“It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Did you make resolutions to start 2020? If so, how are you doing with them? If you’re like most people there’s good news and bad news. Since 80 percent of people fail by February, the bad news is that it’s highly likely you fell off sometime last month. If that’s you, the good news is that you’re normal and that there’s no such thing as failure. Every failure is just an opportunity to learn and adjust so you can do better next time.

What Did You Learn?

I’ve failed on more New Year’s Resolutions than I can count. What I’ve learned from these failures is that a goal without a plan for its execution or structure in place to support its success is just a pipedream. For example, I’ve been working on my health, which means exercising regularly. To succeed at that here are a few structures I’ve put in place in my life:

1. I have a regular workout program (right now it’s P90X3)

2. Always exercise in the morning … no matter what. In the event that I can’t, I put a well thought out plan B in place.

3. Lay out my workout clothes the night before

4. Fill my tumbler with ice and water before going to bed and put it on my nightstand. When I wake up in the morning, drink the cold water. Why? Because I’ve read that you’re often tired in the morning as a result of dehydration. The water is good for you, and if it’s cold it wakes you up faster.

As the result of failing at New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve also learned that setting a goal based on a specific day of the year is completely arbitrary. So I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions years ago (I know this may sound surprising coming from a coach who’s all about growth and personal development). I use a thoughtful approach, but I never start anything on January 1 (except for the bible reading schedule).

Dare to be Different

For 2020 I decided to try something different, and it’s already changed my whole year. I read an article about choosing three words to govern your actions and decisions for the year. I thoughtfully considered what my three words should be and landed on 1.) action, 2.) projects and 3.) contender.

For me that meant I would say yes to opportunities and take action when I might have been hesitant or overthought my response previously. It meant that I would look at my goals as projects, with steps and tasks to be completed. I didn’t want weeks or months to pass without traction on the things I really want to accomplish because I spent more time chasing the urgent tasks than I did chasing the important long-term goals.

I chose contender because it had double meaning for me. When someone is a contender, like for a championship, it means they are among the best. But it also means to strive and to fight. I knew I wanted both, to be in the fight and to be among the best.

What Happened

In late January I was forwarded an opportunity that was outside of my comfort zone, going after a state award. Although I knew I was capable, I also knew the process of going after it required me to stretch myself personally because I was unfamiliar with the process. But my first thought was, “action.” So I knew I had to say yes, even though I didn’t know at the time how I would execute it. With that mindset I wasn’t married to the outcome, I knew I was going to win regardless of what the results would be because the experience alone would be worth it.

I put on my project manager hat and figured out how I would tackle it. Yet once I got into it, I knew I couldn’t just do it for the sake of the experience. I wanted to be a contender. So I made the adjustments necessary, including assembling a team, to put my business in the best possible position to win.

The result, I won the award. It wasn’t one of my resolutions. It wasn’t even on my radar on January 1. But those three words were on my lips on Jan. 1, governing my decisions and actions. I had no idea that these three words would change my life

The Best News EVER!

You don’t have to wait to January 1, 2021 to make the changes you want to make in your life. Whether you’ve failed on your resolutions, or don’t make any at all, you can choose three words that will help you get what you need out of the remainder of this year.

Tricia D. Teague is a speaker, founder of The Trep School, and trained coach with the Coaches Training Institute. She can be reached at tricia@thetrepschool.com. To schedule a free coaching session by going to www.thetrepschool.com/coaching

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