Emotionally Healthy 2019: The Anti-Resolution

We all know the routine…

_How It Goes_ (1)
  • Join the gym!
  • Stick to the diet!
  • Save 75% of my income!
  • Read 100 books!
  • Never snap at my loved ones!
  • Sleep 8 hours per night with maximum REM cycles!
  • Become a ukulele prodigy!
  • Get promoted to CEO at work!
  • Make 10 new friends!
  • Solve world hunger!

We start with the best intentions, don’t we?

I want to be a better person, a better partner, a better employee… Goal setting is noble. Resolutions are an expression of intention towards a goal.

Then as life slips into the inevitable competing demands for time, energy, and resources, I find myself “failing” at my resolutions — I lose interest in the gym, I miss a week or two of reading, I fall into the same lousy sleeping patterns, I don’t feel social enough to make new friends, I get discouraged that I can’t solve the world’s problems.

Eventually I just stop thinking about my resolutions because thinking about them makes me feel like a failure.

And yet, I do it all again the next year.

Or maybe I give up on improving myself altogether. Not because I’m really accepting who I am, but because it’s easier to imagine that I’m powerless to change.

What if…

What if there was a totally different way of doing things?

What if it starts with a different way of looking at things?

The resolutions I set, pretty much by definition, come from what I think I need to change about myself.
….What I need to change about myself.
……..need to change.

My question is, according to what? According to whom?

To what end?

To be successful? To be accepted?

To be more lovable?

I’d like to offer a premise that I hope to flesh out with a series of posts this year: a different way of looking at yourself and the world. I’m not even asking you to believe it’s true.

I’m just asking you to entertain the idea for a little while. If it helps you,  you can hold onto it. If it doesn’t, then you can go back to the old way of doing resolutions anytime. The gym will already be less crowded for you 😉

Here’s the proposition: You actually don’t need to change ANYTHING about yourself to be good, accepted, worthy, lovable, or successful.

You *are* good. You are made of goodness.

You *are* loved. You are made of love. You were made by love.

You belong.

You are worthy of taking up space, breathing air, living your life, and sharing that life with other people.

Already. Right now. Without losing any more weight or reading any more books or saving the world or solving your struggles with faith.

You are already enough. Right now.

What if this year, we start there?

What if you just held that idea in mind to start 2019, even if you don’t really believe it?

“But… that sounds like new age wish-wash and a lot of complacency.”

I promise — if you still feel that way by the end of the year then you can go back to the old way.

Here’s a spoiler… I’m not suggesting complacency. What I’m saying is that
“Change all the things!” > *Fail* > *Fail* > *Fail* > Give up.
doesn’t work.

I’m suggesting we subvert the pattern altogether: we work from the inside out.

We work on the engine, rather than the hub caps (did I just make a car mechanics analogy?! Weird, but it fits here).

I’m suggesting that 2019 can be a year of slowly building sustainable habits instead of trying to flip a switch by sheer willpower.

In this alternative way, stumbles and mistakes will be seen as an opportunity to adjust the approach, rather than a failure. Part of the process. Expected. Welcomed.

But for that to be possible we have to work with our bodies and minds instead of trying to forcefully override them, feeling like failures when we can’t.

“I am made of goodness. I am enough.”

Today, maybe we just sit with that. Even if we don’t really believe it.

At the very least, it’s a protest against a broken system that ultimately wears down our sense of agency over our lives and our self-esteem.

It’s about intrinsic growth instead of extrinsic comparison and manipulation.

It might actually work.

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