The New Year is almost here. It fills the air with possibility and hope for the year to come. People are busy making New Year resolutions and returning all their unwanted Christmas gifts. As this New Year approaches, it is important to reflect back on the year that is passing. Reflect back on the goals you accomplished and the ones you fell short on. Reflect back on the changes you have made, good and bad. Reflect back on the people who have come and gone. Most importantly though, reflect on yourself. Were you happy this year, did you do great things, or was this an off-year for you? Based off the reflection you make about yourself, you will be able to set yourself up of a successful New Year. You will realize the characteristics you want to change about yourself and the ones you have already improved on.
So many people make New Year’s resolution about things that want to change and improve in their lives. The unfortunate thing about these resolutions is that they fade away with the buzz of the New Year. People have so much promise and potential but life gets in the way. They get too busy to accomplish the goals they set for themselves at the drop of the ball in Time Square.
However there are those people whom, despite the struggle and complications of life, accomplish their goals. Why is that? I have a theory. Most people create goals for themselves under the guise of New Year’s Resolutions. This is an external motivator. It is motivation that comes from an outside source. It is similar to the way you feel after watching an inspirational video or hearing a motivational speaker. While the source is fresh in your mind you are motivated to become the person you have the potential to be. Once that source fades, so does your will to accomplish your goals. This is way as the New Year fades so do the resolutions.
On the other hand though. The people who accomplish their goals are motivated by something far more powerful that an external source. They have internal motivation. This is the motivation that makes you wake up one day and say, “Wow, I need to change my life.” This is the motivation that causes someone to get in shape so they are no longer tired after walking up the stairs. It is the motivation that causes someone to quit smoking so they can see their children get married. This is the motivation that makes some dig deeper while others give up. Yes, these internally motivated individuals may make these goals in the form of New Year’s Resolutions but they are more than that: they are life changers.
Last year I can easily say was the best year out of my life so far. It was filled with great people, good times, and amazing personal growth. I am going to use this as my internal motivation to make sure that I accomplish my life changers. I will make this year better than the last. I will become one step close to making my life extraordinary. I challenge you to do the same. Instead of just making a New Year’s Resolution, find your internal motivation and change your life.
All the time on my blog I talk about pushing your limits. Work harder, get stronger, and reach a little further each time. I still stand behind this 100%; however, sometimes you have to know your limits as well. If you push too hard you will break. It is like a rubber band. Every time you stretch it to its limit, it can go a little further the next time. If you pull it too far at once though, it is bound to snap.
I have been learning this lesson in the past week. When it came to swimming for my triathlon, I have been way behind in my training due to the pool being close for three weeks. So I decided that I would make it all up last week and this week. I would do two a days and be fine in two weeks. In my head I had it all planned out. That is where my body disagreed with me.
After the first few day my body was in pain. It wasn’t just the normal soreness associated with working out. My shoulder, which are already bad to begin with, were given out. As much as I didn’t want to admit it, I could not accomplish my goal. I still have a week before my triathlon and I will continue to work towards my goal but it looks like I will have to switch to the sprint triathlon which has a shorter swim that I can manage.
When I first realized this, I felt like a failure. However, now I realize that I am just understanding what my limits are. Don’t get me wrong I am still pushing myself and have double my comfortable swimming distance in the past week but sometimes you just cannot do something. I know everyone likes to say “never say never” and “you can do anything you put your mind too” but sometimes you can’t. You can only push your limits so far at one time. Yes if you have the right amount of time, a good plan of preparation, and a burning desire; you can do anything you put your mind to. However no matter how determined you are I doubt you will be able to run a marathon after 2 weeks of training.
This is why it is important to push your limits every day. Whether it is running a little harder each day, or maybe putting yourself into an uncomfortable situation each day; push yourself. Not only will this allow you to expand your limits but it will help you figure out what your limits are. Once you know what they are you will be better able to reach your goals. Now I know how much training I am going to need for my next triathlon. I will know to start swimming a little sooner and work a little harder in the beginning. If you push yourself and find your limits, you will too. So go out and stretch that rubber band but make sure not to break it.
