I read an insightful tweet written by a friend the other day. He suggested that if you were to see “resolutionist noobs” at the gym, to please encourage them. He felt the reasons why so many don’t stay after a few weeks is that because they are treated with disdain and mockery. That statement hit me, because while I am not a gym guy in the least (and to be honest, would never mock anyone at the gym, like I wouldn’t mock a homeless person at a job fair), I realized at that moment that I was a resolutionist snob. I felt he was talking right to me.
For someone who insists on regularly taking stock of himself of where he’s at and where he wants to go, the idea of coming up with yearly goals has always struck me as pedestrian. Far-reaching. Silly. To arbitrarily decide January 1st was going to be the day that everything changed dramatically in their lives, like a chameleon wearing a mood ring, seemed very common. I know many people feel the same as I do, but as my wise pal mentioned in his tweet, what was I doing to encourage those who didn’t feel the same as I did? What was I doing to rally behind people who wanted to make positive and healthy shifts in their lives? Nothing, other than chiding them. Feeling superior to them. I was mocking them by rejecting out of hand their intentions to change.
Don’t get me wrong. I like change. I need it. And yet I fear it. The fear of change is the number one reason why so many of us stay stagnant – working in jobs we hate, staying with toxic people or relationships, continuing with bad habits, etc. We would rather stay with the negative and soul-sucking things and people in our lives than make that leap of faith to alter our life’s circumstances. I am guilty of that. Of course, sometimes there are other factors to consider before jumping from job to job, or romantic partner to partner, etc. but what I am talking about it that deep down fear of “what will happen once I let go? Who will I be?” That is the fear I speak of.
While I’m at it, I might as well tack on the other fears which freeze me in place regarding things like new year’s resolutions – the fear of looking stupid by changing my mind about them, the fear of not being unique, the fear of looking silly by making declarations which I may fail to complete or fulfill. Put these together in a blender and I can whip up a smoothie which keeps me full of self and fails to satisfy.
The reality is this – I am interested in making some changes this year, starting in this new year. It’s a first, to be honest. I have never felt the compulsion to do it, but here I am. And as I realize this, I also see how poorly I have thought of others who made resolutions at the beginning of the new year. But I’m not here to beat myself up on this, but to show a shift in my perception. People will say that they don’t believe in resolutions because they don’t want to fail. But what does failing mean? Failing is just an opportunity to try again. Failing is a lesson. Failing is proof that you’re trying. It all sounds so inspiration plaque type stuff, but it’s true.
Also, the way I look at it now is this – if you vowed to go the gym three times a week every week for the year, starting January 1st, then halfway through March you stop, that’s totally fine. That means you went to the gym approximately 30 times more than if you didn’t make that resolution. That’s progress! And if you pick it back up a month or so later, you are still getting more gym time than if you made no intention to do so at all. So it’s another positive, healthy and gentle way to look at it.
My all-or-nothing wants to show its hand when it comes to creating visions and goals. It wants to build the Taj Mahal when really what I need is a few crumbling sandcastles to make progress. It envisions 20 ultra marathons when I only need to get out for regular half-hour runs to stay active. It craves to write the next Governor General’s prized book when all I require is consistent daily writing to satisfy my creative side. The idea of “go big or go home” hits square between the eyes, and I find that it’s easier to cave to the “nothing” than even try. Those damn fears again.
The real change, the most effective change, is moving through the fears. I am learning that when we move through our fears and mental paradigms, the greatest changes come. And to move through the fears, I require faith. Faith that whatever happens on the other side of that overcome fear, it will be much better than I could ever anticipate. I need faith to make things happen. To change the story which no longer serves me.
I have some lofty goals this year. I am not talking about losing a few pounds (that would be lovely, though), or learning to play the lute, but Big Stuff. Career transition. Writing targets. Physical goals. I feel that I have been stagnant and unbending for some time now, and my Higher Self is itching to break through. It doesn’t all have to happen right away. But I have plans. I have resources. I have the need to break out of my rut. And it will happen because I desire it to happen, and am willing to do what it takes to get there.
I will be the resolutionist noob. And I will encourage myself.
Do you have any goals this year you want to share?