It’s the start of a new year which means it’s resolution time! Time for new projects and goals. Time to set out to make lasting changes to our lives. Unfortunately, these lasting changes usually last anywhere from a few hours to a few months. All in all, our shiny new resolutions tend to succeed only at disappointing ourselves.
Now, before you preemptively take a swan dive into that old familiar pit of despair I ask you to, as Bill Nye would say, “consider the following.”
Pretend, if you will, that you are riding along with Jake and Elwood Blues in their retired cop car, the bluesmobile. As you careen toward the state line (your goal) you must dodge the Nazis and the cops (distractions and temptations) at every turn or risk a trip back to Joliet Penitentiary (failure).
On your journey you’ve managed to snake your way through Illinois (your project/resolution) performing your way past dangers, distractions and even Aretha Franklin. Despite all that, up ahead, there’s something in the road. Elwood spots it first but you recognize it instantly. The bridge is out. You can’t keep going. You’ve failed.
For some, failure is a road block. It acts as a termination point. The end of your project. A signal to start all over again.
It need not be so.
For all of you wondering why I’ve gone with a Blues Brothers analogy, here it is. I say this year, we make like Elwood and Jake and use that road block as a launching pad. We accept our failures and use them as motivation. I say we floor it and send our projects sailing over our failure in a hail of glory.
Failure doesn’t have to mean starting over from the beginning. It can mean starting again from where ever you are when you fail. It means suiting up for the next game, even if you lost the last. It means baking more cookies even if the last batch tasted like clay. It means continuing deeper into the cave even if you peed yourself because the bats were too scary.
If you drop ten of the thirty pounds you resolved to lose then go on a burger bender, it doesn’t mean you need to give up and gain it all back. Keep going from where you are. If you plan to write a novel this year and you fail, don’t give up. Don’t ditch your project. Keep writing. Finish what you started.
Will I succeed at all of my resolutions this year? Probably not but I’m going to try to be like Elwood and Jake when those failures come. I’m going to make my bluesmobile fly.