New Year, new you. Sound familiar? We’ve all heard it. Many of us have said it; even fewer of us feel any assurance in our ability to make it come true. Resolutions fly about as wayward as falling snow. We make promises for health, fitness, family, or friends. But so often there’s this semi-joking expectation of failure. And that preemptive guilt, that fear of disappointing before you’ve even begun, can paralyze our potential for progress.

Embracing change is not impossible, but it has to be intentional and persistent, beginning with a solid foundation. That groundwork for any personal development is grace. Now, we don’t write ourselves a blank check or anything; rather, we extend a certain level of understanding. We’re not striving for perfection but instead working toward improvement. We must give ourselves room to falter without allowing such slips to define our journey. This age old motto serves as a perfect guideline: Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start again where you left off.

 We must give ourselves room to falter without allowing such slips to define our journey.

Building on this firm foundation then becomes a series of little victories. It’s as if we’re learning to crawl before we can walk. Setting interim goals and recognizing those successes brings the final destination quickly into view. While we’re crafting habits and defining objectives for a new year, it’s vital to envision them a week or month at a time. Those internal checkpoints are put in place to gauge progress. So, whether cutting back on caffeine, maintaining a workout routine, or calling mom as much as we’ve promised, we must be conscious of any advancement made. Enrichment takes time, and if we’re staring up at that looming mountain of resolutions without watching the next step it’s easy to lose our balance.

Perhaps the most important part of ensuring we flourish, however, is the environment in which we live. In many instances these days we’re confronted with the idea of a “tribe.” It’s that steadfast group of people who inspire, support, and nurture our passions. They’re kindred spirits as well as devoted achievers. And their significance in this personal journey is paramount. While we must start on our own and ultimately make the daily decisions, they are the unwavering accountability to keep us constant.

Our tribe can be a precious resource in this newfound resolve toward development. That is, if we let them. In order to have any amount of mutual trust, we must start with humility. Letting others into our struggles or shortfalls, even when it’s for the best, will be an uphill battle. But the reward is always worth the struggle. We are no longer just staring up at that looming mountain alone. We have a comrade to grab our arm when we stumble or cheer us on when we doubt. This mutual commitment toward seeing one another succeed offers a tremendous relief throughout the year to come. So craft an arrangement that fosters dependability — whether weekly texts, monthly coffee dates, or a perpetual email chain — find ways to connect regularly and sustain momentum. Beautiful moments are sure to come from this form of intimacy, intentionality, and vulnerability.

… find ways to connect regularly and sustain momentum.

Finally, the key to victory is knowing how to celebrate. Whatever waits at that mountain summit must be worth the climb it took to get there. Perhaps the route changed along the way or more failures occurred than expected. But regardless of any detours, we ought to revel in the accomplishment. Whether that’s planning a dinner, taking a trip, or relaxing with a staycation spa day, we must commend all the demanding tasks we’ve completed. So, foster the atmosphere, form the tribe, and find the trail to triumph.

Have you established habits to foster success in the upcoming year?

Image via Michael Giroux, featuring model Rachel McMillan.


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