It’s that time again; the time of workout ads and inspirational quotes about making this the ‘year of you’. There is just an overall sentiment of newness and transformation being promised when the calendar changes. The time to make our New Year's Resolutions – the pledges we make to ourselves to do better and be better.
I remember my resolutions always being the same. They pretty much went like this; something to do with my physical appearance, something about being more productive or a better person, and something about giving up a vice that held me back in accomplishing my first two goals. And every year, about 3-4 weeks in, I was done. It was as if the calendar never changed and I would be looking at my same old self in the mirror come February.
Resolutions are so permanent and absolute, that while giving us a sense of accomplishment before we even begin, they can be so daunting that we are often setting ourselves up for failure as soon as the sun sets.
So, instead, I make an intention. I make an intention of what I want to see in my life. I make an intention for who I want to be. It is a lot less intimidating, and less absolute. There is room for me to fall a few steps back without falling off. There is also room to alter my course to still meet my same goal, my same intention.
One Day at a Time
The thought of revamping myself feels and sounds great on the Eve of a new year, with the open slate of the next 365 days beckoning before me. Of course tasks sound doable tomorrow, as long as I can have the rest of the night to do what makes me comfortable today.
We make a promise for a year, when all we really need is a day. The 24 hours in front of us are all that is guaranteed anyway. So, take it one day at a time. Each morning, decide one thing to do to help further your intention.
Back to Basics
To be honest, I am encouraged by all of the positive declarations on social media. And yet, there is a part of me that knows there is so much more. There is so much animosity running through the veins of our country, so much divisiveness. We are not islands. When we are not feeling good about ourselves, it trickles to our kids, our families, our neighbors, and then the strangers with whom we share our day.
We need to go back to basics and start with a simple foundation. It’s like trying to build a skyscraper, thinking the foundation is not important. When we reach for the sky, we still need to have a foot on the ground, or we fall.
If this New Year is going to be so great, it’s going to take some work. It’s going to take commitment. And it’s more than a beautifully designed catchy infographic running through our newsfeed.
It’s not about some grandiose plan to overhaul ourselves. It’s about the day to day life we choose to live each morning we wake up. Our intention for ourselves. Our intention for our family. Our intention for the world. It has a ripple effect.
It Takes Work
If we want peace, we can’t just expect it to happen overnight. We have to live the intention daily. Are we going to change the way we treat our neighbor? Are we going to listen to those that are different than us? Are we going to consciously speak with kindness to our loved ones? Are we going to harshly and quickly judge the appearance or efforts of others, assuming to know their story?
Or are we going to focus on ourselves, knowing the battles of others are not our business on which to comment. It only gets better when we give compassion and kindness.
The miracle of it is we start giving it to ourselves. And when we feel acceptance, love and kindness, our growth, our potential is limitless. We won’t be restricted to an intense desire to enact some impressive resolution at year end. We will intuitively know which direction will guide us to fulfilling our intentions of the person we want to be.
Remember, it takes us to make the change. Not some symbolic rotation of numbers on the calendar.
So, let’s take all of the hooray and inspiration the New Year brings, and give it our all to making it happen, doing our best to be the change we want to see in ourselves, and the world will follow, resulting in a greater transformation than we could have ever imagined.