Why do we make them? What's the point? We'll probably just make a similar one in another year...
The New Year has us all reflecting on the past year...
What went well?
How can I improve?
What do I want?
What don't I want?
How can life change for the better?
The nature of a resolution typically takes on self-criticizing tone. "I've behaved this way, but I want to act differently." Then, we live another year, and repeat the process. We either find a way to self-sabotage our great resolve, or we find another weak-spot in our lives to shine the spotlight on.
I know this all too well. Perfectionism has always colored the view I have of myself. I have served as my harshest critic for a long time, and still find traits or behaviors to pick on. And it's funny how picking on things from a critical tone doesn't really set the stage for authentic change. In fact, the opposite may be true. In my experience, perfectionism and the accompanying self-criticism merely weakens my foundation for true personal growth. Ultimately, I live another year, picking on myself along the way. I approach the time for reflection and resolution seeing endless opportunities for change, and not really feeling that good about myself! Maybe I'm left to make the same resolutions as before..
Can anyone relate, maybe in just the slightest bit?
I want to make a case for truly sustaining resolutions, to the point where the next resolutions you make may in fact be the last!
Change feels good. We all want it. Craving a sense of growth, development, and evolution is in our DNA. It’s what makes and sustains life.
But, that doesn’t mean we need to beat ourselves up and tear ourselves down along the way. Doing so only undermines the true growth we crave. Sustaining change requires a resilient foundation. Building a resilient foundation requires a sense of commitment, curiosity, and compassion.
Before creating a resolution or goal of any sort, it is important to come from an authentic place. What does that mean? Simply allowing your intention to come from internal motivations rather than the outside world. For example, rather than creating a resolution to lose weight so your friends accept you and no longer make fun of you, choose to release your weight because you love and care for yourself and want to feel good inside! When an intention comes from a deeper and more honest place within, it carries so much more meaning and purpose.
Truly Sustaining Resolutions - The ”3 C’s”
Commitment is like a muscle. You don’t go into the gym and take the heaviest dumbbell off the rack. You start light to develop the muscle fibers, while also gaining comfort and confidence along the way. Even though we all want to commit to something big, a weal commitment muscle may lead to dropping the dumbbell, or stressing yourself to a point of doing more harm than good. Don’t bite off more than you can consistently chew. Start small and slow. Rather than committing to running 5 miles every day of the week, commit to walking 30-minutes 60 days per week. When you do decide to run a few days per week instead of the daily walk, you’re doing more than you expect of yourself, not less. And when the day comes where for whatever reason you just want to sit on the couch all day, you don’t have to punish yourself for doing so.
Curiosity means a sense of willingness and openness to change. While we all want to see results and experience ourselves in a new light, it’s hard to do so if we are not truly open to something new. Having a connection with our curiosity invites us to consider new possibilities without being attached to outer circumstances and expectations. Like a young child turning over rocks in the dirt mesmerized by the earthworms that reside beneath, we too can approach our lives from a place of genuine curiosity. This sort of ‘beginner’s mind’ keeps us open to the infinite potential that lies in each and every moment.
Compassion is undoubtedly the most important of these three qualities. In fact, if we only vowed to be more compassionate with ourselves and others, I believe that would be enough to truly transform this world. Being compassion means truly accepting all aspects of ourselves and others in all moments. The deepest sense of compassion is unconditional love. While compassion literally means “to be with suffering,” it is compassion that is the answer to resolve suffering. It is ironic that only when we completely accept and tolerate what is that we open a portal to true and sustainable change. Just as Einstein said, “problems cannot be solved from the same level of thinking used to create them,” we must drop into a consciousness of compassion where we are able to fully accept and be with what is. It is in this space where sustainable solutions naturally flow from.
So, whatever your resolutions are this year, I invite you to infuse the 3 C’s into them. Then, maybe your resolutions this year may be the last you make - or at least the last time you attempt to work and fix something from a place of self-criticism.
Blessings of Health,