Category Archives: new start

Resolving Resolutions

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.

A New Page

A friend of mine recently took a yoga class where the instructor typically shares a thought for the day at the end of the class. She told me about what he said, and I thought it was a great idea that I wanted to pass on and expand upon. He said that when he was younger, he always looked forward to the start of school in the Fall. Each year he would begin his classes with new pens, new pads of paper, new erasers – all the school supplies he needed to learn, read, write and grow. And it was the “newness” of it all that made him smile. That’s what he remembers most. He has translated that into being able to look at a ream of blank paper today and see all the possibilities that lie in that blank, new supply.

Furthermore, he has taken this idea a step further to recognize that each morning, there is a new piece of paper on which he can write his script for the day. Each day is new and brings new possibilities – a fresh start. Lovely.

I’d like to take this notion even further and say that if yesterday’s paper is still around – we must take care with what we do with it. When you finish a day, do you throw the paper away? Do you file it? Do you shred it? Or do you fold it neatly into a small package that you carry with you for the rest of your life? Well, with some things, I imagine we’d want to carry the paper with us. Like when we get married, or have a child, or celebrate other of life’s momentous occasions. But what happens when we carry all the pieces of paper with us, including those that were not so momentous, or life-enhancing? If each day is a piece of paper in itself, and you are 40 years old, you’d be carrying 14,600 pieces of paper with you every day. Do the math: that’s 29.2 reams of paper — In other words, a file cabinet!!

So – what can we do with the papers of yesterday? Well, we have options. We can create a “file cabinet” of sorts, and store everything – or we can choose what we save (and might want to revisit) and what we discard. Either way, it’s about choice. Just as every morning we can wake up and choose to pull out a fresh piece of paper and write a new script.

THree THings

Body – How heavy is the load of old paper you are carrying? Is it manifesting physically in your body?

Mind – What possibilities can you dream up in your mind for today’s piece of paper? What opportunities exist that you haven’t yet created?

Spirit – A blank piece of paper is pure. It’s white, light and bright. Your spirit is pure in the same way. When we write on something so pure, and imprint it with color and ink, are we consciously choosing what marks we want to make – is someone choosing for you?