Just sayin’, New Year’s resolutions usually don’t last.
On January 1, 2018, all over this round multi-faceted world we’re stating resolutions. We’re pleading, begging, praying, insisting, intending and focusing. We’re gonna nail it THIS year. We didn’t nail it in 2017, 2016, 2015, or 2014, but THIS year we shall succeed.
We shall exercise more. Weigh less. We’ll get on the scales in February and weigh ten pounds less! We won’t be bad and drink and those extra glasses of wine, shall we? We won’t eat all those cookies, will we? We won’t lose our temper as much, get angry at politics or fail to give to charity.
We’ll self-improve, darn it, we will! We know all those disturbing elements of ourselves that get in the way of being a 100% (or 73.2%) good person. Darn it, if we could just curb our excesses we would be happy! We would die delighted on our death-bed, nodding, saying, yes–we succeeded in being the kind of human we wanted.
Just sayin’, dear reader, New Years resolutions usually don’t last.
They last while our good intentions fuel up with energy and commitment and Sisu. (Finnish word for grit, bravery, resilience–at least around these parts. True Finns have scoffed at this interpretation in my blog; I am willing in advance to be chastised.)
So what are we to DO, my friends?
We want to be better, we do.
We want to improve, we do.
We want to cease our slovenly habits and approach our ideals.
We want peace before God or deathbed.
I don’t have the Answer (with a capital “A”) but I do have some suggestions based on things that seem to have worked for yours truly:
- Notice. Vow to notice, no matter what. What goes in our mouths. What comes out of our mouths. What we do; what we don’t do. Vow to watch. Noticing goes a long way toward waking us out of our habitual slumbers.
- Be aware. OK, my friend, I’m talking about noticing again in terms of awareness because it’s so damn important. Be aware of what happens just before we reach to devour the entire box of candy. Be aware of what we’re trying to avoid before we habitually self-destruct into an old pattern of reactivity. Stay as aware as possible, moment to moment. This is the resolution-less resolution that works. Awareness is Queen, my reader!
- Don’t avoid negative feelings by binging, drinking, gambling, oh you know the drill. FEEL the negative feeling without a story. Just stay close to the feeling without making it into a novella. I have learned so much in recent years how valuable it can be to feel negativity without thinking about the story. This feeling of bare emotion can change SO MUCH in our lives. It’s the story (yada, yada, yada) which perpetuates negativity forevermore.
- The resolution-less resolution can involve stating intent. Stating what we want. Noticing what else we seem to want even more. And then really truly looking at why we want that other thing more than our original intent. Don’t insist upon intent; rather, court intent. Find out why we’re rejecting it in favor of another love. That is key. What is the other love that is operating in our actions?
- The resolution-less resolution can also mean accepting ourselves for who we are: in our imperfect perfection. THIS IS WHO WE ARE! IN ALL OUR FOIBLES! We can still wake up and try every single day to notice, to be aware, to feel our feelings, to state our intent, seeing what’s true in our daily actions. But we can more fully embrace ourselves in who & what we are. Here you have it, my friends.
Are you resolving, this New Years? Have your resolutions worked in the past? What would YOU say to your younger self, to a child, to your best friend who wanted to know how to be a better person in 2018? Have you discovered the secret of making a resolution-less resolution?