While it’s the start of a new year for many around the world, in the Middle East, there’s nothing really eventful about the 1st of January. For me it’s not an issue because I stopped making New Years resolutions somewhere back in my teens. Like a lot of things done by normal people, I, feeling quite the opposite of normal, just didn’t think they made sense. The carefully timed, annual commitments to myself and the universe to eat less of the foods I actually like or do things I don’t do because I don’t want to didn’t work for me. In the beginning, I thought that the problem was with me; the product of one of those “broken homes” that create broken people. That my dysfunctional background had lived up to the expectations and left me too confused and disturbed to display normal citizen levels of self discipline and commitment. It turned out I was surrounded by lots of normal people who were also lacking in the first day of the year promise keeping department. I was clearly overthinking the whole thing!
As I’ve lived a while past my teens and learned more about the world around me, rather than the one in my head (and oh what a quite different world that is!) I’ve gathered that it’s a very people like thing to say we’re going to do something, feel full to overflowing with enthusiasm for a while and then fizzle out in a blaze of nothing glorious. This is especially true where social pressure puts us on the spot and makes us feel that we have to join in with the collective making of promises to improve ourselves in the coming year. Group thinking is a killer for personal growth; the arena where real, change your life stuff happens. This is what I’m interested in.
My relationship with New Years Resolutions was buried with my parents around 10 years ago. In the years before that, I’d started a tradition of spending the last night of the year in quiet reflection. I would mentally note what went well in the year and try to determine why as well as dig deep in the areas I felt I could do better. I wouldn’t write, share or make any promises to myself or anyone else; just reflect. Once my parents were gone, I added to my reflections a consideration for them and the sacrifices they had made for me before and after they brought me into the world. I found that considering if I was living in a way that showed gratitude for the life they gave me the strongest of all motivators. Through continually considering my parents and imagining what they might say to me in relation to my life, how I treat myself and others, I am always driven for steady, continual growth. Rather than only a little at the start of the year, I find I am able to see lots of little changes happening steadily throughout each year. I can also always look back at the previous year and see huge changes too.
One resolution; to continue improving to the best of my ability every single day, replaces all others for me. It allows me to make allowances for my humanness whilst keeping a momentum of progress and growth as a non-negotiable expectation for myself. Within this, I have guiding spot lights I shine on myself when I check in and reflect on how I’m doing. When I drift off course, which for sure I do, I can get back on track any time. My 2019 starts with these fail and guilt proof keep it moving sparklers:
- Regularly checking in on myself to identify my fears and meet them head on- the bigger the fear, the higher the priority for facing it!
- Embracing change, the unexpected, the weird and the wonderful with the same level of acceptance.
- Striving for peace within rather than control over sources that may disturb me from outside.
- Showing more unconditional love because it’s the one thing everyone needs that I can never run out.
- Smiling and laughing every day.
- Leaving everyone else exactly as they are because working on myself is full time project that I will never finish.
- Exploring new places, meeting new people, trying new things.
Happy New You in 2019!