So many people talk about New Year’s resolutions that it makes for good commentary by mid-January (or by Jan 31 if it involves a month-long fitness program!) as most people break them.
I got to thinking about this and came up with: Why not do something different this year? (Along the lines of the Einstein quote: Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.) Why not set up healthy, end-of-year resolutions by December 15 and use them to propel your year forward?
By starting with a year-end resolution today – on January 1 either my resolutions will be ½ way to becoming a new habit (it takes a minimum of 31 days for something to become a habit!) or if I strike out, then I can still start the new year on a positive note. Either way, my end-of-year resolutions will set me up for new year success!
And instead of an unreasonable number of resolutions – I’m going to go with numbers used in baseball: 3 resolutions (like 3 possible chances to hit a home run) and 4 possible restarts (for when life throws me curve balls I don’t expect!) And, I’m going to keep score and go public (I’m confident in my own ideas these days that I don’t care if anyone disagrees with me).
So here are my end-of-year resolutions:
1. Prioritize the Royal We (me, myself and I) before anyone else.
I’ll be the first to admit that I used to share my energy, my time, and my talents freely with others – often to my detriment. Whenever someone called me with their problems (often in the middle of the night), emailed me (for free advice) or asked me for help (usually impacting my schedule), I was there for them without as much as a second thought (and that’s the problem). Typically, I ended up with the short end of the stick when it came to money, energy, or time for me, and I didn’t realize that I did it to myself.
Not that I will change the amount or the energy that I give to others – but, I will take a moment (BEFORE responding) to consider my Royal We priorities and how my response could affect them. If there is no detrimental result on the Royal We to being there for the other person, I will continue to be my giving, cheerful, responsive self. But if there is a downside (i.e., I will be short of time, money or energy by giving it away, or I will deprive myself of sleep without good reason), then I will respond with a gentle but firm – NO, and have confidence that the other person WILL survive. (I will admit that this rule will never apply when it comes to a plea from my children.)
If you were raised to believe that you have to love yourself first before you can share anything valuable with others, I applaud your knowledge and understand that you are probably aghast when you hear me declare this. Many of the rest of us were taught as children to put a higher priority on the needs of others (above our own). While this works well for youngsters (share your toys, don’t be greedy, be generous with the other kids), it doesn’t bode well for adults. As a result, we end up with a sense of self-regret or self-loathing because we make promises to serve others before taking care of ourselves. And we cannot expect or anticipate that anyone else should take care of our needs – it simply isn’t the way of the world and it never was.
Therefore, my commitment going forward is to the Royal We (me, myself, and I) BEFORE giving my time, talents, or energy to others. I deserve this me first treatment from myself!
2. Listen to my intuition and ignore the noise outside.
If you’ve read my blog posts over the past 2 years, you’ll know that for many years I abandoned my intuition in favor of listening and cooperating with others who told me they knew (better than I could) what was best for me. I now realize that controlling people (and almost everyone) behaves solely to help themselves (including trying to control others). In so doing, I ignored and overrode my intuition to avoid conflict, and I tolerated toxic relationships for far too long. No more!
This resolution is an ongoing process and not an easy one because it means severing and ending toxic relationships, setting up healthy boundaries to keep my esteem intact, and saying “Stop right there” when someone spews verbal diarrhea (or abuse) in my direction. (You are right if you say that I should never have tolerated this, but live and learn.)
Since I’ve stopped tolerating abusive behavior from others, I’ve realized that I’ve always been whole, complete, and perfect in the universe after all. My intuition and sense of self has rebounded, and I know that it’s the right thing to do!
3. Create expectations only of myself.
Another realization is that I can only ever influence or control my behavior and not that of anyone else in the world. This is major for me because in the past (and sometimes in the present), I unfairly expected that the Golden Rule also applied to others (not true!) If I choose to treat others well there is no connection with how others will behave or treat me – there is no correlation!
Again, I was raised in the belief that everyone followed the Golden Rule (do unto others as you would like to be treated yourself) but the world is not holistic. It WAS disappointing to discover that we cannot take anything personally (ignorant people are ignorant to many people, kind people are kind to many people, etc.)
While it is my choice to follow any given philosophy (the golden rule, give and take, be kind to others) – I can only ever affect my behavior. To have expectations of anyone else sets me up for disappointment and failure. People act in their own best interests and follow their own set of rules for life, and now that I know it’s got nothing to do with me, how can I take anything personally? (Thank you to don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements for this illumination).
This resolution won’t be easy because it means overcoming a lifetime of training and reinforcement that set up the false belief that I have something to do with what others do or say. It is simply not true – people will say and do what they want regardless (and in spite of) what I do. (This can be a big relief!)
I’ve already started to live these resolutions today and the results are promising! Assumptions about w I’d like others to respond withered before my very eyes in several conversations, and I don’t feel any disappointment (or happiness) in what they said or did. People simply are who they are – I’ve got nothing to do with that, nor should I.
What do you think? Are year-end resolutions a possibility for you? Do you share my outlook or resolutions?
Wishing you success, prosperity and many happy memories today and as we approach the new year.