By now, we’ve had about 5 days for our New Year’s Resolutions to settle into our minds. How is that going? Have you been to the gym? Cleaned out your refrigerator? Started that novel? Written in your journal? Meditated daily?
Years ago I wrote a piece on the difference between New Year’s Resolutions and New YOU Resolutions. We often use milestones, such as birthdays, the start of the month or week, or the beginning of a new year to serve as the catalyst for change. Typically, however, a date on a calendar is not inciting enough to create lasting change. That has to come from within. It has to come from YOU.
Which brings me to the point of this week’s writing:
If your resolutions list isn’t in alignment with who you are and doesn’t come from within you, you are setting yourself up for failure before you begin.
Another way to say this is that expectations, as we know them, are based on who we are, and not who the other person (or situation) is. It’s an internal desire, imposed on an external person or thing. A recipe for disappointment, frustration, and suffering.
New Year’s Resolutions are the same in the reverse. Resolutions typically involve some external input or measurement that we then choose to impose on ourselves internally in much the same way we use expectations – only now it’s a mirror image.
In both instances we are setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. So, how do we set ourselves up for success?
The key to creating achievable results is to start with goals that come from within and are aligned with
who you are, not who you think you should be;
what you want, not what you think you should want; and
when you can do something, not when you think you should do something.
Externally-derived resolutions are exercises in will-power not pathways to change. Sometimes will-power can result in lasting change, but often times the reverse is true. And even if it does result in change, it typically involves feelings of frustration, deprivation, and lack. Not the most positively reinforcing experiences.
Change has to come from within. The strongest most long-lasting ember or catalyst is the one that burns deeply inside your soul, the one that emanates 100% from within you. Change derived from an internally-vetted desire has the greatest possibility for success.
So, now that you’ve had 5 days to try on your resolutions – and now that you have a new perspective on how to approach them – what are you going to change?
Is it really time for you to create a to-do list that makes you feel further away from your center, in pursuit of some externalized goal? Or is it, perhaps, time for you to create a road map that is in alignment with who you are inside, to honor your inner knowing and voice, and find strength, peace, wellness, and happiness from an internal place of Self.
One last thought: The beautiful thing about all of this is that you get to decide… every moment of every day. Change, growth, and alignment are not tied to a milestone on a calendar.