That's right. I want to invite you to toss 99% of your resolutions out the window.
Because you may already be setting yourself up for failure. Let me explain why.
More often than not, resolutions (1) arise from a sense of dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs, and (2) they imply taking a fix-it attitude to achieve them. They can also often be driven by an underlying 'should'; as in, "I should volunteer/exercise/see my family more often."
All three of these starting points carry an inherently negative motivation: the dissatisfaction, righting a wrong, or "shoulding" yourself into action. As a result, you're more likely to find yourself in exactly the same place (or worse) come next year's resolutions.
So humor me for a minute, toss your resolutions aside, and ask yourself this question:
Are your new year's resolutions and intentions coming from a place of love or from dissatisfaction?
There's a monumental difference between the two.
If your resolutions are coming from a place of dissatisfaction with some area of your life, I can almost guarantee two things will happen: (1) you're not likely to enjoy the journey of attempting to achieve them, and (2) you'll likely fail at achieving them anyway.
Trust me, I know this all too well for myself: when we start off from a place of focusing on the thing we dislike, we prime ourselves to be constantly dissatisfied with what is. There's always going to be something to be dissatisfied about.
Even though some will say that dissatisfaction fuels growth, the reality is that actions fueled by dissatisfaction will typically yield nothing other than more dissatisfaction.
Is it any wonder that the new gym membership is often abandoned by February? Or that the 10 lbs. that needed shedding in January have turned into 15 by fall?
It's not dissatisfaction that fuels growth and improvement. What fuels growth is desire.
Dissatisfaction resides in focusing on what you don't want, and it perpetuates the acute awareness of what is lacking or wrong.
Desire, when it's fueled by self-love, focuses on what you DO want, and it expands your appreciation for what is already present and good.
Once you pay attention, you notice that goals arising from dissatisfaction sound completely different than goals arising from a self-loving desire.
Here's what dissatisfaction and focusing on what you don't want sound like: (By the way, this is often the first thing people say when I ask them, "what do you want?")
- I want to lose 20 lbs
- I want to get rid of the pain
- I want to not feel stuck
- I want to not have _____________ anymore
Here's what desire (fueled by self-love) might sound like, instead:
- I want to feel so light and fit that I can hike tall, beautiful mountains. I love feeling fit.
- I want my back to feel flexible and strong. I want to dance and do sports again.
- I want to feel excited about my day everyday. I want to love the life I'm living.
- I want to feel alive, energized and radiant.
Do you see the difference?
Notice how the first set focuses on the thing that is not wanted. Any surprise that these goals often fail to produce the results people thought they were striving for?
I invite you to read the two lists again. Read each item in the first list and then read the corresponding bullet in the second list. Notice how you feel when you read each.
The self-love-fueled desires feel expansive and joyful. They immediately start to create an emotional experience of what it might be like to actually BE at that outcome.
It's not the same to be very unhappy about your weight and to constantly think about wanting to lose weight, than to intensely want to feel strong, lean and fit, and to constantly imagine how great you'd feel to run your first half marathon. Night and day difference.
When you ask yourself, "what do I want?" notice the first words that emerge. Write them down.
Examine your answers and be curious as to whether you automatically tend to focus on the thing you don't want, or on your actual desired outcome. Do your goals speak of dissatisfaction and dislike? Or do they speak of a loving desire to experience greater joy, vibrancy and expansion in your life?
Here's my invitation for 2018: put the resolutions aside. Don't look for cures, hacks, or the latest "new-year, new you" programs that promise to fix your problem.
Now entertain this question:
What would you do if you were to LOVE yourself more deeply and fully this year?
Write out all of the ideas that may come to you. Let me give you some ideas of the things that have been floating around in my heart-space (this is the first time I write them, by the way):
- I'd love to actively create opportunities to play more often
- I'm excited about the idea of making new, delicious, nourishing recipes for my family
- I'm loving my new money practice and have created a money date with myself every Friday morning
- I've been enjoying yoga a lot again and would LOVE to do more
- I love soaking baths and the glow of my skin when I consistently do dry-skin brushing, so I'd love to do more of that
- I am releasing all rules, even my discipline around meditation, and will let my heart and my joy guide me in allowing the perfect unfolding of things as they need to.
I believe that in the final analysis of our lives we will come to realize that there was nothing we ever needed to do, be or become, and that all we ever needed to "do" was to realize we could always access perfect happiness within EACH and EVERY MOMENT of our lives.
That is my sole intention for 2018: To allow myself to learn how to BE more joy and to let joy and peace guide me. From there, I am trusting all else will follow.