You’ve probably said, or heard, this phrase just a few weeks ago: “Wow, another year went by so quickly!”
The end of one year can bring feelings of nostalgia and wistfulness. A new year enthusiastically tempts us with thoughts of fresh organization of our lives and routines, good intentions to alter behaviors, another chance to “get it right”. As a result, New Year Resolutions tend to be broad hopes, seducing us with promise. The desire for easy solutions –the quick fix- is familiar to most of us. We’ve probably also experienced that quick fix which doesn’t work – at least not for long. In fact, the quick fix sometimes creates a bigger mess and requires more difficult, time-consuming solutions.
But echoes of Auld Lang Syne are quickly replaced with the scurry of a new year. Before you know it, those good intentions run amuck, people again get caught up in day-to-day-life, and become disappointed or frustrated. We hear lamentations of projects, commitments, and being too busy. Again. Yearly we’re reminded that, statistically, by the second month of any new year, most people have already failed at, forgotten about, or given up on their resolutions. It can be challenging, at any time, to establish healthy routines, let alone to shift life gears and reorganize in ways that better serve us, especially following festive holidays. So what’s a person to do?
Rather than make generic resolutions, set goals. Goals are well defined, specific, and measureable in terms of time and progress. But it can be hard to do when you’re once again caught up in the same old routines, in spite of your best intentions.
The good news is we don’t require a new year to make a better plan. Life happens in each moment. Every moment -each feeling, thought or encounter-offers us the same opportunity to make course corrections or reassess. Take some time, now, to review, recharge, remodel, restore, and reinvent. Really listen to yourself. Pay close attention to your life and be open to what it’s trying to tell you.
What is working in your life? and what is not? Seek and live your personal truth. How do your values and principles align with your actual choices and behaviors? What kind of person are you? and what kind do you want to be?
Become absolutely clear about who you are and who you want to become. What is your personal mission statement?
Does your subconscious constantly nag you? That whisper you keep hearing is trying to get your attention. What do you need to change?
Sometimes it’s helpful to start with short-term goals. What do you want to alter or accomplish today? Break it into manageable parts. Rather than simply resolving not to work so much this year… can you work thirty minutes less today? Two hours less this week? When can you take that time? How can you work smarter rather than longer?
Instead of the generic “weight loss”, set a goal of being healthier, stronger, more flexible. Break it into specific ways you can accomplish the lifestyle change, rather than just a broad concept. Schedule it into your day.
Maybe you need outlets for stress, contemplation or meditation. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, but I invite you to reassess what matters most, to reinforce your foundation. As with all things, the process will be different for each person. Sometimes it’s a matter of simply becoming more self-aware. Realize what really fulfills you, and use those feelings as a barometer. Pursue that which is honorable and true. Look at your life, and the people and things you love, with new eyes, new perspective, new heart. The better you feel, the more you can soften the remaining rough edges, and the more open and capable you become to feeling good about your entire life.
It’s also important to remember the best-laid plans sometimes fall apart. Life happens. People make mistakes, change their minds, and get slammed with the unexpected. You fall down …you get back up. Yes, it’s important to plan for the future. But realize also that, fortunately, life does happen in the moments, and it’s even more important to live our moments fully and deliberately. Be flexible. Be forgiving. Have a sense of humor – and that includes the ability to laugh at yourself, maybe most of all.
Alas, this year will be another that will quickly pass, no matter how we spend our limited time. It’s important to be responsible of course, and it would be sad to go through life without being mindful of what matters most to us. Be sure to toss in a healthy quantity of desire along the way. Sometimes we mistakenly live our lives “backwards”, believing if we have more money or more things we’ll be happier. If you’ll first be who you really are, and do what you need to do, then you will find the satisfaction you seek. The more we are true to our selves, taking our lives seriously, but not ourselves so seriously, the more enjoyable and fulfilling it will be. Live this year embracing the moments -with deliberation, confidence, and humor. The more authentically we live in the moments, the better the moments will take care of us.