New Year’s Resolution Struggles? Solution: New Year, Your Way

new years' resolution struggles? new year, your way
As we enter 2017 and I see the beginnings of peoples’ new year’s resolutions, I considered what I’d really like to say and, in truth, I keep coming back to something I said this time last year. So rather than try and reinvent the wheel, simply because a calendar has changed, I’d like to bring up last year’s [edited and updated] post as a reminder to anyone who’s struggling making new year’s resolutions, or feeling pressured to change when they’re really not ready to do so.
 It’s a new year and everyone is making huge plans. There’s a new start, clean slate and another chance to get it right. What pressure!

Social pressure encourages us to make big plans, live your biggest life, change the world, lean in, make it count.

It can seem like everyone is planning amazing goals, but what if that’s not possible for you?

I believe that we need kindness more than admonishment and pressure.

Lasting, healing change happens organically to the schedule of your body, not when an artificially constructed calendar turns over.

I’m refusing to pressure myself just because of a calendar invented hundreds of years ago, by a Pope who obviously never met me, and probably would have branded me a witch if he had.

I don’t believe that in one year, if we work hard enough, are good enough, if we cleanse, detox, manifest, and work on ourselves enough, we will have a perfect life. Maybe this is the perfect life, the one with pains and dropped stitches and jumping CDs and wonky photos.

Personally, I feel best making new plans in the spring, when the land is waking up and energy is quickening, not in the cold, dark, hibernation time of winter. Now is the time for me to rest, to build my energy, to dive deep, feel my roots and incubate dreams for spring.

I think there’s often a deep, hidden fear that if we don’t plan, push and pressure ourselves then we will get left behind. That we will simply slump, do nothing, eat bon bons all day. As though our nature is inertia and the only way to guard against that is to keep our noses to the grindstone through our insistent internal dialogue.

I invite you to put down the mental lash. Take a breath. Does it feel true in your core that your deepest nature is sluggish stagnation? I don’t believe that’s true. I believe in Roger’s organismic self, that given the right conditions, humans are always growing towards their best selves. Naturally, like plants towards the light. That you don’t have to do anything for this to happen, just “let the soft animal of your body want what it wants” and it will want good things.

I believe in moving organically with my body and life. That it’s my job to be kind to myself, and when I am, things like tenacity, energy, daring and creativity can thrive. I’d rather listen to myself than push myself and trust that I’ll get where I need to be without a mental lashing every time a calendar flips over.

What if we “played until we wanted to rest, and rest until we wanted to play”? With enough rest, could work feel like play?

Often resolutions are used a way of pursuing perfectionism and escaping what is. We try to escape the very human aspects of life – pain, sorrow, grief, hurt and anger through intellectualising, spiritual by-passing and self-help-overdrive.

Instead, can we see life as a spiral, where we take turns at challenges again and again, learning more each time? We move not upwards but deeper and wider.

I invite you to do this new year, YOUR way:

– Celebrate at a time that works for you, not necessarily January

– Notice the pressure to conform and fix yourself, unpick that tangle before you make a commitment.

– Value your achievements, however large or small.

– Take the new year as an opportunity to celebrate rather than critique.

Wishing you a sensational 2016, my dear. I know it will be sensational because you are.