Did you make any New Year resolutions this year? If so, how are you doing?
For more than a decade mine was to give up coffee; no half measures just a radical and immediate ditching of the strong dark stuff, “cold turkey” you could say! But, mid-morning, first of January, for as long as I can remember, “okay well I’ll start tomorrow”!
Stepping off the roller-coaster of resolutions fought and lost?
This forever chasing something we think we don’t have, or giving up something we perceive as bad normally means we get tired, discontentment sets in and we can lose our sense of perspective, possibly running the risk of self-sabotage along the way. Filled with self-loathing for all the “slip-ups”, we can feel like we’ve hit “rock bottom” – from where we again glimpse that slippery road, back to “perfection”. Maybe this giddy ride is spread out over a year, but for some this happens monthly or even weekly (oh yes, that was me).
Last year I really did stop drinking coffee (that’s another story – you can read here if you want) so when it came to making resolutions for this year I no longer felt overwhelmed by the failure of years’ of effort or the need to ramp up my perfectionist streak. I had finally hurled myself off the roller-coaster – Yay!
Getting Clear on Intentions
It meant there was space for me to reflect, appraise, dream a little and get clearer on my intentions. I asked myself “what would I like more of in my life” not “what should I give up”. The answers didn’t arrive loud and clear but came in little whispers; I heard that I must tend my own “heart-fire” with more care, bring more love to my observations, thoughts, actions and words and be guided by gratitude, always.
Everything we seek is already within us
For me, the gratitude bit is actually the most important; it stops “self-dissatisfaction” in its tracks and forces us to acknowledge all we’ve got, all we’ve had and all we can be. For sure, if you come from a place of self-dissatisfaction your resolutions will be about changing everything you think is wrong instead of “working on yourself” to improve what is definitely already okay. Plus gratitude can help us to see that everything we seek is already within us, we just need to uncover it and perhaps polish off the dust!
Resolutions are not goals
Resolutions are often a bit vague – drink less, do more exercise, be healthier etc. This is just the concept stage and these aspirations need to be made more specific, measurable and given a timescale. I’m an old-fashioned “pen and paper girl” at heart. I have a notebook and I keep it handy to formulate my ideas, crystallise my intentions and hold myself to account. The great thing about a notebook is you have a record, and even the harshest self-critics are likely to see evidence of progress over time.
Don’t obsess about perfection
For a while last year, every time I was on social media I felt bombarded with “you are already perfect” posts. This is no good for a perfectionist like me as my inner critic immediately shouts “lie”! I’ve found that a better way for me, is to focus on the little steps right in front of me; be consistent (boring but true) and go easier on myself on those days that feel harder. Never give up, don’t compare or expect perfection and as for thoughts of “starting over” on an auspicious day, new month or new year – don’t go there!
Keep that micro-fibre duster handy!
Finally, getting back to that idea of polishing off the dust, setbacks are normally. Let’s face it, we don’t expect our house to stay sparkling clean all year after one mega clean. Just as house-work is ongoing so is working on ourselves. Little and often requires the least effort so just keep the duster handy and when you have a few spare moments you can restore shine. Plus, it’s highly likely that you’ll uncover a little more brilliance each time!