New Beginnings: Resolutions or Not?

This isn’t going to be your usual ‘Make a New Years Resolution List’ blog.  I don’t believe in them!  This is about seeing the New Year as new beginnings, a clean slate.  A new opportunity?  Yes, absolutely!  But, let’s scrap the pressure and the expectations!

This world has become like a water-logged towel that we are trying to squeeze the last little drop out of.  We are all suffering from overwhelm, stress and the pressure to be ‘who knows what, to who knows who’.  We are living our lives under a cloud.

Find an opportunity to set yourself free

I’d like to think that a simple shift in our way of thinking can move us towards a better way of living.  Focusing on what brings us joy instead of focusing on achieving some goal or other.  Surely, finding happiness is the prize?  And, happiness can never be an end goal.  Happiness is a process, a journey, a way of being.  By all means, set a New Years Resolution to ‘Be Happy’, but understand that it is not finite, it is your framework for your life.  Being happy is a choice and a way of living.

When we create New Years Resolutions they become like the infamous ‘diet’ that hangs like a noose around our necks.  This is like walking in the opposite direction of happiness.  The weight of the expectation becomes too much for us to bear and we inevitably give up on reaching our goal.  My advice?  Don’t do it to yourself!  Be kind to yourself.  Find a motivation that brings you closer to joy.  Set a goal to play more guitar, spend more time outdoors or sign up for a pottery class.  Don’t hold a knife to your throat that you MUST loose weight or quit smoking (these are usually the big ones, aren’t they?).

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Photo Credit: Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

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Why am I trying to stop you from making a change?

I’m not!  The intentions behind New Years Resolutions are good and I have no problem with them.  My problem is with the pressure we put on ourselves.  This kind of pressure is never a good thing.  If you are serious about making a change the date 1st January won’t make a damn bit of difference.  Using New Year as a push to make a change isn’t a good idea.

Why not change your perception of what it is you are trying to achieve.  Look at what the end results will be for you once you’ve achieved your goal.  If you are trying to lose weight, stop that nasty self-talk that I know you are using on yourself and instead take small positive steps towards your goal.  Then, think about what life will be like when you have reached your goal.  The same applies no matter what the goal.  The same way dieting will only ever work if you change the way you view and experience food, the only way a resolution will work is if you change the way you view and experience your goal.

Make Self-Love the new benchmark

Everything you do needs to be done from a place of love.  Love for yourself.  That way when we decide we want to open a new business or submit a manuscript for publication we can do it from a place of self-acceptance.  We are not tied to the outcome because we love ourselves regardless of the outcome.  We still strive to achieve our goals but from a gentler perspective.

If you approach your health goals (notice I stay away from the word diet) with a loving desire to feel better physically you are much more likely to feel motivated to eat healthy food than you are if you stare at that pre-planned menu that is an offense to your taste buds.  Make small changes that make you feel empowered instead of pushing for a big change that leaves you feeling inadequate.

Do it for you!

Finally, this is not a competition.  You are not trying to impress everyone around you with your list of New Years achievements.  Even if YOU manage to stick to your list, most people don’t so the negatives shift to the way you make them feel about their goals.  Deciding that 2021 is going to be ‘the year’ is a wonderful thing, just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons.

Whatever you choose to make your point of focus for this year, make it for you.  Decide what matters most to you and what you want to gain from this year.  Do you want to be more spiritual, more active, more creative?  Do you want to be social or travel more?  The start of a new year is the opportunity to reflect on what matters and what you are looking for from this year.  Don’t turn it into something that increases the stress in an already stressed out world.  Instead, see it as a way to lay the foundations for your year based on your strengths and passions.

Instead of lack, let’s look at abundance

Setting your New Years Resolutions is a bit like focusing on where you’re lacking.  Let’s flip it around and look at where you are already doing great, on those new beginnings we are longing for!  I chose the feature image for this blog because it is a negative image (before development into a positive photograph) and I love the symbolism of it (Photo Credit: JR Korpa on Unsplash).  We take a negative image and turn it into a positive.  What’s the secret ingredient?  Light!  How poetic is that!  Take the light and use it to turn your negatives into positives!  May 2021 be The Year, resolutions or not!

If you enjoyed this blog take a look at my post on Elephant Journal: Dreams vs Ambition for more inspiration!

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