(Let me preface this by saying I’m not bashing anyone for making New Year’s resolutions. Although, you may want to read up on the statistics of how quickly they fizzle out.http://www.forbes.com/sites/dandiamond/2013/01/01/just-8-of-people-achieve-their-new-years-resolutions-heres-how-they-did-it/ I’m simply sharing my own experience. No offense intended)
I haven’t made New Year’s resolutions in a very long time. But since it ’tis the season, I’ve been thinking about how making them has changed for me. In general, I don’t make them like I used to, and I sure don’t make the grandiose ones anymore. It might be a good idea to define “resolutions” as I characterize them.
I no longer find the word resolution satisfactory. There’s too much of a feeling of striving in it. Any “resolve” I have comes from my heart, without guilt or shame attached. Instead, I like to call them goals, birthed out of my desires, and dreams. They can be made on the spur of the moment, or after some deep meditations. Spontaneously or contemplatively, they can come out of a specific experience–negative or positive. Or just a passing thought about learning to do something or to reach a certain goal. They can be practical, spiritual, physical, or emotional. But they’re all made from a place of peace not pressure, joy not anguish or self-loathing.
I no longer feel the need to share my life plans with the world–which infers I apparently felt a need to in the past. That’s not bad or wrong, it just is. Ultimately, all the outward motivation that comes from ‘putting it out there’ won’t cut it for me. All that pressure to prove out my resolutions to the world in order to save face gets kicked to the curb. If it ain’t workin’ I ain’t gonna keep doing it.
I don’t spend a lot of time listening to, watching, or reading motivational stuff. Not that I think these are useless. It’s just that I’ve never, ever found them to be what kept me going when the going got tough. Instead, I educate myself in the nitty gritty of what I want to learn, change, or improve. Besides, I’ve often come away from motivational stuff feeling too much pressure, knowing I can’t possibly live up to someone else’s life. I’m me, and I have to be true to who I am, not what someone else says I should or shouldn’t be.
Internal vs External
I’ve evaluated the success rate of my past resolutions and have come up with a couple of common denominators: internal motivation wins out over external, and NOT telling anyone, especially in the initial stages, actually improves my chances of succeeding. There isn’t going to be someone around all the time to pump me up and hype is artificial life support. Unless there’s living desires burning inside of me, I’ll just burn out. This relieves any pressure to follow through even when I’ve lost all desire.
I have to believe in myself. I have to believe I have everything I need to be the best me dwelling inside of me already. I want to live the most abundant, fulfilled life I can possibly live, and that comes from within.
Encouragement is important, but if the ultimate goal is to be the best me I can be, then eventually the courage has to come from within. The resolve must already be latent in my own heart and mind. And with that comes the freedom to just be. The freedom to enjoy cultivating and discovering who the true me is.
Accountability or Co-dependence?
I don’t know when “accountability” became all the rage, but it’s never worked for me–besides, who’s going to keep the accountability police accountable? I know, you’re probably saying, “but accountability works”. Sure, in the short-term. But I don’t believe it works for everyone or is even necessary. There’s a great bible verse about outward restraints doing nothing to quench inward desires. Doesn’t seem to work well to keep good inward desires going either, not genuinely at least. In the end I have to depend on the fire burning in my own heart, not become co-dependent on the praises or pressures of others.
So you see, this is why you may never know about my dreams and desires, especially when it comes to virtues–they should obvious without me pointing them out. I might tell you about my success in learning something or accomplishing a goal, but only if I think you’ll be interested. It’s all about self-satisfaction these days, not the desire to impress.
Be encouraged! Take heart! You are a beautiful work of art, and you can only be the best you, not the best me!
This was definitely rambling! 🙂