When I was a kid, I'd give my days a grade in my diary with a brief explanation. "Today was an A day, because my parents let me have sweet cereal for breakfast." Or, "Today was a D because my sister yelled at me."
I don't grade my days anymore, but I'm still that intense. I'm a personal development junkie. My life has taught me that everyone has an incredible power to dramatically change and improve her own life.
While I love goal-setting and bucket lists, you really only need to ask yourself one question to change the trajectory of your life: How can I solve the one problem in my life that keeps resurfacing?
Yes, some problems are easier to solve than others. But years can flip by and many people are still complaining about the same problem today that they were complaining about five years ago. When I see people who are stuck, I want to jump up and down and say, "Solve it. Solve it. Solve it." Wouldn't it be freeing to unpack that problem and leave it behind for good?
Whether it's money woes, depression, a bad relationship, a weight issue, a job you dread, or something else, unpack that problem this year. Make the hard decisions. Put all of your energy into tackling that problem, wrestling it to the ground and not letting it defeat you. Solving a problem we carry on our backs is exhilarating and opens up our lives to amazing blessings, new opportunities and growth.
Here's a game plan to ditch that one lingering problem for good:
1. Take action.
If you put all of your energy and focus into solving this one, reoccurring problem in your life, what would that look like? Make a list of action steps you can take. Is this a problem you can research and study to solve? Can you talk to a professional to solve it quicker? Or find a mentor who you know can help you on this issue. Fight for your best life by solving your problem with an intensity of focus. Time is ticking by.
2. Do things differently.
Nothing is going to change if you don't change. If you are stuck at a certain weight and frustrated that the scale won't budge, fitness experts would tell you to do something differently, because what you are currently doing isn't working. This same simple logic applies to every problem in our lives. Sounds obvious, but sometimes we need a little reminder to toss out the familiar and be dramatically different.
3. Don't set up your own prison.
Be open to change. Some people put up their own walls by meeting every idea or suggestion with a dead-end road. I know someone who wants a higher-paying job, but lives in a depressed area where there are few jobs. I know someone else with a thriving small business who can barely keep up with client demand. She wants to make more money, but when I suggested she hire some people to work for her, she said, "I don't trust that they'd do as good of a job as I'd do."
There's someone else I know who wants to leave a bad relationship, but she's scared of what life will look like on the other side, so she's frozen. If all you see are roadblocks, nothing will change. Get out of your own way and choose to see solutions and possibilities instead.
4. Start by talking about your new story and getting enthusiastic.
Don't keep retelling the story of your problem. When we keep reliving our problem by hashing it out with other people, we just stay stuck. It feels good when people understand us, and what issue we are struggling with, but eventually talking about a problem is just a form of inaction and procrastination.
5. See yourself differently.
If you want to be in a new space in your life, start seeing yourself in that space. Act how you want to be. Allow yourself the freedom to grow and evolve. Be open to change and remind yourself that you are resilient — daily. A mindset of "I've got this" can propel you forward.
Solve your life's biggest problem. Don't carry it with you for another year. Your one and precious life awaits.