There is always a renewed sense of purpose and resolve when we begin a new year. We try to put the stale year behind us and move forward into a new fresh one. But it isn’t always easy. In fact, we get pretty enamored with old, ineffectual ways of doing things. They become like our little “keekie”, a security blanket we relied upon as a child. It looks pretty silly to walk around with a “keekie” as an adult. The same holds true for elements of our life that have out lived their usefulness but we cling to none the less.
Take men’s underwear. I heard on a morning radio show that men replace their underwear on average every eight years. Eight years! I think I’ve got that average beat by a year or two. I remember in college getting rid of my undies only after they become just an elastic band with a Tarzan flap in the front. We need to let go of what’s going away. What habit do you have that is keeping you from being fully alive? What about a business plan that no longer corresponds to the realities of the new world of work? You know what they are. We all have an innate sense of what ballast needs to be dropped from our balloons in order to soar.
But how do you do it? There are two strategies for letting go this new year.
- Risk. We tend to be risk adverse. Studies show we would rather stay put in a bad but known situation than take the risk into a potentially better but unknown future. It’s called ambiguity aversion. We live by it a lot. We wallow around perfecting plans and strategies without every REALLY doing anything about them. Busyness is an illusion that something is really happening. Risk on the other hand is the evidence that something really is. Think about this. Those who take huge risks make two major mistakes a year. Those who don’t take huge risks, play it safe, make two major mistakes a year. You’re going to blow it anyway, you might as well do it risking something that matters.
- Relax. We are on edge these days. Lots of reasons to be- the economy is plodding along, our interconnectiveness with the rest of the world turns global tensions into local worries. Yet its imperative we learn to relax if we want to thrive in an uncertain world. It sounds counter intuitive but it takes some work to relax. You have to find some time, enhance it with activities that refresh, and then not feel guilty about it. It takes intentionality. Each time we choose to relax we are conditioning ourselves to follow the pace of peace everyday in our frantic world.