Now that we are at the end of January, you’ve probably heard any number of people in your life – friends, family, coworkers, or that stranger you struck up a conversation with at the grocery store – mention new goals that they’ve set for themselves, or resolutions they’ve made to kick off 2016.
But keeping a resolution or achieving a goal is not always easy. There are distractions, there are ways to procrastinate, we get busy at work, or a personal crisis throws us off our balance. It’s too easy to hit a bump in the road and after breaking the resolution once (or a few times), and then blame ourselves for not having enough willpower when we fail to live up to our own, often very high, expectations.
I have never been much into resolutions, in part because I don’t want to become a statistic (University of Scranton research suggests that just 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals) but also because I believe that there is more to a self-improvement than an outcome or result.
Many of my own roads to success are not only not smooth, they are downright Escher-like. Whether it was getting into an eka pada koundinyasana or finishing that online Introduction to Programming class, some monkey always throws a wrench into what was supposed to be smooth sailing. In my experience, these roads are not straight and steady slopes to the top. The path to success is more akin to a two-year old’s first experimentation with crayon on the wall – it’s rough and looks like a massive scribble. Every minor or major obstacle – bumps in the road, if you follow the analogy – can lead to failure, to setbacks, and can make you feel like you’re back where you started.
I firmly believe that every journey will involve some amount of scribble, and by that definition, recognize that failure is almost always a prerequisite for success. I believe that the many infinite moments of a journey are what transform a person, and not just that single instance of success.
So be kind to yourself and enjoy the scribble – even you do not always know where your journey will take you.