The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise –with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. ~ Abraham Lincoln
A new year is nearly upon us, and with 2012 on the horizon, many will undoubtedly participate in the process of developing annual resolutions. It is a refreshing activity. An opportunity for a fresh start…a clean slate, so to speak. New goals and aspirations…a chance for personal improvement. Perhaps this will be the year that I achieve fluency in Spanish, or develop a “go-to” system for personal organization. Maybe I will stick with a regular exercise routine and succeed at eating healthier. Or maybe I won’t.
Resolutions are generally about change, and as longevity and success rates of new initiatives exemplify…change is challenging. Whether altering exercise habits or changing classroom instructional methods, making changes require us to face a significant fear – the potential for failure. The beauty of New Year’s resolutions is the opportunity to hit the reset button on unsuccessful endeavors…a chance to refocus. The problem is that we frequently approach resolutions, and change, with an “all or nothing” mentality. It either works, or more often than not, it doesn’t. But what if we changed our view of failure?
Change requires that we take chances. If we make the assumption that the changes we undertake are purposeful and necessary, it is imperative that we accept failure as a natural – even necessary – part of the change process. Unless we are willing to do so, we risk paralysis of action. Failure forces reflection, encourages innovation, necessitates creativity and leads to problem solving.
So, back to those resolutions. When we make a commitment to change, it is imperative that we allow ourselves the opportunity to fail. Instead of approaching resolutions, with an “all or none” attitude, give yourself a break and allow opportunities to make mistakes and benefit from the learning process that ensues. Failure does not have to be fatal…in fact, it can be a sign of thinking anew.
My New Year’s resolution is to be unaccepting of the status quo, be reflective of my actions, be willing to change, and take failure in full stride. It’s part of the learning process.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. ~ Winston Churchill