Do you set new resolutions for yourself each year? Do you struggle to keep them? If you do, do you feel like a fraud or a failure?
I have never been great with making new year’s resolutions. I can’t really explain why but they always felt unauthentic when I tried. I would try to make a list of things I wanted to change about myself, and then either start off feeling crappy about myself which would often lead to lousy self-talk, or I would start strong for a month or two before going back to old habits. Truthfully, if we want to make changes in our life, the best time to begin is now (no matter what day of the week or year that is.)
It is not that I think new years resolutions are bad by any means. It is just that I wonder at our intention behind them. What are we really trying to achieve? Usually there is a deeper desire beneath the resolutions we set. But also, the question begs to be asked, who’s setting it?
A few years back a mentor said he sets a word for his year. Like a north star to come back to in each moment. This totally resonated with me! I immediately set my word as Surrender. My life had been in chaos at the time and I had started to understand that I was the one creating it. If I started to notice I was trying to force something, pushing against or pulling, I would soften and surrender to what is.
The same mentor had recommended completing the year with reflection. He said he would go into his office for the week between Christmas and New Years to reflect on the past year. One of my favourite quotes from him is, experience isn’t the best teacher evaluated experience is. It really changed the way I looked at experience, my own as well as that of others.
The following year I was excited for a new word. However, when I reflected on the past twelve months I realized I wasn’t done yet, so, I set it as my word of the year again. Each day I was given opportunities to lean into discomfort. Some days I leaned with grace and other days I railed against them with the scream of Why?
Needless to say, Surrender became my word for a third year! Although my word has changed each year since, I keep this word as a mantra, Let go or be dragged the choice is yours. The hardest thing for me to realize was that when I push, pull, or freeze I am trapped in the currents of life and am not able to live in alignment with my greatest value, Freedom. Only when I am not tossed by the ebb and flow of uncontrollable circumstances am I able to experience true freedom.
So, how do we get there? How do we become who we are destined to be?
I think that before we can affect true change we need to understand who we are. We are not our body, so why would we so often focus on changing it? Well, our bodies are a layer to our life as a human experience. It communicates what is going on inside at our subtler layer of mind – mental, emotional, and spiritual. So if we want to change a part of our life, no matter what part that may be, we need to start on these subtler aspects of oneself. It doesn’t mean that we don’t commit to a healthier physical lifestyle. It means that we also commit to a healthier mental and emotional lifestyle.
Want to lose weight? What if we put down the baggage of our past? How can our body feel safe when we are harboring resentment, anger, and judgment inside of it?
We often think healthy living is about exercise and eating right, and those are both parts. However, it is much more about thinking and feeling right. We don’t only consume through our mouth, but also through our eyes and ears. It matters what we are reading, watching, listening to, as well as who we spend time with.
This year my word is Alignment. To live an aligned life – body, mind, and Spirit.
What is your word?
Brightest of blessings & an Empowered New Year to you,