For today, I’m encouraging you to trot out that list of New Year’s Resolutions you made in January… or October, depending on your approach to new years. Give it a good look. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are these goals intended to make my inner life better?
External changes really only take effect when your headspace is clear.
- Are these goals really about me and what I need to be a decent person, or are they about pleasing someone else?
Let me put it to you this way: if you’re over 25 and your mother is still critical and condescending, improving yourself is still not going to change her.
- Are these goals about being healthy and happy, or are they about winning?
If it’s about winning, unless you’re a professional athlete or a military general, you’re on the wrong track. How much do you fail to learn, and how many opportunities have you lost, just because you were determined to win? These days conversations quickly descend into debate, which has degraded from an intelligent art from to blind insistence on competitive rightness. Few people even have the emotional/social skills to explore a topic instead of debating it, and those that do are often mistaken for being passive and end up being treated poorly just because they have the inner grace required to consider all ideas free of acceptance or rejection.
- Are these goals still relevant to my life?
Maybe you accomplished a resolution without even realizing you did. Maybe your life has changed so that the given resolution no longer has relevance. Take a close look , and update that puppy to fit your life now.
And the big question that you must always ask when looking over old resolutions:
- Was I sober when I made these resolutions?
It really should go without saying… but… if you have uppers or downers in your system that are there for recreation only, it’s not the time to make life projections or decisions.
The Practical Reason:
If life seems boring, you probably did accomplish those goals, and it’s just a good psychological boost to know. If you did NOT accomplish those goals, the personal failure may not be the result of personal failings. It might be that you chose resolutions that weren’t really a fit for your life, based on making goals about people who don’t have to live with you 24/7 (you are your only 24/7 commitment.) You might need help achieving the inner state you need to pursue the outer state – this is a good, low-pressure time of year to consider that possibility and take steps in the right direction, when you don’t feel the hostile force of in-laws eyes on you, or the maddening pressure of jingling bells everywhere.
The Metaphysical Reason:
Know thyself. You are not static. Even though most people have the same base character throughout their lives, things change in others, and things in you change internally, sometimes without you knowing. Resolutions that you make show your inner barometer, and they’re made at the most high-pressure time of the year, revealing simultaneous truths and lies about yourself: do you crave approval, peace, sex? What do you say you want? Does it match what you really want, right now? Are you who you want to be – and do those resolutions make a difference in that process?