2009: Choose a Theme, Not a Resolution
When I began to write this article, I decided to go back to basics and check out the dictionary definition of “resolutions.” I got “A thing resolved on, an intention.” To me, the word “intention” is preferable to “resolution.” Somehow intention resonates with the idea of “definitely going to do,” whereas “resolution” has more of an air of doing something because it is good for you, and that’s not always the most inspiring. So, I decided to focus on New Year Intentions. I think for intentions to work, they need to have the following three elements:
- Get support
Inspiring, Not Perspiring
Have you ever noticed how some tasks can be done so easily and effortlessly at some times, and at other times–it’s like pulling teeth. The difference is inspiration. I believe inspiration comes when we are doing something that we feel really serves others and the wider world. So, when you choose this year’s intention, choose something that you feel will contribute to the benefit of others, not just yourself. Ask yourself where your passion lies–what would you do without getting paid for it?
Achievable – Make It Real
The first step in beginning to make your intention real is to take some time to actually visualise life AFTER the achievement of the goal. This could take a number of forms. For example, you could devise a treasure map (assemble pictures out of magazines and newspapers that represents your goal) in a scrapbook that you could look at every day. Another way would be to imagine yourself after you have achieved the goal. Write down what you are doing, how you are feeling – all in the present tense. Now, ask yourself what steps you could take to begin making this a reality. Also, begin thinking about what you could do AFTER you have achieved this goal.
An inevitable part of taking on a challenge is the slump that comes with it. You will definitely go through times when you feel as though you are completely cracked to take this on. You will doubt yourself, doubt your ability. At these times, it is essential that you have supports set up to help you get back on track. Here are some ways to keep you going:
- Enlist the help of a group of people (could be over the Internet) to encourage and support you.
- Keep a book somewhere in which you have written down compliments/acknowledgements people have given you. Read it back.
- Go back to your original vision. If your intention is linked to helping other people, focus on them not yourself.
- Step back from the feelings. You could do this by journaling them. Ask them what they are trying to tell you. Accept and acknowledge them, but remember you are not your feelings.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. People can be extraordinarily supportive and kind but be guided by your own instincts.
- Acknowledge yourself every step of the way. Salute your courage in taking on this intention.