Making lasting changes is extremely difficult; enthusiasm is common but commitment is rare.
There are so many examples online of how to be successful at implementing change in one’s life and many of them offer excellent ideas; I’m not knocking them. Google is great! Here are just a few examples of suggestions I’ve found from zen habits:
- Find your purpose — I’m still searching and how do you truly know once you’ve discovered it? Do we really need to remind ourselves yearly to keep searching for this?
- Embrace your desire — I need to know what I desire before I can embrace it; besides, our desires are constantly changing.
- Find an accountability partner — honestly, I don’t want to be anyone’s accountability partner so I’m certainly not asking anyone to be mine.
Entrepreneur has a pretty clever list for being successful at life:
- Reprogram your mind to stay positive — easier said then done but I really like this one. We talk to ourselves all day long so why not say nice things to ourselves. We are after all our own worst critic.
- Set your alarm half an hour earlier — I wake up around 5 am every day, even on weekends and when I’m on vacation so this isn’t happening.
- Clean up after yourself immediately — great advice! now try getting your teenager on board with this one…
- Don’t over-commit — I don’t think I have ever over-committed in my life; if anything I probably don’t commit to enough but that’s a discussion for another day.
- Stop comparing yourself to others — this is my favorite one yet! I am guilty of this on many an instagram perusing episode.
So how do you make a resolution and keep it? I mean the statistics are staggeringly against us which is pretty daunting. In the past my son and I have made fairly long lists with every intention of complying; sometimes we were successful and sometimes we were not. Here’s a list I found that we did together in 2014:
- be more creative and make more art — I did join an art class for a period of several months but it has since fell to the wayside. I continue to procrastinate at finishing up one particular project.
- pray more together — this one hasn’t happened nearly as often as I would like but it still happens on occasion and I remind my son periodically when a prayer is called for.
- eat more vegetables and find new ways to prepare them — this is ongoing. Success, yes!
- visit the library and museum more often — this has NOT happened which makes me sad. I do read on a regular basis but am using Amazon more than the library and we have not visited a museum in years.
- visit the skate park more often — my son has since parked his skateboard and is more into building computers than skating these days which I don’t think is a bad thing.
- we had picked two people important to the world that we wanted to learn more about. My son had picked the new Pope Francis (elected in 2013) as he was on the cover of Time magazine at the time and I had picked Nelson Mandela. On Christmas Day of this year, I watched a marathon of the papacy on CNN so I would say I learned a lot about Pope Francis (a little late but nevertheless). I have read up on and watched plenty of documentaries on Mr. Nelson Mandela so I feel this one has been successful.
- family night — this one gets harder and harder to keep as my son gets older. When I got divorced from his father I made a pact with myself that when he is home with me, I am home with him. As his father and I share 50/50 custody I get plenty of opportunities to do things for me when he’s with his father so I would say we’re pretty successful at keeping this one somewhat going.
This year I’ve decided I’m not making a “list” per se. My resolution this year is to choose love. In my thoughts and in my deeds, I want to think and act with love and kindness. In life, we really only have two choices in everything we do; we either do/say something out of love or out of fear and I want to choose love.
I can break it down into a list as bullet points often make it more palatable and relatable. All of these are examples of where I want to choose love so here we go:
- love — exercising is love for my health, body, and spirit
- fear — I won’t be good at it; I won’t be successful; it’s really hard
- eating healthy
- love — eating healthy is taking care of the temple that houses my mind
- fear — unhealthy food tastes so good! instant gratification often leaves me (and my body) feeling bad.
- making better financial decisions
- love — security for myself and my family
- fear — I can’t live without _____ (fill in the blank). Do I really need a new bag, or new shoes right now?
- positivity and gratitude
- love — keeping a positive outlook on life helps me in all of my daily interactions and gratitude and appreciation for what I have keeps me grounded and happy
- fear — fear shows up in a multitude of ways: road rage, a cunning comeback
- declutter and keep clutter at bay
- love — clutter causes stress so keeping it in check is a form of self-love (and also for those we share a home with)
- fear — I often have a fear of not having enough
- connect with people, family, friends
- love — community and connectedness is important for the soul
- fear — isolation and fear of not “fitting in” or being “good enough”; “no one will like me” mentality
- love — giving is receiving. There is so much abundance in this world, let’s help each other out
- fear — “they” don’t deserve help… “they” brought this on themselves… “they” are hopeless
- love — belief that there is something greater than myself and I can’t do it alone
- fear — I don’t need help from anyone
- reading and learning
- love — knowledge is empowering
- fear — fear of understanding; fear of change
- love — love thy neighbor as thyself. It’s the commandment that covers all commandments. Be mindful of others’ feelings.
- fear — people aren’t mindful of me so why should I be mindful of them?
Whether or not you decide to write a list of New Year’s resolutions, I ask you to choose a little more love. We’re not perfect and we will continue to make mistakes but when you do ask yourself, “did I act out of love or out of fear?” and it may help you to choose love the next go round.