The problems with resolutions

 In *from my heart

So it’s New Years. So you made a resolution. What is it this year?

I’ll share my typical checklist:

-lose five pounds

-go to yoga EVERY DAY

-finish writing book

-resolve all unresolved psychological issues

-do something really important that will make everyone love me

Hmmmmm. Lofty, anyone?

Resolutions are excellent.  They invite us to visualize, set intentions, make goals.    Like many of us, I love the idea of a clean slate.  From this brilliantly cleared slate, my life is an open book with nowhere to move but forward into greater and loftier etheric realms of evolution.  Like wiping away the niggling and painful habits of the past in one fell midnight-bedazzled swoop so that I emerge phoenix-like into the new year, ready and prepared to seize the day and realize my dreams.

So then what happens when mid-February rolls around and I have not gone to yoga for a week and have gained two pounds and my book is a mass of unrecognizable scribbles on a post-it note?  My ego happily chimes in: you are not good/dedicated/hard-working/talented/insert adjective here enough to get things done. You might as well give up now and eat another cookie.

Surely this is not the way.

The yo-yo of self-esteem that depends on goals being met or lost creates a win-lose situation.  Well guess what?  Eventually, we all lose.  While goals are great for getting us motivated and giving us vision, what do we do when the thing we wind up with doens’t match what we thought we wanted in the first place?  For example, maybe the book didn’t get written.  But instead I went to India, studied yoga for two months straight, and had an adventure?  Keeping resolutions might keep me so busy lamenting over what I didn’t accomplish that I forgeto to actually feel good about what DID happen!

Here’s an exercise.

Based on what you were able to do last year, write out (in retrospect) your resolutions for 2009.  Take stock of all that you DID accomplish.  The strange, unexpected twists and opportunities that life dumped in your lap.

Now, how does that feel?

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Comments
  • Richelle

    Darn good, if I do say so. I try to think of resolutions as Intentions. Each year I reaffirm my desire to live deliberately, whatever that turns out to be. I feel that as long as I am taking action with deliberate intention, there is success in whatever outcome there is.

    This idea also leaves plenty of room for spontaneous joy and less space for suffering and disappointment. Ah, the art of being vague….how convenient.

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