – it’s often easier to do nothing or continue doing what we’ve always done. Avoiding change means we don’t have to give up anything (or anyone), we don’t have to try something new, and we don’t have to venture into that scary place of the unknown.
- We get stuck in what I call rear-view mirror living - Haunted by the mistakes and losses of our past, we are unable to let go and move forward with our lives. We keep looking back, trying to figure out what went wrong or why things didn’t turn out the way we had hoped. We remain so focused on past hurts or disappointments that we are unable to envision, or even believe in, a different future. So we keep thinking about the guy that got away, rehashing what we should have done differently, or we shutdown altogether – locked in guilt, sadness, or anger over our past.
- We don’t like to fail - In fact, research on human behavior finds that we actually hate failing more than we enjoy winning. In our minds, the risk of not getting what we want looms larger than any possibility of being better off. Those “What if” fears of losing can actually prevent us from doing what’s needed to win. What if we change and then find ourselves worse off? Or, what if we end a relationship and don’t meet someone new? So we rationalize that it’s not worth the risk – we may not be happy, but at least we’re not alone.
- Old habits are hard to break - Inevitably, we’ll slip up or have a setback on the road to change. When we do, we’re great at talking ourselves out of sticking with our plan. Most of us are better at coming up with a list of reasons to quit than reasons to stay the course. We get lonely one night and call or text our ex and suddenly we’re sucked back in – telling ourselves we were never really good enough to attract someone better anyway.
Tips to Get What You Want in Love and Life
- Create a vision of the life you want - In order to effect real change, you have to figure out what it is you truly want and make a list of the reasons why it’s important to you. Paint a vision of that life that is so clear and strong that it blurs everything else. The goal is to make the rewards of getting all that you desire greater than the risk you associate with potential failure. Then every time you waiver, get discouraged, or suffer a setback, you can pull out your list and recommit to all the reasons why it’s worth staying the course. If love is the thing you desire, then make sure you checkout my book Is He a Keeper?: Savvy Gal Secrets to Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right. It will give you the advice, tips and step by step plans to effect real change in your love life.
- Embrace change with optimism – Sure it can be hard, uncomfortable, or scary. But, the biggest mistake you can make in life, and I know because I’ve been there, is to keep doing what you’ve always done – which may be nothing – and hope that the universe will somehow deliver to you a different outcome. While a little bit of divine intervention is always welcome, we have to be willing to do our part. Real change requires action on your part. When it comes to love, sometimes you have to go through the acute pain of a breakup in order to end the chronic pain of a doomed relationship. No pain; no gain!
- Create a written plan to get you where you want to be – Break it down into manageable steps that create small wins along the way. It takes time and determination to effect real change so don’t expect a miracle overnight or beat yourself up if you slip up. The key is to not get discouraged and quit.
- Don’t let your past dictate your future - What’s happened in the past is past; stop looking in the rear-view mirror. You’re starting fresh today from where you are now and charting a new course to the life you desire.
- Model someone you know who’s successful. Having a role model or mentor gives you a pattern to follow and helps you keep your eye on the prize. When you see them living the kind of life you desire, it can really inspire you to stay committed to your goals.
Commit to making 2015 your year of change. It’s all up to YOU!
- Choose the life you want to live; no one else can give you what you want
- The only person you can change is YOU
- You are the master of your own destiny; the status-quo is no longer an option
- Refuse to let fear of failure stop you or setbacks derail your resolve
I assure you that if you’re willing to commit to making even small, incremental changes towards the life you want and stick with them, you’ll be amazed at how much better and more in control of your life you will feel. You have the power to make 2105 your best year ever!