Fitness & Health

The ‘What If’ Guide To 2021 – Why Failure Could Be The Best Thing To Happen To You


Failing spectacularly could be the best thing to happen to you in 2021 and I am urging you to approach this new year with a big pinch of irony.

I believe that the keys to making positive meaningful changes and achieving our goals in 2021 is to understand that our apparent failures and surrounding anxiety actually holds the key to unlocking our own unique superpowers and hidden truths.

New Year’s resolutions have become a running joke - we flock to the gym, buy the diet books, make a pledge to go dry for January and then it all comes crashing down a few weeks later when we revert back to the old status quo often feeling cheated by ourselves. This is because the way we are taught to think, feel, act and expect of ourselves, doesn’t support change.

If this sounds familiar then it is time to approach 2021 with a radical new mindset and an ironic sense of humour. Here is my ‘What If’ approach to your new year’s goals.

Failure Is Success

There are a number of reasons why our New Year’s resolutions so often fail but in fact, I believe that this failure is ironically the first step to our longer-term success. We need to celebrate the failures.

Let’s start by focusing in on the concept of failure. Failure is not what we think it is. It is not the opposite of success. It is however, a necessary part of the success journey itself because each time we try something and it doesn’t work for us, we are stepping closer to uncovering what truly does. We can only achieve success by eliminating what doesn’t work! Think of failures or ‘set-backs’ as milestones toward success.

Have you ever considered the fact that failure doesn’t even actually exist as a ‘thing’ - and what you perceive as failure is just that, a perception? It’s an illusion you’ve created, often to get out of trying again. Instead, any ‘failure’ could be seen as evidence of your excellent tries, effort, and faith. The exact three things needed for success. If you don’t like the word failure, chuck it! Think of them as ‘incorrect methods’ or ‘unhelpful choices’.

It’s okay to make such wrong choices – reaching a goal is an iterative process that takes trial and error. It’s important to remember that when we try something and don’t succeed the first time, this does not mean that the ‘can do’ thought or self-belief was wrong – it is actually your assumption that everything must happen first time or straight away that is incorrect. Furthermore, there would be no satisfaction in our wins, if they were always guaranteed.

Rather than setting your new year’s goals against a backdrop of a fear of failure, how about accepting that the road-blocks and obstacles that may come your way are ironically a necessary part of your journey to long term success? Every one of them is marking progress on your journey.

Be careful what you wish for

Once you’ve accepted that failure is not to be feared, and instead embraced, the next step is to be careful what you wish for.

One of the reasons why our goals so often elude us is that we unconsciously fixate on the wrong thing. It is important to be clear on what it is you actually do want to create in your life. This is not just because ambiguity leads nowhere but because what we focus our energies on, we actually manifest. All too often, we get this really simple bit really wrong and we accidentally focus our energy on what we don’t want, and we engage in a self-perpetuating negative cycle.

For example, desiring to ‘lose weight’ is ironically, still focussing on the concept of and emotion of having excess weight. Focusing instead on feeling wonderful in your body as a healthier version of you, removing all thoughts and feelings around ‘weight’, and you will be far more likely to reach your goal, as your orient toward feeling wonderful.

This approach makes sense for all other areas of your life too - because it one of understanding how change works. We have a tendency to focus on our problems rather than make space for the solutions to unfold. Think of finances: when we focus on debts we wish to lose, we increasingly perceive money as a problem of scarcity and loss and so we also don’t invite in any new opportunity for wealth to grow. We focus on the lack rather than the gain.

Do you want to give your professional life or maybe your relationship an overhaul? Again, the key is to focus on the energy and joy you desire from your career or relationship - as a pathway - not the fatigue, boredom or frustration that you may be wishing to change. All too often, people actively create, grow or manifest precisely what they DON’T want because of this deeply ironic confusion.

Flip the negative

When you find your new year goals challenged by anxious self-limiting beliefs, such as  ‘what if... I can’t do it/ what if…. I fail/ what if… I don’t like it’.... ask yourself instead ‘what if... I LOVE it? Then what? What if… this really works for me, what will I do with all the new energy?” What If? If you are going to give credibility to negative beliefs and hold them as though they are meaningful, then how about you also give equal credit to their opposite too? You’ll be amazed at how ‘flipping the negative’ can change your outlook on what’s really possible.

Step out of your discomfort zone

The notion of stepping out of your comfort zone is nothing new but for many making this move is often easier said than done. So again, a radical mindset shift is needed. It’s time to view your comfort zone as the very (ironic) thing that is actually making you so uncomfortable. It feels like a safe place of walls and barriers - but it’s actually a self-made prison. I call them discomfort zones and only by finding the thresholds to go beyond, to the version of you who you will become, can you cross those barriers.

So, focus your 2021 goals on taking new positive risks – changing your career, taking up a new sport or hobby, writing that book or facing a fear or anxiety head on. Cross the threshold of your own barriers and notice how in one step, everything is possible and available to you.

2021 is set to be a year of more uncertainty and challenges but this is not an inherently bad thing. It also brings with it a great deal of hope, possibility and choice. Whether you choose to start the year with a specific set of goals or resolutions or, you’d rather focus on just taking one day at a time, noticing as you go, approaching this new year with a pinch of irony in any challenge and a mindset for growth and adventure could take you on a new and magical journey that knows no bounds.

Ultimately, we each have a crucial choice. We can choose to remain stuck in our own status-quo, hiding in our (dis)comfort zones or, we can start to truly ask, What if…?

Ironic Fundamentalism is available to purchase from Amazon, or

Feb 4, 2021
Fitness & Health

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