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So here's my obligatory post paving the way for another year. I'm really not sure why we make resolutions. I don't know if somewhere inside us we are trying to predict the future. Draw lines on a hazy piece a paper so we can call it a map. Or maybe we do it just so we can say we hit this check point and that throughout the year to mark the passing of time. Cause we all know that with each year added on to our lives the closer those time markers get and the faster we zoom through life. I guess they are little speed bumps for us.
Then there is the other thought, that they are there to either remind us how masochistic we are deep in our bones when we beat ourselves up for not meeting any of our goals. Or maybe it's the opposite and we want to feel the rush of narcissism that accompanies those few moments in time when we actually keep a resolution.
Who really knows? And why does it really matter anyway? People are so cynical about resolutions anymore. If we are going to hit the cynical note on them let's then view them in their full display of glory as they signify the fact that our society can't keep our word even to ourselves Which as we all know means we can't keep our word to anyone else either. I mean really, as humans we have no honor. We hold very few things sacred anymore. We make promises with our fingers crossed behind our backs. We tip toe around words so that we can feel honest when we say "I didn't lie" And our lack of follow through in New Year's Resolution is the litmus test of that, isn't it? Oh, what's that? Too much cynicism? Sorry about that. I had to get it out. You know that last little bit of soul cancer that gnaws at you. That's what cynicism is by the way…soul cancer.
Anyways, I say all this half-joking and half-truthfully. It's great to set goals. But it's also great to set realistic, obtainable goals. But this is the kicker, the big part that people don't pay attention to when making resolutions. This realistic, obtainable goal has to be something that you actually want. Deep down in your soul want.
I know what a lot of people are saying right now. But I DO want to be thinner, I DO want to be healthy, I DO want more money. And you know what, you are half right. You do want those things, just not all the time. The truth is you REALLY want that extra slice of pizza more. You REALLY, REALLY want to sit down after a long day instead of going to the gym. And you know that there is no way you are going to find a reason to talk yourself out of buying that new pair of shoes that will look awesome on you when you've dropped those 20lbs you resolved to back in January.
And that right there is the disconnect. We know what we want long-term. But we let what we want short-term cloud everything. Think of it like this. I want you to look across the street next time you are outside. That building (or tree or whatever) is fairly large isn't it? Now, do me a favor. Put your hand right in front of your face. Can't really see anything anymore can you? All the sudden your tiny little hand is the only thing you can focus on. And that's the way it is for us when we make resolutions. We make these huge claims to live a better life. But the moment some tiny little thing is shoved in our line of vision we forget all about our goals. (The building represents your resolution to lose weight and your hand represents the piece of pizza, or whatever you feel best suits your situation, got it?) Some times I blame this on TV…the whole watching people having problems and seeing them be solved but never really seeing all the steps that go into it. We think things are supposed to work themselves out in a montage. But they don't. They need hard work, dedication. So we give in.
This year I ask you to really think about your resolution.
Think about what IS a resolution …what are you honestly saying when you say that your New Year Resolution is too ________ (fill in the blank)
Replace resolution with any of the following, which ever resonates with you the most:
aim, boldness, constancy, courage,dauntlessness, decidedness,
decision,declaration, dedication, doggedness,earnestness, energy,
firmness, fixed purpose,fortitude, guts*, heart*, immovability,
intent,intention, judgment, mettle, moxie*, obstinacy,perseverance,
pluck, purpose, purposefulness,purposiveness, relentlessness,
resoluteness,resolve, settlement, sincerity, spirit, spunk,
staunchness, staying power, steadfastness,stubbornness,
tenacity, verdict, willpower
Those are all other ways to describe what you are really saying and I don't think any of them seem to be saying "give up" or "don't take this seriously".
Think about WHAT you want. What does achieving your goal actually mean? Fill your goal out and make it substantial and real in your mind. Not a little line drawing in your mind's eye that can be distorted but something with substance.
ex. You want to be healthier (good old stand by on that one)
Think about WHY you want it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…who doesn't want to be healthier….why do I need a reason for this? Well, this is where you start to go wrong. If you don't know what you want, then when you are faced with obstacles you'll let them trip you up and give in. So, come on, WHY do you want to be healthier? Maybe so you can play with your kids, run a race, walk five steps without fainting…whatever it is you have to grab on to your WHYs. Otherwise you are just making some superficial statement that you wouldn't mind if it came true but really have no investment in so don't actually care about it.
Think about HOW.
Ok, yeah this seems like an English lesson from primary school but just go with it. Remember that making a resolution isn't like making a wish. There's no genie that will make it happen. You need to sit your butt down and make a plan. Treat it like war. Out wit every set back that will pop up by being prepared for it. Sticking with the healthier goal you would sit down, plan out your meals, schedule time to do healthy activities. Think of contingency plans for when you are weak. But know that the "HOW" in all this is your map to reaching the end. And if you wander around lost it will take you longer then you ever thought, just ask Moses.
and Finally Step 5:
Listen to Nike and Just Do it! You have no idea how much energy you will waste trying to convince your conscience that it's ok for you to give up. It's the WHEN part of it all. And the WHEN is now. What ever day you make your deceleration you can't put off the starting point. You need to go with it.
So now that I've dropped some knowledge on you I'll tell explain one of my resolutions.
1. Work towards being a better artist.
Why? Because it makes me happy. Because it's a talent that was given to me and it would be wrong to waste it. How will I go about this? I will dedicate myself to drawing each day. And so that it's not unrealistic, just little things. We are talking about sketches not oil painted masterpieces. And to prevent falling into weakness I've prepared my sketchbook and pencils to be portable. (Just like a Boyscout) That way I have no excuse, but it will also give me a place where I can go back and see my growth over time.
Will I be Da Vinci at the end of the year? No. But I will have a better understanding and a more refined skill in my craft. And that's the point. If I go into this thinking that I should be a famous artist by summer time then I'm going to be sorely disappointed, give up and be no better than when I started.
Some of my other goals for the coming year are to learn to embrace the sunshine and let go of the clouds a bit more and to also let go of things that clutter my life. Both of which I have plans for.'
Really I think resolutions are the first seeds we sow in the year as we look forward to springs arrival. We decide what fruit we want to eat later in the year and feel that the first day of the new year is the perfect time to start preparing for it. So plant your seeds with mindfulness and nurture them in love and you can watch them grow.