Make It Happen Monday – 2013: The Year of Personal Responsibility


The end of a year brings about a natural period of reflection and introspection. Depending on how the past year went it also can bring a flash of optimism, satisfaction, relief, soothing nostalgia, or self-loathing. As I sit here at my warm, dry desk on the final weekend of 2012, listening to Nirvana, and watching a light snowstorm coming down out the window to my right I’m feeling a little bit of all of those things.

Which must mean that it’s been a pretty successful year, as those feelings tend only to come from action and change.

2012 was one of the most intense years of my life. I’ve grown and changed in ways that I would have found unbelievable twelve short months ago. I’ve had terrific ups and equally-crushing downs, both professionally and personally. I’m staring at the last wisps of December from the eyes of ten times the man that looked into the preceding January.

It’s with these eyes that I’m looking towards January of 2013. You know what’s interesting about looking ahead? Since we humans have predator vision, meaning our eyes are forward-facing, if we’re looking forward at something… we can’t see what’s behind us.

2012 is behind me now. Everything I need to know about it, everything I’ve learned, everything that I can take from it, is all in my head and in my memory. So I won’t be turning around and looking back at it. My predator’s gaze is focused forward.

2012 was a wild, awesome, and unforgettable year.

2013 is going to be a more wild, awesome, and unforgettable year.

So how’s your year going to be? Rock-Star Awesome, Charlie-Brown-Trying-To-Kick-a-Football Demoralizing, or Creepy-Old-Guy-Watching-Traffic Unchanging? I’m banking on Rock Star because I’m going to make it that way and the kicker is that when it happens it’ll all be my fault.

Whichever way your year crumbles… Your Fault.

If you’re looking for some big changes in the coming year, that’s something you need to internalize. I’m not talking about some sort of New Year Resolution. Holy crap am I not talking about a New Year Resolution. I’ve made clear my general opinion of New Year Resolutioner’s before, but I wasn’t always able to put my finger on exactly what I didn’t like about them other than that they clutter up the gym.

Now, after all these years, I’ve got a bit more of an idea: It’s not the clutter issues; it’s what they say when you actually talk to them. It’s the overall lack of personal responsibility. They’ve all got the same lines about this or that contributing to them being out of shape and only give passing lip service to “I need to get off my butt”. That’s why most never make it. The ones who take that personal responsibility to admit that they are the ones who control their destiny are the ones who truly make the changes necessary to become success stories. The other 90% or so continue to find someone to blame other than themselves.

This isn’t limited to exercise, unfortunately. I just had a conversation about this phenomenon with one of my clients, who’s by trade a teacher. For those of you who don’t know, I used to work with/mentor/teach/mold the minds of economically-disadvantaged high school students. We were commiserating about failing students and where the fault lies.

In my experience, when a kid was failing a class it was quite often “because the teacher hated them”. Now, I assure you this is not true. For starters, the average high school teacher has way too many students and administrative directives to keep track of than to focus their vitriol on the head of the poor student in question. Second of all (perhaps even more importantly), if the student fails the class… then the teacher has to see them again next year! The only thing worse than having a student you hate is having a student you hate twice.

The point I’m trying to make is that the answer is obvious: The student was failing because they were not doing what they needed to do in order to pass. Period. They were either being lazy in general, or they were not seeking the help they needed if the material was difficult for them. Rather than just admit that and take the personal responsibility for their academic status, it’s easier to say that the teacher hates them.

The Personal Responsibility Train keeps on rolling into adulthood. At this very moment you are living the life that you deep down, in your dark, wet, and squishy places, want to live. If you’re not as successful as you feel you should be, be it in the weight room, on the playing field, on your bank receipts, in the volume of stares and whistles you get as you walk down the beach, or whatever then it’s pretty much your fault, outside of the laws of physics.

Dan Aykroyd

Sure, life is going to throw some monkey wrenches at you. Sometimes it’s even going to try to drop a whole damn tool shop on your head. But how you react to the suck is not based on anyone else. That’s all you. If your physique is more Dan Aykroyd and less Daniel Craig than you would like it’s probably not because your undiagnosed thyroid is acting a little wonky. Instead it’s probably because you ate the tray of cookies that your wife baked. Sure, they were awesome, but the choice was abs or cookies and you rung that Tollhouse Bell… 14 times. It’s not your wife’s fault, either, by the way. So unless you guys have some sort of weird cookie force-feeding thing going on then stop blaming her. If you do… then I’m not judging, but kiss the abs good-bye.

Daniel Craig

Moving on. Since everyone seems to like naming upcoming and outgoing years as “The Year of XXXXX”, I’m going to jump on the bandwagon:

2013 is the Year of Personal Responsibility.

You’ve got a few hours left to suck on the fumes of 2012. Take a few moments of those hours, shut up with the noisemaker (nobody likes it), put down the cheap bubbly (your headache is on its way), and think about the changes you’re going to make in your life to actually hit the goals you’ve been talking about for years. Shred the excuses. Stop laying the blame at the feet of others. Take some personal responsibility for your success, even if it means some hard decisions. You’ve got those predator eyes for a reason, so start acting like you deserve them and go get what you want.

It’s Make It Happen Monday and it’s the end of 2012. It’s your world, go get that nut.

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Comments on Make It Happen Monday – 2013: The Year of Personal Responsibility Leave a Comment

January 1, 2013

Barb Prentiss @ 2:43 pm #

Thanks Isaac once again for your intellect. I truly respect and enjoy your flair. There is so much looking “forward” to do….both physically and mentally. Anything is possible keeping it all in perspective based on our individuality! Thanks for a great past year and what you have helped me to accomplish. Finding the “power within” changes so many things. You make such a difference to so many of us….so grateful. Barb

January 2, 2013

Isaac @ 2:25 pm #


Your progress for the past year has been an inspiration! I can’t wait to see what another year of focus will bring!


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