“There is no failure except in no longer trying.” ― Elbert Hubbard

Now that the eggnog supply has been exhausted, the Christmas carols have been sung, and the gifts unwrapped, it’s time to turn my attention to 2014.  New Year’s isn’t exactly my favourite holiday, but I value what it stands for and I like the idea of a clean break and a fresh start.

Although I truly believe that you don’t have to wait for the New Year to change your actions, behaviours, or your life, it’s a great time to start.  I look at New Year’s like a forced opportunity to create the intentions and take the steps towards my goals, both small and large.  Since I’m constantly trying to improve everything from my career to my communication skills, I’ve decided to focus on one small change that I think will be very hard for me to implement: this year I’m committing to going easier on myself.

New Years Resolution_This may seem like a counterproductive New Year’s resolution to some people, or perhaps even a cop-out.  Trust me, it’s not.  In fact, giving myself a break may be one of the most challenging New Year’s resolutions I’ve ever committed to.  I’m a perfectionist to my core and while this can be a positive quality in many situations, it can also be damaging.  I set high goals, am not afraid of hard work, and am determined, driven, and focused. But if something doesn’t go as planned, I’ll beat myself up over it and replay it in my mind for days, weeks, or even years.  Don’t get me wrong – this personality trait has proved to be very beneficial for me in all areas of my life, but I need to ditch the negativity, accept that I make mistakes sometimes, learn from it, and move on.

It’s not going to be easy.  I’ll start by changing my overall outlook and attitude, embracing change and accepting that nothing is perfect.  I’ll also have to re-write my definition of failure from “when things don’t go as planned” to “not trying at all.”   I’m also going to try to change my inner dialogue that I have with myself, choosing to focus on the opportunities and learning experiences, instead of dwelling on the negative.

Finally, I’ll need to learn how to get better at letting things go.  Whether I overcook the green beans or take the wrong exit on the highway, there’s no sense in crying (or beating myself up) over spilled milk.  Collect the facts, accept the situation, weigh your options, learn from it, and implement a change.

Happy New Year, indeed.

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