Have you got started on your New Year’s resolutions yet?
You know the list is usually the same every year for most folks. To the gym, diet, no gossiping, budget better.
But have you noticed that we often start off these self improvement projects with great enthusiasm and that enthusiasm dwindles as daily life takes over and so do our habitual reactions to stress, coupled with the real hard work of substantive change sets in?
Maybe it’s because we set ourselves up to fail by announcing these sweeping changes without getting ourselves ready, really ready, in this very moment.
For instance, If we don’t like our weight and we don’t feel OK about ourselves in the body that’s here right now, we already have a level of tension in the body and mind that we are carrying around with us. This seems like a solid impetus for change. But actually it makes change harder.
We are beginning our journey with an assumption that who and where we are right now is not acceptable. Yet acceptance is the key. I am not saying that you don’t have goals of better health and weight loss and work towards them. But bring a kindness to yourself as you would to a loved one. Being aware of what is here and accepting things as they are, because that is what is actually happening.
Then, we can begin our resolution with an open awareness and perhaps a bit more ease. If our usual course of action when we have had a difficult day is to relieve those uncomfortable feelings by eating “comfort food,” the pull to do so will be strong. If we “give in,” often times comes the barrage of harsh judgments (worst enemy kind of stuff), “we are weak”, “this is hopeless”, fill in the blanks, basically I am talking about unhelpful self-loathing.
But with being mindful in the moment of accepting ourselves, we go a little more gently. We forgive ourselves and begin again. Maybe we ask ourselves if we could see the triggers and perhaps see if we can bring a little more ease into our day and our responses so that we can make better choices towards our goal. We make more progress with a little patience than with a boat load of enthusiasm. At least, that’s been my experience. Check it our for yourself.
I included this poem as it’s apropos to this post:
BE STILL IN HASTE BY WENDELL BERRY (1962)
How quietly I begin again
from this moment looking at the clock, I start over
so much time has passed, and is equaled by whatever split-second is present
from this moment this moment is the first