We’ve all said good-bye to 2011 – and I think I’m safe to say that more than a few of you were probably quite happy to see it go. It’s been a tough couple of years for most of us.

But it’s the start of a New Year. A time of fresh beginnings, hopes for better things to come, a chance to start over in some aspects of our life. Traditionally, it’s that time of year when we are supposed to make resolutions for the coming year.

But why should we bother making new year’s resolutions…aren’t we just going to break them–like all the years before? I’ve found myself falling into this self-fulfilling prophecy myself.

When we look at this debate closer we discover the real truth behind our question. The biggest reason we don’t make resolutions, is the fear of failure. And when we think about all the resolutions we’ve made in the past and not followed through on, it’s much easier to play it safe, by staying in our comfort zone. But fear of failure can paralyze us and prevent us from accomplishing anything good in life. Let’s look at a couple of         examples to explain this.

Let’s look at the life of one of the most successful inventors ever, Thomas Edison.  

While most of us were taught in school about Edison’s many inventions, how many of us know that he was also the inventor who was the “greatest failure?” He tried over 11,000 different experiments before coming up with the carbon-impregnated filament, used in the electric light bulb. About midway through these thousands of failed experiments, he was asked why he hadn’t given up, after failing so many times?
Edison replied, “I haven’t failed at all. I have successfully identified 5,000 ways that will not work. That just puts me closer to finding the way that will work.”

One of my favorite examples (which my children heard many times as they were growing up) is what I call the Babe Ruth Theory of Success. It goes like this: At the same time that The Babe held the record for the most home runs, he also held the record for the most strike-outs. Ironic?  

So what’s the lesson here, and how does it pertain to making resolutions? It shows us that we can’t worry about failure as we are setting our goals. We can’t worry about the fact that we might not be successful–at least the first time we try. But somewhere along the way, if we keep trying, we will be successful. It’s paramount that we strive to stay inspired, set goals that push us forward, and keep taking those steps, no matter how many times it takes.

So what can we do to keep that inspiration alive, so that we can make those resolutions and set new goals for ourselves?

Look to others who have already succeeded in the areas you are interested in–get to know them personally, if possible. Find a mentor who can keep your focus ever forward. Or read a biography of a person you admire; learn about their philosophy concerning work and life. As you read, you’ll also discover that they were quite human, and made mistakes too – but it didn’t stop them.

Watch movies that have inspirational themes. The one personality trait you will see over and over again is the element of persistence. Successful people don’t give up. That doesn’t mean they don’t fail–sometimes repeatedly–it just means that they when they do fail, they view it merely as a challenge to overcome. They believe that they will find a way to succeed.

Whenever you read something that inspires you, take the time to write it down. Then post it where you will read it often. Sometimes the simple act of re-reading that quote will give you the kick in the pants you need to tackle a big project, or a task you are not looking forward to. Use it to your advantage.

I’d like to share a little tip that I use for my own daily inspiration. On my computer desktop I have a folder called Daily Meditation. And in it is a document that I open and read every morning before I begin my work for the day. It’s a simple little letter that I wrote to myself, with instructions to remind me of all that I want to strive for in my daily life. Here are just a couple of my lines, as example:

I have been given this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

I will learn something new today–and not worry about all the things I still need to learn.

Why not create your own personal Daily Meditation? Use words that will keep your thoughts on a positive level, so you are encouraged to stick to them.

Try reading your meditation each morning, and then, at the end of each day take a moment to write down three things that you are grateful for that day. I promise you that within a few weeks of doing these exercises, you’ll find yourself discovering many inspirational moments in your own life.

I’d like to leave you with two of my favorite inspirational quotes:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would come his way.”    Scottish Himalayan Expedition

A writer friend shared the following quote with me, but I don’t know who the original author is. I would love to know who to attribute it to–if anyone recognizes it.               

Success is always one step beyond where you were about to stop.
                                     Never give up
                              There is always a way

I’d like to encourage you to write down your two favorite quotes or statements,  and post them where you will see them everyday.
I wish you the best for this brand new year, full of possibilities and options. I hope you will follow your dreams ~