I was always one of those people who set New Years’ Resolutions/goals for the year ahead – to earn X amount, to exercise more, to relax more. My personal opinion is that goals for ourselves, our business or performance; whatever it is, are important to have – they help to keep focused if nothing else.
New Year’s Resolutions can include:
- No chocolate
- No alcohol
- Gym 3 or 4 times per week
- Losing X amount of pounds or stone in well
- To achieve that job promotion
These are different kinds of goals that I’ve just mentioned; some are ‘refrain from’ goals and some are ‘aspirational’ goals. Many of us – including myself in this, give ourselves new and pressured targets to achieve something because it is the turn of the year. What is it about January? How is it different to say, the 1st May, or the 1st September?
It seems, it’s all about having a new start, a new beginning, a new ‘US’ if you like. It’s great to approach a new year with enthusiasm, renewed vigour and hope. We also know though that most New Years’ Resolutions don’t last – we generally go back to living the way we were the previous year. The thing is, a year hasn’t past – that January 1st date is only one day – just one day after the previous year and one week or so since the festive period.
We’ve got ourselves in this moment, so whether it is the beginning of January, the start of spring, or the wind down of summer, we’ll always just have ourselves in this moment. That is quite powerful because it can help us to understand where those New Year’s Resolutions are coming from.
With our intellect in play, we make sense of a lot of things from the outside world such as:
- Gym memberships – we should be going to the gym, four times per week and start the year fresh
- We should be losing weight now that we’ve over indulged
- We should be aspiring for things that we didn’t last year
- We should be detoxing our bodies
- We should be believing the things that we’re hearing or reading regarding what is important, expectations and so on
Experience tells me that it doesn’t work like that. There is something deeper at work here.
What if we’re content in just making decisions that we’re making for ourselves and know that they’re the right decisions?
What if we just know that opinions and expectations can influence our thinking and we have the choice not to take things so serious?
What if we can listen and be guided by ourselves, rather than outside pressures, and know that we are creating our own experience in relation to those outside factors – not the other way round?
This is our time and I’d like to invite you to consider for a moment, where are our New Years’ Resolutions really coming from?
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Do we really need to make a ‘new’ us?
Do we really think a new ‘us’ starts at the beginning of January and that everything that was going on in the outside world will stop affecting us? In reference to the outside world, I was thinking of day-to-day things that occur such as social drinks and invites, nights out, work deadlines, child getting sick, long days, car breaking down or an argument with our partner.
These are all day-to-day things that I know from experience and also in working with clients, that tend to lead people into going back to their old ways.
The thing is, it might look like there was an old us and that we’ve magically created a new us, however, that hasn’t happened. Likewise, even though we may have behaved in a certain way previously when an outside world event has taken place, it doesn’t mean to say we will behave in the same way next time.
I’m not saying that going to the gym is not healthy and has many other benefits; I’m not saying that drinking less alcohol has its benefits; I’m not saying that eating lots of junk food is good for us and I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t aspire to things.
It’s more about, if we’re coming from a place of secure thinking, as opposed to insecure thinking, then we’ll feel – we’ll just know what we need to do to work towards any goal, whether we decide to call this a ‘New Year’s Resolution’ or a ‘Mid-Life goal’, or a ‘Pre-Summer Target’.
It’s not the gym and losing weight that will make us feel secure and better about ourselves; the saving money that will make us feel safer, or the job promotion that will lead to less stress in our lives. That comes from within us, in the moment.
“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” – Helen Keller
We don’t necessarily need to create a new ‘us’
We are new in every moment. Please allow that to sink in for a few seconds – we are new in every moment and all we need to know is our next step and the next step after that as we work towards any goal that we set ourselves. In doing that, those steps that we are taking will allow us to feel like we are gliding effortlessly, moving forwards and achieving things that we never felt capable of achieving.
There will be hiccups along the way. As they happen, we’re in danger of not following through on those resolutions we’ve set ourselves. So what? How and why would that matter? To who does that matter? Your rules or someone else’s?
Do we think that everything ends on the date that we’ve set ourselves to achieve that ‘thing’? It doesn’t. Not to mention the judging of ourselves or being judged by rules or parameters that have been set, that are essentially made up.
Perhaps a healthier way of judging ourselves is against the things we are doing, as opposed to the things we’re NOT doing. That way, if those hiccups do occur we may have already achieved two weeks of our intended four week goal, been to the gym on less occasions, or even managed to get out of bed on 4 out of 7 days, rather than none. Our results may not have been the results that we’d set ourselves, however, we still haven’t failed. We still haven’t lost. We’re still in the game and we are the ones that can choose to believe whether we are still IN the game or not.
We’re new now, we do not need to create a new version of ‘US’. Trust ourselves and accept ourselves for who we are and have confidence that we’re still in the game. We were never out of it.
Enjoy the year ahead (and by the way, I mean that from the date you’re reading this!). Whatever happens, just keep on being you.