After Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday.
It’s a day of high possibility as many reflect, take stock, and plot out the year ahead (or longer), often by including some New Years’ Resolutions.
Sadly, most of these resolutions stop in just a couple of weeks.
Why is this? You can quickly Google and find many great explanations for the drop-offs. I like the 5 Common Mistakes That Cause New Habits to Fail by James Clear.
What Mr. Clear and others don’t address is something I have found underlies most, if not all, of my unfulfilled goals.
It is fear.
The simple truth is I’ve been afraid to have a go at some things I’ve wanted to do in my life. Pretty lame to admit, right?
Before we get all excited about how open and insightful I am, let’s be clear, I had no idea fear was holding me back. That’s because fear often cloaks itself in the guise of reason.
As with so many things, I finally needed some help to see this.
An example: moving from LA.
One day, I talked with a friend about how I didn’t care for Los Angeles and longed to live elsewhere. I was whining and listing excuses. My friend listened, then said, “you know Jim, you’ve been talking about moving from LA with me for over ten years – when are you going to stop talking and do something?”
My emotional reaction to his comment was, “what an ass, I need some new friends!”
Then I came to my senses and asked my friend, who also happened to be a psychologist, “what do you think is holding me back, and what can I do about it?”
“Quite simply, it is fear!” he added, adding, “Most of your fears are unjustified. You need to write them down, see them for what they are – then jump anyway! You’ll be fine.”
That was 15 years ago. We ended up leaving LA, and everything worked out great.
So, here’s the learning: if there’s something you want to do, do it. Don’t waste time believing flimsy reasons that mask an irrational fear.
You’ll be okay.
“Looking back on life, it’s not the things we did that we’ll regret; rather, it’s the things we didn’t do!”
Happy New Year!