I’ve put a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect; more often than not, based on others opinions and values rather than my own. I’ve realized that it is the most anti-productive thing to do, even if it were by my own standards.
I’ve done my fair share of reflecting, and goal-making, but I’ve never really been into typical New Year’s resolutions.
What’s the difference? Well, I had always thought a resolution is something one makes up their mind to change about themselves or their lifestyle with blunt force starting on a particular day, while a goal is something that one wishes to attain, check off a list, or move toward. Maybe they’re the same thing, maybe not. I’m not really sure anymore.
I’m not saying that I don’t have aspirations to change or to be a better person, but those are things that are a lifelong journey, it’s a process of transformation, not something to force or change all at once. Far too often, resolutions are only to be abandoned when all the energy is gone and we’re left feeling weak and weary from putting too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We then give in and give up, leaving those items on the list until the following year when we pick it up again.
Try and fail.
Changes in life happen one step at a time, not all at once, and I, personally, believe this is the downfall of resolutions. It’s too much pressure all at once, we bog ourselves down with too much to handle until we give up, and berate ourselves that we couldn’t follow through.
This is where patience and understanding for ourselves come in. We have to be willing to relax and give ourselves a break, taking one step at a time, not trying to take them all at once. It’s no wonder we get so discouraged and burnt out by the end of the year!
So I suppose I do like resolutions in the sense of having a direction to move in.
I do have goals and a to-do list for the year. I used to make monthly goals. They worked quite well for me and I loved seeing one item being checked off the list at a time, ending each month with a burst of encouragement that all things were possible.
One step at a time, an ebb and flow that allowed me to take a deep breath, knowing fully well that all my tasks were completed, or would be on time, and if not, could be easily transferred without much harm dome. Each month, I would start off fresh with a clean slate.
Somehow, in the chaos of moving, I dropped this habit. And I’ve felt somewhat directionless ever since. There are some things I’ve been meaning to do that require uninterrupted time, time without travels and visits, time alone and to myself, where my mind is clear and free to wonder wherever it may wish.
My intention was to begin my goals again after the holidays. That is still my intent. I’ve made a master list, then I will go and once again create specifics for each month, one at a time.
I noticed something different though.
When I first sat down to write out my goals, I had a list of mundane, boring things, that honestly, were rather self-absorbed and shallow. They didn’t quite hit on what I wanted, but they came close enough, and from the outside, I would appear successful if I were to check off each one.
Something was wrong with this picture.
I realized that I needed to get to the core and the heart of the issue. If I am to actually complete my goals this year, I have to be accurate in my motivation. In order to do that, I would have to break down the things that I wanted, and why.
The why is one of the most important things, and, often, one of the most challenging things to deduce. One thing leads to another, and deeper and deeper it goes.
But what was my underlying motivation? What was at the heart and soul of these things that I thought I needed?
That is what I was determined to find out. And so, I tried again.
I made a list of all my basic goals, and realized that they weren’t as bad as it had originally seemed. Sure, there were still some mundane things, but they weren’t all like that. Once I had that list (a very long one, I might add), I needed to break it down. Common themes, the motivation behind wanting each particular thing that I wanted.
What did I find? At the root of it all, it comes down to purpose. I want purpose, I want inspiration, I want to be a light and inspiration to others, and I want to be inspired. I want to be a support and encouragement to others, and I want that field of positivity to surround me.
I want to be a light. Not only to cast out the darkness in my own life, but to shine bright in others’ lives as well.
I don’t want to be perfect by the world’s standards. I want to be perfect by God’s standards. And He’s in the process of making me complete. I have a very long way to go, but I’m taking it one step at a time. And with this, comes accepting a transformation rather than a sudden change, being patient through the growing process, and having some directions to head in, rather than a strict list of things I must do.
This journey is such a blessing, such a gift. I want to use it wisely.
How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions? Are they something you keep, or do you have another method? I’d love to hear your thoughts.