Happy New Year!
I hope you are reading this today filled with the promise that often comes with the beginning of a new year. That the uncertainty of life breeds excitement, rather than fear or worry. The truth is that life always has been and always will be uncertain.
In the midst of it all, I hope you are able to make some new and exciting goals. To allow yourself to grow and evolve from where you are in this moment. And if you make resolutions, to consider how you frame them in your mind while most likely simultaneously making a plan or even taking immediate action.
1. the firm decision to do or not do something.
Some may argue that it is just a matter of semantics, but I stopped resolving years ago.
As humans we are dynamic beings. When we allow ourselves to be present in our own bodies and feel all of the emotions we realize that all feelings are part of the human experience. And we realize that we can experience it all. We stop running from ourselves, and are able to walk into experiences with open minds and hearts to not only potentially enjoying them, but to actualizing our full potential.
The word resolve also fuels the notion that we need to be fixed. Although we all can benefit from acknowledging our flaws and finding tools to not let them overrun our lives, we are fully worthy just the way we are. You can stop thinking that you need to hide your darkest parts and instead bring them into the light. Talk to someone to work toward a place of acceptance so you can grow in love. That is the only place that you can truly start your constant, life long personal evolution.
A firm decision feels stifling to me. We do not benefit from white knuckled control.
And we also don’t have to wait for things to be resolved to be happy. We don’t have to be happy to be okay. Life is arguably 50/50—positive and negative. But when you allow yourself to believe that emotions can be felt rather than labeled you can stay present through them all. Setting the goal of arriving at happiness is probably the biggest way to ensure you miss experiencing it along the way. (Read that again— it is true).
Set goals and intentions to practice. Semantics? Maybe. But in case you didn’t know this— words evoke a lot of meaning for me.
Choosing goals that require us to travel far out of our comfort zone is vital to a meaningful human experience, but we don’t have to resolve anything. Instead, we can move forward trusting that we can navigate the path that we are on by being intentionally present in all moments of our daily lives.
You don’t have to seek out “Doing One Hard Thing Every Day!” Or believe that “You Need to Be Better Today that You Were Yesterday!” If you are present you will experience hard things—sometimes so small and sprinkled throughout that if you don’t live in a victim mentality you count them as lessons or even miss labeling them as negative entirely. And then there are other times where they come at you in the most suffocating way, demanding attention, presence, and refection.
This is life. And you don’t need to resolve against fully living it.
Feel. When you start to feel discomfort acknowledge it and sit with it. Don’t pick up your phone or turn on the TV. Don’t pour the drink. Do the same when you feel overcome with joy. Don’t move through it quickly. Allow your heart to feel as if it may burst. Let the tears come. Be fully alive.
Connect to your thoughts. You will have those default feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The ones you resolved years ago that you “should not do” and “will not ever” do again. Don’t push them away, but instead let them in. Inspect them for truth. Keep at it until you are ready to honor them with authenticity or replace them with honesty.
Break the cycle of shame. You will make mistakes and break promises. And when you do be kind to you as you are to others. And if you are hard on others in your own mind, or through thoughts and/or actions, consider what is triggering your own insecurities or feeling of inadequacy.
Practice. It isn’t about reaching anything, but instead practicing it all every single day.
My decision to sign up for Ironman St. George is a goal that I wrestle with almost daily. I truly know that I need something far out of my comfort zone. But like all humans, when I am tired (which is quite often!) my brain tries to find ways to help me lessen my burden.
I recently waited up for one of my teen boys in the middle of the night after he decided to disobey our rules. While doing so I allowed myself to truly consider if this was the best time for a goal of this caliber. My schedule does not always allow for the rest I need, often in my control but sometimes not. The mornings are early and the training is hard. I am in the thick of perimenopause and some of the symptoms are challenging to manage at times. I am working, editing my book, emotionally supporting my family, managing a household, and trying to be a loving and present family member and friend.
But the next morning the one thing that I did resolve is that I would stay the course, honoring my goal each day with intentionality while being willing to pivot if truly needed. After some sleep I could see the truth— I am living as the most authentic version of me. And part of this me right now is the need to have a hard physical goal. To let it be a catalyst to feel. To connect. To have self compassion.
To not resolve anything other than to keep practicing it all.
Set goals. Gather tools. And practice with intentionality and grace.
Welcome to 2022.