Norton: Anxious anticipation creates positive energy for the new year (column)
Well, here we are again, the very first week of the year. Many of us have been filled with great anticipation as we awaited the arrival of the New Year: something new to look forward to, a shedding of the past, new goals, new people and a new attitude. It’s awesome, it’s wonderful and we just can’t wait to get started. So let’s go.
And there are others of us who have had anticipation of the coming year, as well. However, instead of great anticipation, these people were filled with anxious anticipation: cautiously optimistic, hoping for anything better than last year and nervous about the changes that are to take place. They, too, look forward to the shedding of the past; however, there is still a piece of them that is almost dreading the new goals, new people, new job or other “new” thing that they have aspired to for the coming year.
So, is it dread or is it anticipation? It could sound something like this; “I am so excited for this year; this is the year I am going to get back into shape, lose some weight and eat right. I can’t wait to get started.” And then the alarm goes off; “I am dreading going to the gym. There has to be an easier way.”
Or maybe it sounds a little like this, “I have been happily anticipating my new role for the past two months; this change is going to be terrific, new job, new people, bigger responsibilities. This will be my year.” And then, “I am dreading this new commute. Why did I agree to take on these extra responsibilities? This is terrible. What was I thinking?”
As we try to avoid all of that negative self-talk, we can use our great anticipation and even anxious anticipation to create positive energy. And we can use that positive energy to fuel and drive our new initiatives, use it to pursue our wildest dreams and leverage that positive energy to reach every goal we set for ourselves. It’s when we lose the nervousness or get too complacent or too comfortable with what we are doing that we allow ourselves to buy into any excuse that causes us not to make a positive change or walk away from a worthy goal.
Top professional athletes, motivational speakers and performers from all walks of life use anxious anticipation to prepare for a big game or fight, a keynote speech to a large audience and to get ready to sing or perform in front a theater or an arena full of people. Many of them will use anxious anticipation as a tactic or strategy to make sure they are ready to give it their very best while not taking their opponent or their audience for granted.
What is the one thing you are looking forward to the most next year? There is a good chance you have already set a goal to achieve it or that it was probably on your New Year’s Eve list of resolutions. Whatever it is, whatever you are anticipating happening, just remember that it is absolutely OK to be a little anxious; as a matter of fact, I highly recommend a little anxious anticipation to help you realize your dreams this year. So, don’t sweat the anxious anticipation; embrace it.
How about you? Does a little anxiousness make you even more unsettled or do you know the feeling of positive energy that comes along with anxious anticipation? I would love to hear your New Year story and what you are anticipating most at goto firstname.lastname@example.org. And when we can keep a few butterflies in our stomach as we pursue every endeavor in the new year, it really will be a better-than-good week and a Happy New Year.
Michael Norton is a strategic consultant, business and personal coach and motivational speaker. He writes a weekly motivational column for the Vail Daily.