Expectations, Resolutions & New Year => New You?
I am a big believer in new beginnings.
I can't help but notice that there is endless hype with the Gregorian Calendar's New Year, bringing with it unreasonable expectations of a new start with instantaneous results. It feels like people think they can cry out, "Happy New Year!" on the top of their lungs at midnight and expect that the slate of one's wounded consciousness, limited beliefs, fears, doubts, and debts are wiped clean. (Trust me, I know, as I am a New Year's baby and have not only a new year but a new age to celebrate every January 1st). I know that we all know that this is not how it works. From the school of hard knocks (a.k.a. Earth School), we also have learned the lesson that expectations can be our greatest source of suffering.
When it comes down to it, it is just another day. The meaning and weight we put upon one day a year is truly unreasonable, whether it is the fresh start of another calendar year, or an agreed upon holiday from your family culture, religion, or created traditions. I find that giving a special status to anything (a day, an event, a meeting, a relationship...) creates an expectation, and as you might have already experienced, Life does not always meet our expectations! Heck, for most of my life, I did not even meet my own expectations and was the harshest critic as the judge, jury and punisher, and I KNOW I am not alone is this sort of behaviour.
The thing is, no matter how many expectations or resolutions you have for yourself, you still are YOU. You are this human being that has qualities to celebrate, qualities to question and qualities to fully accept within ourselves that we may think we are not (our shadow side). You truly can't run away from who you are, but only come to see that you are everything. You are the sum total of your victories and defeats, wounds and reconciled relationships, consumerism and addictions, times you held a grudge or times you have forgiven the 'unforgivable,' honourable actions and choices that were not in integrity.
We are all perfectly imperfect, and that is indeed the 'perfection' of the human experience.
We can spend our days beating ourselves up for our perpetual failures and not good enoughs, or we can choose to be gentle with ourselves, rediscover our sense of humour, and have the compassion to be our own best friend rather than worst enemy. That is always a good place to start (and return to). Life is a Choose Your Own Adventure that is all about free-will choice. You can choose to be stuck, or you can choose to get moving again. It is a choice to focus on so-called failures, and it is choice to not let them determine what you believe you can do today.
I know that there are people out there who are five days into the New Year and have already felt like they have failed themselves, thrown up their hands, and given up. Can you imagine if you did that as a toddler when you were learning to walk? The thought that you would still be crawling around as an adult sounds fairly ridiculous! The truth is, when something is important to us, we persevere, we fall and get up and repeat this endlessly until we get it. Yes, we may get frustrated, pout and have a good cry now and again, but the beauty of the human Spirit is that we are resilient and capable beyond measure. Life is not about perfectionism, but how we bounce back from perceived failure and keep going.
Here are some focused questions that may help you create some goals that you may actually achieve (!):
What are THREE THINGS that are so important to you that you are willing to persevere through (falling down, frustration, getting up, falling down, repeat INCLUDED)?
What is my WHY? It is essential to have something that makes you emotionally invested in committing to those things, so when Life seems to thwart you, you can review your why and bounce back. Anyone who has ever done anything worthwhile in this world that was big, I guarantee has a why- you need one too!
Who are my network of SUPPORTERS for each of these goals that can hold me accountable and can coach me with the right balance of sensitivity and tough love to keep me on track? Write their names down, contact them, and see if they are willing to play that role with you. Together, you can decide how often you can call one another and stay focused and on track with your goals. It is great when you can support each other equally too, so no one feels they are just giving. Life is all about reciprocity and exchange.
If I broke this goal down into bite-sized baby-steps, WHAT WOULD THE FIRST STEP BE? Second step? Twenty-seventh step? (Just joking, you don't need to get too ahead of yourself, but maybe 5 steps at a time so you don't get overwhelmed!) This process may need your supporter's guidance, as sometimes others can see things we can't when we are right in front of it, feeling the fear and overwhelm holding us back from a clear mind.
What is a reasonable TIMELINE for me to come to some sort of completion/victory? Pick a timeline that puts an adequate amount of pressure to stay motivated, but it not going to stress you out.
What would feel like a fun way to CELEBRATE the small successes along the way? Come up with some milestone that you can share with your supporters and make sure they are rewarded in it too, as they are volunteering their time and energy to help you out! The more grateful you are to your supporters, the more they will want to continue helping you out.
The KEY is to never give up! If something is important to you, go get it! (You got this).
It takes time and effort to create a sustainable change in your Life; whether it is dedicating yourself to better self-care, losing a few pounds, breaking the cycle of an addiction, taking up a new hobby, or learning a new language... all actions take time, dedication, and the repeated reminder of your WHY! They take commitment, discipline, compassion, forgiveness, time and energy. I know you have what it takes to CREATE what you want in you Life right now. There are too many inspirational stories out there for anyone under any circumstances to make excuses. In the light of what Audrey Hepburn once famously said, "Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I'M POSSIBLE!"
There is nothing about us that is the same as the person we were last week, last year, or a decade ago. We are constantly evolving and changing, and yet so many people I know are constantly living in the past or the future where we have no control of our lives, as they do not exist now. We are new in every moment with every single breath.
We do not need a "special day" to chose to start again.
Why not start again, right NOW?
From my heart to yours, enjoy taking action imperfectly on your journey, learning and growing as you move one step closer to one of your goals or dreams!
P.S. Let me know if this was helpful for you! I might even take my own advice ;)
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