The What, Why and "Okay, WHY?!" Of My New Year's Resolutions
This week is going to go one of two ways for most of us.
Either we are going to get hyper focused on setting the perfect New Year’s resolution OR we are going to jump on the NO resolution bus and reject the entire idea of trying to do some different or “better” in 2017.
The second concept seems like the more yogic choice, right? I could lay back and “let go” until the ball drops, heading into 2017 without expectation.
Except let’s get real right now. There is no way I will head into any day, January 1st included, without some sort of expectation. I am just not that kind of girl, no matter how many yoga classes I’ve taken and/or taught. I’m equal parts doer and dreamer by nature, which means expectations are in my DNA.
So yes, I am going to set some resolutions. But I plan to do it with a new formula; my own transformational, personal development equation that is already helping me dig a little deeper into not just WHAT I want to do, see, experience and feel, but WHY.
Plus an extra WHY, for good measure.
So how does it work?
I decided to look at what the Integral Life Movement calls the four pillars of happiness and wholeness: health, relationships, work, and spiritual growth.* From there, I came up with one-just one-thing I want to transform under each pillar for 2017.
Sounds easy, right?
That part sort of is. Most of us want to do SOMETHING different in each pillar-area of life, especially those of us who’ve been called “type A” at some point. But I’m not stopping at just WHAT I want to do.
I asked myself, “why?”
And when I finally answered that question I asked one more.
If you’re confused right now, I’m pretty sure you won’t be when you see the process in action.
Health. I want to make time for movement every single day.
Why? Because I feel infinitely better when I do something physical every single day. I don’t need to run 10 miles or do a 90 minute hot yoga class at least once every 24 hours, but I do deeply appreciate the opportunity to work the kinks out of my muscles and feel some sweat bead up on my skin.
Okay, but why? Because no matter how much I fight it, there will always be a hardcore perfectionist living somewhere inside of me, trying to claw her way back on out to wreak havoc on my life. When I workout and especially when I practice yoga, she fades significantly. My brain takes a rest when I run, flow, kick, swim or dance some energy out. I sleep better, I work more efficiently and most importantly, I have a lot more patience. If 30 minutes of physical effort is the antidote for my dis-ease, I will make time for it.
Relationships. I want to deepen my friendship with Joe.
Why? The time we spend together revolves around the kids. I love being the mom to his dad, but I miss being a couple and even more than that, I miss feeling like my husband is my best friend.
Okay, but why? It scares me to think of what life could look like 14 years from now if we keep doing what we’re doing right now. Not that we are doing anything wrong, necessarily, but our biggest shared interest these days is definitely Sadie and Patrick. I didn’t pick the number 14 arbitrarily; in 14 years our twins will go off to college. What will happen then? I don’t want to spend weeknights eating a quick, quiet dinner before heading off to watch TV in different rooms. I’d like 2017 to be about more than the “date night.” I want to spend time together figuring out one or two activities we can share. I want us to find our “thing” and get really excited about it.
Work. I want to take a writing class online.
Why? Because I really love that I’ve found my way back to writing and I want to polish my skills.
Okay, but why? I really think I could be good at this but I feel like I need to do something besides write this blog. My major in college was creative writing, but I just didn’t think it was a legit job when I graduated. At least not for someone with no connections, no portfolio and no life experiences to write about. I counted myself out before applying for even one writing position and went to law school instead, where I basically lost any and all desire to read about anything other than celebrity gossip and/or write anything more prolific than a Facebook status. Bur writing was always still there, tugging at whatever part of the brain controls creative thinking and whatever part of the heart says “do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Maybe, just maybe, taking an online course will give me that final kick of confidence I need to start swinging for the fences (or whatever the writing equivalent of that is. Maybe, writing for the Pulitzer?)
Spiritual Growth. I’m going to download new books onto my audible account every month, turn my car into a mobile classroom and get inspired every single day.
Why? Because for me, spiritual growth is all about expanding my capacity for love, forgiveness, compassion, joy, fulfillment and a daily commitment to choosing faith over fear. I do those things best when I am learning from creative, passionate people who dig in on their dreams no matter what. In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy taught me that by listening to books on tape (or really, on apps!) as you drive, you could gain knowledge equivalent to two semesters of an advanced college degree—every year. That’s amazing. I went a little audible crazy and already downloaded hours of inspiration from Tony Robbins, Gabby Bernstein, Danielle LaPorte, Mark Manson, Laura Doyle and Elizabeth Gilbert.
Okay, but why? I’m sick of second guessing myself and my choice to live a little less conventionally. I need to stop Monday morning quarterbacking my decision to walk away from my legal career to be someone and something that can’t be quickly categorized or defined. Now if you could take up residence in my brain for one day, you would know how difficult that assignment is. Time, effort and consistency just won’t cut it. For me to stay true to my heart, I’m going to need to continually fill my mental, emotional and spiritual tank everyday with the insightful, imaginative and inventive vision of those who’ve lived according to their own terms and rocked it, hard.
So this is the equation for 2017:
Transformation = What I want + Why I want it + What’s REALLY going on inside.
I’m thinking that I like my odds.
*According to Integral Life these four pillars, like the four legs of a table, are all necessary to find the balance, stability, and strength you are looking for in your day to day life.