I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions

candcbigThere’s alot of talk this time of year about New Year’s Resolutions. Set goals, make changes, plan for the future. Honestly, just thinking about it is exhausting!

If you read my post No More New Year’s Resolutions at this time last year  you know I realized resolutions, such as getting more organized, losing weight, or paying off debt, were just something I used to beat myself up; to not accept myself as I am. Though they appeared well intended at first, striving for them always kept the life I wanted just out of reach.

Like the ever-elusive dangling carrot, I believed making good on my resolutions would finally make me happy. I was living the “I’ll be happy when” lie. “I’ll be happy when I get to my goal weight, I’ll be happy when my house is organized, I’ll be happy when I pay off my debt.” “I’ll be happy when” is a trap. Because that belief asserts I need to do or be or accomplish something to be happy. And it seemed I could never quite get there. Or, if I did, I couldn’t manage to stay there very long. So a couple years ago I decided to stop making resolutions and just get on with the business of living my life.

Now, instead of resolutions, I set intentions for myself. Ways of being I’d like to be more focused on. Something to come home to when I get off track (and I do) from time to time. My theme for 2013 is Courage and Clarity.

Courage: To be who I am, to follow my dreams, to live by and break my own rules, to stand up for what I believe in and to lay down and rest when I need to.

Clarity: Of heart, body, mind and soul. Tuning inward to hear my intuition and do what’s in my own best interest. Even, or especially, if that means doing nothing at all.

This doesn’t mean I give up the idea of changing things that aren’t working for me or striving for something that’s important to me. It just means I’m not waiting until I do, be, or have something in order to fully inhabit each day as it comes. I can stand in Courage and Clarity at any moment…no matter what’s going on in my life. It’s not easy and I sometimes find myself back on the hamster wheel of DOing instead of BEing. It’s then that I remind myself there’s nothing to do and I have everything I need.

As 2012 comes to a close, my life doesn’t look the way I thought it would when we ushered in this year 365 days ago. I’m struggling with a health issue, I was recently laid off from my job and I really don’t know what’s going to happen next. But surprisingly I feel more at peace than I ever did while I was busy chasing those things I thought would make my life complete.

I do love the magic of a new year. It feels like a turning point where we can leave the past behind and start anew. But the truth is we can don’t have to wait for January 1st. We can start over any day we choose. Every day, every hour, every minute is another opportunity to choose to be present and live the life that’s right in front of us. Those extra pounds and clutter and debt ARE our life. Don’t be so busy trying to change things that you miss how truly perfect it already is.

As we welcome a new year, I’m wishing you peace and presence on this day and every day you are blessed to experience.

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No More New Year’s Resolutions

I used to make New Years resolutions. Every December 31st I’d contemplate what I needed to change or work on and that would become my resolution for the year. Often those resolutions were things I needed to DO; lose weight, pay off debt, get more organized. Always things I thought were wrong with me.

Though most resolutions fell by the wayside, by mid-February, I’ve actually succeeded from time to time. For the moment, that is. I’ve lost the weight…more than once. Then gained it back. I paid down my credit card last year only to charge it back up on Christmas shopping. I’ve even been organized on occasion. I’ve had a friend or my mom help me go through piles and purge and sort and file. And then it all starts to pile up again. Resolutions always left me feeling like a failure and began to wonder if I was focusing on the wrong things.

Last year I did something different. I set an intention. A theme, if you will. Instead of trying to change something I thought was wrong with myself, I decided to be more allowing and accepting–of myself, of my circumstances, of the events of my life. I wrote these words “2011 Allowing and Accepting” on a heart-shaped stickie note and put it on my computer where I would see it every day. I looked at it from time to time. But at some point the words started to wear off and I actually forgot about it.

Yesterday I was not feeling my usual optimism about the new year. The last year feels like a blur…to be honest, it’s been exhausting! And even though I’ve taken a MAJOR step forward in my life recently, I was feeling down because I didn’t ‘accomplish’ anything in 2011. At least that’s what I was telling myself. And I’ll admit some fear crept in and had me questioning this new challenge I’ve taken on.

As fear whispered in my ear, I began to feel like I ‘should’ be gearing up for the year ahead. I should be DOing something. I started asking myself a flurry of questions. What do I want the next year to look like? What do I want to accomplish? What can I change? And then I remembered that stickie note. Allowing and Accepting. And it occurred to me the question isn’t what, but who. Who do I want to be in 2012 and beyond?

I took a breath, got quiet for a moment, and listened to that still small voice within. “Believing and Becoming”, it said. In that moment, the fear started to subside as the theme for 2012 began to take shape. Believing and Becoming…I let the words roll around in my mind.

Believing…that even when I can’t see it, I am still moving forward. Because you can truly never go back. Believing that everything has a purpose…even when it sucks or it’s hard or it hurts like hell. You can’t side-step the difficult stuff. Believing in myself and my ability to do what’s best for me. No matter what other people think or say. Believing this path is mine and mine alone.

Becoming…isn’t about DOing more or making changes. It’s about quietly, softly letting the things fall away that aren’t truly me. And in doing so, Becoming more of who I am. It’s about Becoming more confident that my quirks and oddities are not things I need to change, but what make me uniquely me. Standing up for the me I am and not believing I should be anyone else. Dropping the masks I’ve worn most of my life and Becoming…me.

Could I stand to lose weight, pay off my debt and get more organized? Of course I could. But those things don’t matter as much as who I am in the process. And what a process it is!

What’s your intention for 2012? Do you have a theme for the year? It’s who you are, not what you accomplish that will make the biggest difference in your life. And the best part is, you get to decide. Who do you want to be?