I was at a wonderful New Years Eve dinner and as midnight approached our good natured host asked us to go around the table and declare our New Years Resolutions. What a mood killer that was. People rolled their eyes, yawned or shook their heads with consternation. No one but my husband would risk one. The defenses were rolled out. Classics like- ‘I never keep them’ or ‘Who has ever kept one past January?’
The whole conversation left me feeling how pointless it was to think change was possible. Wherever I am I am stuck there and I better get used to it like these rational folks.
As a Life Coach, goal setting is an area I’m trained in. But I’m not naïve about the incredible courage it takes to change. With time and experience, wisdom comes. And so, I have gathered some wisdom over the years in effective goal setting.
Having a discussion with your self about whether or not there is any point in a New Years resolutions? Let me add some thoughts I have on this.
1. Goal setting is great. It doesn’t need January first. Every day you put your feet on the floor and get out of bed, is a fresh chance to change anything and everything in your life. Think about that. Change is always on the menu.
2. Not too tight, not too loose. It’s a phrase my husband heard at a meditation retreat and I find it applies to everything. A New Years resolution needs to be not too tight, not too loose. If you think you can go from couch potato to the gym every day at 6 am you are crazy and in no time will find yourself injured and or disheartened at how many days you miss. If you must set a goal, make it not too much, but not too little. Success is what you are looking for. Not another chance to beat yourself up and fail.
3. The goal you set wants to be resonant and thrilling. Ask yourself: What about this goal speaks to me? What higher value of mine does it represent? If I achieve this, who will I be able to be? If you want to be successful, than what you are claiming has to speak to you. Don’t bother with what your mother/boyfriend/bestfriend or grandma wants you to do. Tap into the great source of how it is making a better world for you and others and you will never flag in your pursuit.
My new years resolutions? I have had some thoughts during the long dark nights of December about what I want to create as the light returns.
First of all I’m cleaning house with my thoughts. It is time for new ones. Tired old stories that I have listened to for too many years will find that the rerun contract has run out. To change my life I’m thinking new things that I’ve never thought before.
I’m also committed to bring more gentleness into my daily life. For me and others. Gentleness for me means more forgiveness and compassion for my failures. This includes everything from leaving tea bags in the sink instead of throwing them out right away (which makes my husband crazy) to compassion for never having figured out money sufficiently to have planned for retirement. Gentleness for others. The louder they yell and they angrier they get, the more gentle I’m resolved to become. I’m going to out gentle the world and see what happens. Another resolution this year is to pursue work that gives me joy, that uses the best of my gifts and that provides well for those I love- in that order. And finally, to continue to see what is magical and inspiring in the world around me every chance I get. From the shadows of the curtains in the afternoon sun, to the sound my dog makes when he sleeps and even the way the suds from the dishes nest in the corners of the sink some days.
Over all, this year, I’m just going to hang out and see what is in front of me every moment, and know I’m enough for whatever it is and no matter if it feels like a good thing or a bad thing, I’m going to be okay.
New Years resolutions give us another opportunity to leap on the idea of change. You have the power to interact with life from your best self at any given moment.