The Reversed Cinderella Complex

Well, as I am writing this post, it is January 2, the day after New Year’s Day. And as I am writing, I am wondering how many people are suffering from what I call; the Reversed Cinderella Complex. Do you remember what happened at the stroke of midnight in the story of Cinderella? The Fairy God-mother had already told Cinderella that she had to be back home before the stroke of midnight because, at midnight, the magic spell would wear off and everything, including her beautiful gown and the golden chariot would turn back into what they were before the spell was cast. Well, you know the story, Cindy was having such a good time at the ball, that she lost track of time! She was barely out before the stroke of midnight, when her beautiful gown turned back into rags and her grand chariot reverted back into a pumpkin!

The Reversed Cinderella Complex is the opposite of the Cinderella story. For some strange reasons, many people believe something magical happens at the stroke of midnight at the beginning of the New Year. They are energized with new resolve and new determination! They think there will be a substantial (almost magical) change in their situation when December 31 turns into January 1. But alas, after the midnight balls and the midnight church services, even as early as January 2, reality sets in! They discover there was no magical or miraculous change, their dream-gown is still a regular dress and their grand chariot in their dreams is still the same old pumpkin they drive every day! Yes! For most people, the only change that occurs between the last day of December and the first day of January is the change on the calendar!

As much as we like to believe in the Cinderella fairy tale, the truth is; real change is not magical, real change is work! As I’m writing this post, my social media feeds are still flooded with wishes of a Happy New Year. But, I understand that the New Year will not be happy just because of ‘wishes’ for it to be so! The New Year will not even be ‘new’ if there is no effort to make it new! Neither will the New Year be happy if that happiness is only determined by what happens! My point is, there is really nothing magical about the New Year! If we want the New Year to be ‘happy’ and ‘new,’ then we must, in the words of Captain Picard of Star Trek; “Make it so!”

Changes do not magically or mysteriously happen! Changes do not occur by themselves; changes do not make themselves, we must make them! Do you really want a Happy New Year? If you do, then you must work to make it so! You must change to make it so! Perhaps, one of the reasons we often fail so quickly in our New Year resolutions of change, is because we try to do too much at once! We try to tackle more than we can handle at one time. Let me show you what I’m talking about! Some years ago, I made a startling discovery that transformed the way I look at life! I discovered the fact that life can only be lived one moment at a time! There is a gospel song in which the singer asks the Lord to teach them to live one day at a time, but I discovered, that is impossible! We don’t live one day at a time! We don’t live one hour at a time! We don’t even live one minute at a time! We only live; one moment at a time! Therefore, instead of focusing on the year, it would be more practical and beneficial to focus on the moment! Instead being overwhelmed with what we can do this year, focus on what changes we can make in the present moment. The old proverb says the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step! Ask yourself: “What changes can I make right now?” “What can I do differently, in this present moment?”

If we consistently make the effort to change our moments, we will change our minutes! Those moments and minutes, will change hours and days! The changed hours and days, will transform weeks and months! The transformed weeks and months will translate into a transformed year! No! It’s not magic; it’s work! Are you willing to put in the work to actually ‘make’ the New Year a ‘new’ year? You can do it; one moment at a time!

Resolving Resolution Relapse

Resolution listIf you are like most people, by now you have made at least one New Year’s resolution. And if you are like many people, by March you will suffer a relapse or even give up on your resolve to fulfill that resolution! But why is it that most of us are long on promise but short on performance? Well, I think there are several factors, but I have some ideas that might help resolve resolution relapse:

  1. Make reasonably realistic resolutions: Be reasonably realistic when making your resolutions. Don’t resolve to tackle the giants if you haven’t dealt with the ants! Master the little things before you tackle the big things! It was David’s victories over the lion and the bear that gave him the confidence to face Goliath!
  2. Break down your resolutions into bite-sizes! Just as you can’t eat a whole meal in just one bite, it is unreasonable to expect to reach the top in a single step. But, you can do it one bite and one step at a time! Inch by inch; it’s a cinch! Don’t worry about getting through the year, just deal with the next minute! It has been said that we can only live one day at a time. But, the real truth of the matter is this: We can only live one moment at a time! If you do something each moment of each hour of each day of each month that will move you toward your goal; you will reach your goal for the year!
  3. Make your resolutions measurable. Don’t just resolve to be “a better person.” How much “better” do you want to be? What does “better” look like? You must be specific to be terrific! Set definitive measurable goals. If you walked into the bank and just asked the teller for “some money” chances are fairly good that you would get in trouble! But if you asked for a specific amount, they might at least check to see if you had an account!
  4. Be willing to pay the price! Don’t succumb to the common human weakness of wanting something for nothing! Understand there is a price to be paid if you are going to reach your goal! It’s going to cost; time, money, commitment, convenience, discomfort, sweat, tears, etc. Whatever it is; it’s going to cost! You must accept that reality and be willing to pay the cost.
  5. Write it down! Put it in writing! Writing it down causes your resolution to take on a life of its own. A goal is just a wish until you write it down! The reason most people don’t write it down is because writing it down makes it more official. If they fail, they want to be able to deny the existence of the goal because denial eases the pain of failure. However, it is the act and the fact of a written goal that makes us more prone to follow through. A written goal is a contract with ourselves that we are more likely to honor.
  6. Publish it! No! You don’t have to formally publish it; just tell it publicly! When you write it down; it is a contract with yourself. When you publish it; it is a declaration to others and that will make you even more accountable and more likely to follow through. Not only will it make you more accountable, but publishing it will also help you to enlist the help and encouragement from others who can help you reach your goal.
  7. Make resolutions that will stretch you. Some people don’t keep resolutions because they are too big and unrealistic. But on the other hand, some people don’t keep resolutions because they are too small! Resolutions that are too small don’t excite or stimulate! Somebody said that a good speech is like a tasteful lady’s skirt: Short enough to be interesting but long enough to cover the subject! In the same sense, your resolution should be big enough to stretch you while at the same time not so big that it breaks you! The good thing about a resolution that stretches you is that even if you fail, because of your efforts, you will at least be bigger than you were before you started! As the old saying goes: “Reach for the moon, you may land upon a star!” (Apparently the one who coined this saying didn’t realize the moon is actually closer than any star, but it’s the thought that counts!)

This list is by no means exhaustive; it is just a little something to provide some general guidance. But whatever your resolution might be, if it’s noble, if it’s just, if it’s right, if it’s for the common good, if it’s accomplishment will make you a better person and this world a better place, then resolve to do it! And even if you have a relapse, start over again because failure is never final unless you quit!

My wish for you is that you resolve your resolution relapse so that this year will be your best year yet!

Happy New Year and Happy New You!