The NEW YEAR begins and you resolve that a NEW YOU must accompany it. You make a list of all of your perceived deficiencies, factor in input from society and suggestions from others and come up with a list of resolutions—things you plan to radically change about yourself in the coming year.
Setting New Year’s resolutions would be fine—if it worked. But it’s all a game we play to keep ourselves spiritually asleep, unhappy and unfulfilled. New Year’s resolutions don’t work for 3 reasons:
- You forget who you are. If the changes you want to make were easy, you would have already made them. But, you push these tough responsibilities onto your future self as if that person were somehow separate from you.
This is unfair. Think about it—the 2015 version of you hasn’t even shown up and you’re already saddling it with hundreds of tasks, tweaks and changes and all of it is stuff you haven’t been able to get yourself to do! Do you really think that the future version of you is somehow going to WANT to go to the gym, or call your mother every week or put 10% from every paycheck into savings?
Of course not. It’s a way of fragmenting yourself. The you that has yet to come is seen as a separate person from who you are now. This allows you to put responsibility for change on someone other than yourself even if that person is our own past or future self.
Here’s what I mean: You make several life-changing New Year’s resolutions. Then, when the New Year arrives, you drop them. Why? Because the person that was you who made the resolutions (you from the past) pushed the responsibility and work onto the future you. In response to this rude treatment, when the future you shows up it blows off the commitment saying that the resolution was unrealistic.
The you from the past gets to push everything to future you and the future you gets to, in turn, blow it all off. It’s a perfect system for accomplishing nothing.
- Your deck is stacked—too stacked. Everyone has a critical inner voice, sacred clown, rude roommate, devil, separated or shadow self; whatever you call it everyone has that dark side. The dark side’s purpose is to keep us from realizing our divine potential. That means, the ego’s purpose is to get us caught up in games that distract us and limit our success.
So, what’s the best way to assure that someone fails? Overwhelm them with tasks. Give them a very uncomfortable job (like trying to make major changes) give them a deadline (New Year’s Day) then offer no option for stumbling along the way to success.
Next, get everyone else’s ego involved. Get EVERYONE to make overwhelming resolutions such that everyone secretly—or not, knows that it’s all a game anyway. It’s not that people can’t change. It’s that so many big changes all at once stack the deck assuring failure.
- You’re on drugs. You know the smell that hits you when you walk into a movie theater? The smell of popcorn causes an instant rush of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine has been called the “bliss drug”—the drug of desire.
Studies have found that when we make a commitment such as, “I’m going to quit smoking,” or, “I’m going lose weight,” or, “I’m going to save money this year” our brains kick out a big dose of dopamine and we get a feeling of elation. In other words, just making the commitment to change (a New Year’s Resolution) gets us high.
But just like any drug there is a big crash after this rush of dopamine. Now, we’re faced with the commitment, which has now become an overwhelming assignment. We no longer feel the giddy anticipation of action. Rather, we feel a pang of fear and dread.
Making New Year’s resolutions will give you a shot of bliss—but that’s as good as it gets. You’re then stuck with taking action—new and uncomfortable action.
SO WHAT? So…when you make a resolution you are making a promise to yourself. When you break that commitment, you are cavalierly walking away from yourself. You may even think, “Oh what, the hell—nobody succeeds at New Year’s resolutions.” You’ve now established a pattern of behavior whereby a commitment to change is readily tossed aside.
Let me repeat that—you’ve broken a commitment to yourself! The one person you need to count on—you, asked you to do something, you agreed and then you welched. This causes you not to trust that person in the future even if that person is you!
So what you can you do? Consider that rather than making a list of things you should do, ask yourself, “What one word encapsulates the greatest positive shift in my life.”
For 2015, don’t do resolutions.
Go into prayer. Ask your soul for the one attribute that, if it were expanded in the coming year, would cause you to become your highest self.
People who have done this, have been guided to spend the entire coming year focusing on words such as “love,” “inspiration,” “confidence,” “abundance,” “forgiveness,” “health,” and “success.”
- Look the word up. Always be clear with words. “Forgive,” for example doesn’t mean to accept an apology. It means to release your resentment.
- Look up the etymology. Words have power. The English word “worry” comes from the Proto-Indo-European word wring as in to wring someone’s neck or strangle.
- Put it in your ringtone. If the word that comes to you is love, consider making “Give Me Love” by George Harrison or other similar song your ringtone.
- Repeat the word and over while you brush your teeth, at stoplights, while you’re in the bathroom, while eating.
- Work it into your conversations once per day. If the word is happy, find ways to say, “I’m happy to do that,” or “that makes me happy.” Make it a game to work the word in as often as possible.
- Shoot a picture of the word. If your word is “strong,” shoot a picture of that word once each day with your phone. If you see an ad that says, “Strong on grime,” shoot a picture.
The whole point of this exercise is to remind yourself that, regardless of your dreams and desires, your soul has a path. If you follow this course it will take you on the most direct course to what you seek but, more importantly, it will transform you in the process assuring that your success will not only endure but that you will enjoy it when it arrives.