For as long as I can remember, I have been making New Year’s Resolutions. I would spend hours creating lists of everything I wanted to accomplish and over the years, I’ve had a pretty good track record of making it happen. I would take pride in reflecting critically over the past year, and then ringing in the new year with renewed vigour and intention. Except for this year. I rang in the New Year in the emergency ward of Toronto General Hospital with a high fever and zero energy. And I had a revelation.
Often, our resolutions are based on fixing all the things we’re doing wrong. Or on things we feel we should do and must do, whether it is losing a few pounds, cutting down on Tim Hortons coffee consumption or getting out of debt. Worthy goals. But the “can’ts, mustn’ts and shouldn’ts” inherent to resolutions often come from a place of disappointment in ourselves rather than acceptance of who we are. The pressure we place on ourselves to ‘fix’ all our shortcomings, to become this ideal image we have in our heads, ultimately leads us to a place of frustration. I do not undervalue the power of setting goals – in fact, I’m the biggest believer in writing down things in order to craft your destiny. But, I think, too often, we set goals without thinking about the bigger picture of who we want to be. Today, I want to propose a different approach.
Rather than looking at resolutions as a way to fix yourself, start with acceptance. Believe in yourself. Believe that you are complete and worthy and whole. Believe that you are amazing and unique and that there in no one like you. Believe that you have something meaningful to contribute to this world. Answer your heart’s calling and live fearlessly because life is not a dress rehearsal.
And dream. Re-think your “can’ts, mustn’ts and shouldn’ts”, and dare to dream! Dreaming is about being future focused. Dreaming is about possibilities and who we want to be. It is when we dream that we discover what we are capable of and what we can create. And what better way to make resolutions than from the place of your dreams.
One of my dreams for 2013 is health and vitality. I visualize my body being strong and powerful. I dream of being able to walk without pain and being able to run with abandon. Out of this dream, I can create resolutions to support what I want.
As you start the new year, take inspiration from Dr. Seuss who wrote:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own, and you know what you know.
And you are the guy who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
You’re off to Great Places! Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!
Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
Happy New Year!