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My Mindset-Making The Most Of A New Year

What a marvelous start to a new year! Sick in bed with flu, or maybe bronchitis, staring at the wall and feeling all the hopes and dreams of a new, fresh start. The world is my oyster! I just keep coughing it up…

I had some big plans for the start of the year. Clean off my desk and get rid of my office clutter. Sell a bunch of crap I no longer need or want. Lose 20 pounds. Write that book that’s percolating in my brain. Bake a perfect soufflé. End homelessness… So much to do!

A new year-celebrated from bed
My “oyster” harvest

But no! Instead I lie here in my bed, coughing up a lung and harvesting oysters, hoping for more than an hour’s uninterrupted sleep. A lovely beginning to a new year.

A Caring Mother

It’s funny, but I’m thinking about when I was a little kid. Being home sick, lying in my bed at night and coughing for hours. My mother, in her most caring, compassionate 60’s parenting way, doing her best to comfort me by shouting “Stop it!” from her spot, downstairs on the couch. Brings out the warm fuzzies, doesn’t it?

There! Am I sufficiently morose for you?

Actually I’m not really complaining. I haven’t had to make dinner in a week, and I don’t need to think about what to wear. Okay, scratch that last one. I never think about what to wear. I’m a Dad, wearing my Dad Wardrobe!

a new year-me in my dress onesie
Me in my dress onesie

It’s incredibly freeing to get up and, rather than pondering what shirt goes best with this pair of khaki cargo pants, just throw on the ratty bathrobe and slippers, and go about your day! I mean, imagine the thought process that goes into getting dressed like Barbie and Ken. So much effort!

A new year, a new me!
Umm, maybe not…

But, as is my wont, I digress.

It’s A New Year, Get Your Mind Set

No, I’m here to tell you that, having goals and aspirations for a new year ahead is a good thing. True, almost everyone who makes New Year’s Resolutions quits and goes home before the first month is past. I know, I wrote about all this last year at the same time. But this isn’t about making New Year’s resolutions, this is all about your “mindset”! Totally different!

You see, those people who never make it to February with their resolutions have one important thing in common; though their hearts are in the right place, they haven’t gotten their mindset, well…, set!

Setting goals at the start of a new year or making New Year resolutions is always going to fail, if you don’t have a healthy mindset. ALWAYS.

So what do I mean by this?

According to the website the blissful mind, developing a healthy mindset involves “finding ways to grow from your thoughts instead of letting them control your life. Rather than dwelling on a negative thought until it becomes overwhelming, the healthy mindset tries to a) move beyond that thought or b) simply accept it.”

Having a “growth mindset” is another way of putting it. A growth mindset is having the belief that, no matter your age or circumstance, you can always learn, adapt, change, and improve over time.

And what stops most people from having a growth mindset is their own limiting beliefs. That inner voice that says “you aren’t good enough, you’re too old, you don’t have good luck, or things never work out”.

Limiting beliefs aren’t necessarily bad, they’re just a form of conditioning that our brain uses to try keeping us safe. The problem begins when those limiting beliefs stop us from moving forward in our lives, preventing us from growing.

Fixed Vs Growth

An example is; you want to learn a new skill so you can move into a new career. But your mind tells you you’re too old to learn a new skill. It wants to protect you from failing. And it does a great job of keeping you safe by stopping you from following through.

If you never learn that new skill, you won’t fail at a new career because you won’t try. And you stay safe within your comfort zone. This is what could be called a “fixed mindset”. People with a fixed mindset will always be stopped by their own limiting beliefs.

Christmas just doesn't work out for me. Never has.
The Polar Express. Little Billy’s fixed mindset

And people with a fixed mindset will never achieve any goals of substance. Doesn’t matter if it’s the start of a new year or you’re setting a work goal.

But What About Why?

Additionally, something else to consider is, “What is your why?” What!? Exactly!

Do you know what your purpose is? What motivates you? What drives you to get out of bed every morning and get things done? Do you have an all-encompassing reason for being? That’s what your “why” is!

But many people just live their lives, moving from day to monotonous day, or, as Henry David Thoreau put it; “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”.

Or, for a more recent reference; “Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way”, by Pink Floyd. Both mean exactly the same thing. Living from day to day with no real purpose. A slow death, really.

Now, when you know your why, your perspective changes. The days take on more meaning, and your work has value and purpose. And even if you’re not working, your life moves forward, propelled by a deeper connection to your true calling.

And that calling, your why, can be as simple as “to be the best version of myself”. But it becomes your touchstone in all that you do. With a solid why, everything becomes important!

A New Year Starts With Knowing Your Why

So what’s a good why got to do with making the most of a new year? Well, if you’re setting intentions, declaring resolutions, or setting goals for the coming year and beyond, your why can be the difference between accomplishment and procrastination.

My good friend Vicki wrote an article on her website entitled Why Goal Setting Doesn’t Work. Have a read when you’ve got a moment. But I particularly like this statement;

Most goal setting fails because we don’t accurately identify our ‘why’. In order for us to get traction on goals, they have to matter.  We must answer the question: Why is this important to achieve, experience, do, or be?

Vicki McLeod, Why Goal Setting Doesn’t work

So if it’s not important enough, it’s probably not worth the effort. And so we don’t achieve our goal.

It’s taken me many years to figure out my own personal why. And it really only came to me after I turned 60. So what’s my why?

What Is My Why

It’s really all about my family. For so much of my life, I considered family to be rather low on my list of important influences. Selfishness and ignorance were the traits that blinded me to possibilities. It wasn’t until I started thinking about becoming a father that I began a shift. Then, when I did become a parent, my perspective did a complete 180! It really was all about family.

So my why is, I want to inspire my children by sharing my personal experiences, and be a mentor as they grow into responsible adults. This website and the articles herein are really an extension of my why!

So what about you? Have you set any big goals for the coming year? Any little goals? And do you know your “why”? I’d love to hear it, but only if you’re willing to share. No judgements from me!

No matter what, welcome to 2024! May it be the year we all desire.

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1 month ago

I just do what the voices in my pants tell me to do.

1 month ago

Unfortunately I believe the why of many people these days is to afford a comfortable life in a failing economy. I wish this wasn’t the case because making money a goal is a great way to lose your morals quickly, or as the Buddha puts it: “Why do I, who is liable to birth, seek that which is liable to birth? (I.e. material possessions)”. Or for a more recent example: “Money, so they say, is the root of all evil today”, by Pink Floyd.

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