My typical New Year’s resolution list is a beautiful thing to behold. It’s typically filled with aspirations I dig deep into my heart to find and have the courage to put on paper. Then why are 90 percent of the items on my list repeats from last year? And why do I feel so crappy about myself for not having fulfilled on them. As I looked at the list this year, I realized that a lot of my resolutions were simply attempts to try to fix things in my life that I feel criticized for, or ways I was trying to look good for everyone else “out there” and not really things that I would do just to feel good, period. So this year, I devised a way to radically re-do my resolutions and optimize the changes of them really sticking and truly leading to the creation of a life I enjoy more.
For example, “Get a daily planer app and get super organized” is partially an admirable goal to willingly increase my practice of discipline. On the other hand, it’s a “fix it” to avoid disappointed or even angry people who didn’t get what they wanted from me when they wanted it or how they wanted it.
And it’s here that I pause and remember that one of my larger life lessons right now is learning to let go of people pleasing and to practice instead introducing integrity and right action into all that I do and then allowing others to think, say, feel however they may. My practice is to create and know my own self worth from the inside, not have to get it from external validation. So the New Year’s Resolution is edited now to say “I only give my word when I know I can honor it and I believe in doing what I committed to do.” And an additional resolution is added: “I do what I know is right in the moment and when I know I won’t be able to honor an agreement or honor it on time, I communicate that immediately and create a new agreement that I can honor.” This feels like a truly honorable discipline to practice and one that will “stick” far longer than the “get your life in order” app I downloaded last week, but haven’t found the time to figure out how to use yet.
What resolutions on your list are obvious (or not so obvious) “fix it’s”? Look for items on your list that feel like “should’s. These are the ones that you know you’ll have a hard time sticking to or are the first you’ll abandon (and then beat yourself up over for not doing). They may also be chronic items that appear on the list year after year and that you truly have the best of intentions for fulfilling on, but somehow never do. Let me tell you right now, without radically shifting these into true actions that inspire you, you probably never will check these off your list.
Another great example is “Being Healthier” or “Working Our More and Eating Healthier.” Every year I see the well intentioned among you filling the gyms and yoga studios. By April, at least half, maybe more, of you will have reverted back to the old familiar excuses of time, money and convenience and that new sport or work out you were committed to will have become a burden you’d rather avoid. The kale chips and quinoa will have been replaced once again with ruffles and pasta.
What I had to get in order to get past the resistance of going to the studio or gym and turning on my juicer in the morning instead of the coffee maker, was again, that sneaky subconscious and they “why” of it all underneath my resolution. Getting radically honest with myself I realized that I resented a lot of the gluten free, dairy-light, organic only people because I felt like I could never live up to their perfectness and shiney happy health. I saw that I had make up a whole story about who these people are and what they eat for breakfast (or don’t) to shame myself into feeling not good enough. The story in my head was that I’d never measure up and if people knew that I ate mac and cheese the night before my last yoga class, they’d never come back. I almost expected public ridicule and scorn. I saw that if I altered my diet to live up to some expectation of beauty and health that “those people” out there want, I would always self sabotage. It wasn’t until I was at my wits end with chronic migraines, having exhausted all that Eastern and Western medicine had to offer that I dusted off my juicer and got serious about using it every day. After about 10 days of feeding myself with the juicer as my “medicine” for myself, and experiencing the amazing results: even, strong energy all day, glowing clear skin, shiny hair and yes, a firmer tummy, did I really get what the practice of nourishing me simply so that I could feel good, was all about. So the resolution changed to: “I will feed and fuel my body with what makes my feel energized, clean and vibrant!” If the shape of my body changes, or my weight changes, or doesn’t, either way, great. The intention first, is the feeling good. This feels like something I’ll want to keep up with.
Now it’s your turn. Take your list of Resolutions give them a radical re-do this year. Get underneath these promises to yourself, scrub out the “shoulds” and re-create your list to be fully for you and from a space that creates excitement and joy in the action of fulfilling on them.
Happy New Year!