I saw this video on Facebook and was instantly inspired. It demonstrates hard work, dedication, and the no quit attitude I love. However, to me this video is all about the blindfold. As the coach blindfolds his player, he says “I don’t want you giving up at a certain point when you can go further.” Instead of pushing it to the 50 and stopping, where the coach said to reach, he made it to the end zone. This is the key takeaway for me. How often do we set a goal, achieve, and stop even though we can go further?
This happens to me all the time but I never really noticed it until this video. When I am in the gym I do sets of 8. Usually I try to make so I can only get 6 or 7 on the last set but with some exercises I get all 8 and I stop. I stop because I reached my goal even though I could do more. Think about all the times you have done that. It could have happened when you wanted and got a B on an exam instead of the A could have gotten; or maybe it happened when you lost 10 pounds instead of the 15 you could have lost. Whatever the case may be I am sure it has happened to you before; you set a goal, reach it, and stopped.
Really, there is nothing wrong with achieving your goal and stopping because in actuality it is your goal. However, don’t you want to reach your full potential in everything you do? Don’t you want to be the best you you can be?
I hate giving up and even though this really isn’t giving up, it is close to it. This made me start thinking of my goals in a new way. It isn’t just about working hard and not giving up until you reach your goal; it is about not giving up until you surpass your goal and fail. That is what a lot of weight lifters and I do in the gym, we fail. We lift until we can’t lift anymore. This is what we should all do with every single one of our goals; surpass our goals and go until we fail.
I am going to add this mentality to my no quit mentality. I am going to go until my true potential is reach and never give up until I reach failure. I will set my goals and not only achieve but surpass them. I challenge you to do the same. Has there ever been a time where you not only reached but surpassed your goal? How did it feel?
The other day I failed. It was not a big failure but it was still a failure. I was helping a friend move her stuff out of her dorm. In the process, I broke her mirror. I did not shatter it but there was a crack along the bottom. However, as you can see in the picture, it was a large body mirror and if you held it with the crack on the bottom you almost could not notice it. Even though the crack was not too bad, my friend did not want it anymore. I was on my way to the garbage to throw it out and that is when something great happened: I got an idea. I am not sure when or how I got the idea but I just started to do it.
I started with one of my friends. I went up to her, asked her to do me a favor, and told her to look into the mirror. After she looked at herself for a minute I told her to look how beautiful she was. That was the idea. I was going to go up to people and show them how beautiful they were. Yes, it is incredibly corny but I love to be incredibly corny. Mostly, I did it to my friends and people I knew because I did not want to look like a creep. However, I did it to some random people and no one thought I was a creep. They all loved it from what I could tell.
There were two lessons I learned from this project I started. The first lesson was about failure. Although it was not the biggest failure, I was able to turn my failure into something great that made other people’s days, or at least I hope it did. Now contrary to popular believe I do not think you can always learn something or get something from failure. Most of the times you can get some benefit from failure but sometimes you just crash and burn. Sometimes there is nothing you can do about failure but if you try to see value in your failure, something great can happen like with my mirror.
The second lesson I learned was about the power of the little things. I have two goals for every day of my life: to make the most of my day and to make someone else’s day. I am still working on how to do the first part but I try to do the second part through random acts of kindness. The mirror project is just one of those ways. Carrying around a mirror telling people they are beautiful seems pretty random to me but that’s the point. I try to do things that people do not normally experience that could make their day; the little things. Maybe it is just smiling at someone or having a conversation with someone who not a lot of people talk to. It does not matter what it is as long as it puts a smile on their face; that is what the important part is.
I am going to do my mirror project again someday. I do not know when but I know that I will not use a different mirror. The crack in my mirror will be a symbol of my failure and will always remind me to find the best in my failures. The mirror itself will always be there to remind me to make other people’s days.
I failed but I did not crash and burned. The next time when you break a mirror are you going to sit there and soak up your seven years of bad luck or are you going to use that mirror to make people’s days?