You Say You Want a Resolution, Yeah

Jan 1, 2013

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

I just read this little article about new years resolutions and ways to motivate oneself into keeping them.   It resonated with a conversation had last night, and made me think a bit about the whole concept of “resolving.”

This article presumes that our goals are things we don’t really want to do, and I suppose that is the traditional approach to making new years resolutions.  “This year, I SHOULD _____” (be healthier, eat less sugar, exercise, etc…).  And then we break those resolutions because we’re in a power struggle with them.  The “should” becomes the adult voice of authority, while we take the role of the rebelling child, and… much chocolate-bingeing and couch-surfing ensues.

How about embracing the idea that you’re already perfect?

“Should” implies you ought to be something different than you are.  Now, perhaps you WANT to adopt some new habits… but is that because you are inspired by the idea of those new behaviors?  Or is it because you feel guilty about your current behaviors?

In yoga we spend a fair amount of time being “present” — focusing on the current moment, the breath, the situation exactly as it is, even if it’s uncomfortable (pigeon pose, anyone?).  It seems to me that this New Years Resolution thing is all about regretting the present (and the past) and resolving to be someone different in the future.  Perhaps that’s not how it resonates for you; perhaps I’m having my own anti-authority rebellion to the terminology (that would not be out of character, I admit!).

When I accept the present as it is, it is easier to take small, incremental steps to affect change.  Compassion for everything exactly as it is takes the panic out of “accomplishing” the next thing.

Lately, rather than Resolutions, I’m happier ushering in the new year with a list of my Hopes, and my Goals — some personal, some career-oriented, some financial, and a few are actual behaviors.  But I’m no longer expecting that by this time next year I’ll be some better, shinier version of myself (or maybe someone else entirely!).

Am I reading too much into this?  How do you like to phrase your rite-of-passage vision for the future of you?