As a new year begins, most of us take time to reflect on the past year and assess what we did well and what we can improve on. We celebrate life and what it brought – the joy, the grief, the sadness and everything in between. For me, this year could not have been any better. I did have some pretty bad low points, but I choose to embrace both the good and the bad. Dwelling on what went wrong, and spending too much time celebrating successes may mean I get to lose out on bigger and better opportunities, and so the idea is to keep on going.
I would like to share a lesson that I got and managed to use in this past year. A lesson that I hope will inspire someone to work towards success by breaking away from the fear, procrastination, and sheer sluggishness that sometimes holds us back. I did not achieve everything I wanted to, but I know that I am definitely in a better place because of this lesson.
The lesson: Betting on it.
We all hate losing, at least most of us anyway, and I think this is what makes this lesson/strategy work well in most cases. The idea behind betting on it is that you bet on something you know you cannot afford to lose. This way you push yourself hard to achieve that thing you would really love to get done. Whether it’s losing weight, starting that project you have been putting off, making more money, living a healthier life, being happier, getting out of a toxic relationship – absolutely anything you want to achieve.
This strategy works whether you are the one looking for change or you would like to help someone better their life. If you are trying to help someone achieve a goal, but you know that they may be unwilling to put in the work, then make them bet on something you know they are probably unwilling to lose. This may involve tapping into their pride or their fear of losing to someone they feel they cannot lose to. If you are the one trying to get something done, as was my case, then you have to: make a conscious decision that you are ready for change, know what you are unwilling to lose, and get someone to be accountable to during the whole process until you achieve your goal.
As with all things, this lesson requires discipline and a genuine interest to change things, otherwise, it becomes one lesson on a list of many that just does not work. You will need to bet on something that will hurt to lose, and you have to undertake the exercise with someone you hold in high regard and who will be able to judge your efforts objectively. There is no point in getting your buddy to oversee your weight-loss efforts when that friend does not even have an interest in healthy living. The whole process needs to be done with someone who has a genuine interest in seeing you succeed, someone who will push you out of your comfort zone if need be, and someone who will be there to give wise counsel and empathy when you need it, because trust me, you will need it.
The beauty of this lesson is that you do not always have to achieve exactly what you set out to do. Actual results may be a bit under or over what you bet on, but ultimately the lesson here is being disciplined enough to go through with it and to create the habit of getting things done. This is why undertaking the challenge with a committed person is vital because the person will see if your efforts warrant winning or losing the bet. With betting on it, the idea is to build character; a character that should make getting things done and being successful easier in the long run.
This lesson worked well for me, and I intend to carry it into the new year to help others the way it helped me. The method may be ineffective for you, but remember that quitting is not an option. We keep on going and searching for more ways to improve ourselves. Ultimately, our determination, perseverance, and self-belief will pay off. Keep going and keep believing.
Here’s to the new year!