Every so often, I get to be an opinionated curmudgeon, and today is one of them.
I hate New Year’s resolutions.
These thoughts, however well-intentioned, seem to spring from a place of lack. It’s as if we are telling ourselves “I am not enough; I must be more; I must do better; I’m going to try one more time”.
Far be it from me to discourage you from setting goals and striving to achieve. That would be weird coming from a coach. But what if we could find another much more palatable option – one that makes us feel more powerful and successful?
When I pay close attention to the accomplishments of my clients, along with my own, I realize that the difference between success and failure is the CHOICES we make. Moment by moment. Day in and day out. Month after month.
Every time we set an intention to make something happen, and even when we don’t actually plan it, we are making choices.
Do I eat this slice of cake, or not?
Do I go for a run, or keep reading my book?
Do I say “yes” or “no” to this request from my boss/spouse/kid/friend/colleague?Do I take some time to plan, or do I wing it?
Do I opt for the security of this job, even though it makes me so miserable I feel sick, or do I explore other options?
Do I commit, or don’t I?
Mini choices, major choices … and all the stuff in between!
So it seems that the real secret to succeeding at your goals and dreams is to be fully aware of the choices you are making – intentionally or by default.
This brings up the whole sticky topic of “conscious living”. Despite its new-agey sound, it’s an age-old remedy that most spiritual belief systems have addressed in their own ways.
I’ll avoid that conversation for now, as it is too deep for a mere newsletter article, and sharing instead one of my very favorite quotations by author Henry Miller:
“The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware”
Smell your child’s hair as he snuggles up against you, feel the skin of your aging parent’s arms, remind yourself of the color and depth of your lover’s eyes, delight in the texture of your favorite piece of clothing, savor the crunch of your apple, sit with the grief in your heart, hear the shout of your rebellion, know the warmth of gratitude, value the caring of friends … the list is long. And the practice is challenging.
But I’m arguing that this intentional slowing down to experience the moments, as they happen, will result in lightning bolts of clarity – about what you choose to do, and stop doing.
I declare Down with Resolutions! Up with Choice, and being divinely aware and drunk on life!