I do not like new year’s resolutions. They set you up for failure. Anyone with a mental illness or who has been through recovery will tell you how important one day can be, but that one day a whole life cannot make. When you flip that calendar page, it’s still just today. There is nothing magical about January 1st. If you haven’t set yourself up for success, if you haven’t really put effort into building habits and been willing to have setbacks, buying a new calendar can’t fix whatever the thing is that you hope January 1st can help.
This is not to say that we shouldn’t strive for change. This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do things to better our life. You put so much pressure on yourself to make this magical shift at the turning of a page that there is no wonder that so many of these resolutions fail. I take a different approach. Just to clarify, I usually do this on Halloween instead of New Years. It’s a cyclic thing, following seasonal changes. It’s not important for this discussion. We want to make this time a period of change so we will demonstrate it here. Instead of grand yet vague goals like after living an unhealthy lifestyle for “x” amount of years, this year I am going to get healthy, try this. What are you letting go of this year? What are you bringing to life this year? Two questions, two answers, sounds easy. It isn’t. Let me explain.
What are you going to let go of this year? This is often huge and complicated and is such a bigger thing that it sounds. Letting go of something that is not serving you can be tough. We like to chew on old soup. It can actually become a comfort to hang on to stuff that hurts you. We are complicated screwed up messes like that. This can be hard because when we set down the negativity, we will get reminders of it and will run back to where we set it down and pick it up like a long lost baby blanket. Then we have to put it back down again and try to move on.
What am I letting go of? Expectation. I have several health issues that make life complicated and difficult. I have expectations of how I want things to be and find great disappointment when things don’t pan out. This then gives ammo to the mental illness and it starts a process that pulls me from recovery. I am going to set goals and the like but I am going to be less invested on specific outcomes. I am going to set out to do the thing but am not concerned with exactly how it turns out. It could dead end. It could be a great success. It could end in a somewhat neutral fashion. I will set out to do the thing. I will take life as it comes and deal with what shows up. Having a positive response to what is going on around me is the goal. How do I show up to the situation? That is the goal.
What am I bringing to life this year? This one can be bigger than the first. What are you adding to your life? What is a process that you are starting? What routine are you adding? What new project is getting started? What positive thing are you adding to your life? This blog is part of my answer. I have a story to tell. We all do. I am telling it. My wife and I are working out some things that we may bring to life this year. Bringing some projects to life can be time consuming. Some of the things we are talking about may not actually come to fruition this year but the groundwork is being put down. We want to start some youth projects and are getting nudges as to what they will look like. Mapping them out is what this year will be about.
Sure I am going to eat better and exercise and all the other stuff but I am not hanging my success for the year on it. Lifestyle changes are hard and slow going. Baby steps there for me.
I hope that 2016 is a year that allows you to let go of something that is not healthy for you and it is also a year that you add something positive to your world.