May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
― Neil Gaiman
Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Magic, dreams and good madness. It’s a new year and many of us are busy setting harsh and idealistic resolutions for the next 12 months to somehow better ourselves with as little pain as possible.
Many times, I believe we’re setting ourselves up for guilt, shame and a whole box full of shoulds/needs/supposedtos. We make these unrealistic New Years Resolutions that are usually shot down by the third week in January.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Because we see new years resolutions as difficult and as a punishment for living our lives. AACK!
This time last year, I had my shiny life and business planners all filled out. What do I want to accomplish in the new year? Is there something that I no longer want to do – what is that? How do I want to feel in the coming year? Who do I want to help? How many goals can I cram into each day?
Um…these are all awesome questions we should ask ourselves every once in a while because everyone could use a good dose of soul-searching. I think we’d all be kinder and more satisfied as human beings if we aimed to listen to our heart and set fluid goals versus harsh resolutions.
I absolutely knew that every resolution would be fulfilled if I just worked myself into complete exhaustion making everything happen.
Here’s where I stop on a dime. By making a list of resolutions that is longer than a tree is tall, we set ourselves up for disappointment and failure. And then we feel like we’ve screwed up the whole year and it isn’t even February yet.
So why bother?
This year, I’m changing my mindset to do things differently.
Leaving Room for Magic, Dreams and Good Madness
This year, I am giving myself permission NOT to make any resolutions, permission NOT to set myself up for failure, and permission NOT to feel like a total loser.
Don’t get me wrong – setting realistic (and yet lofty) goals and writing them down is a very good thing to do. Putting pen to paper (or electronically) gives you a tangible road map for accomplishing that which your soul longs for.
Instead of setting harsh resolutions, a better way to go about this is to give ourselves permission to follow our dreams. Yeah, I know. That’s sounds j-u-u-u-s-t a little on the woo-woo side.
Hear me out – okay?
By setting resolutions, we’re already in a mindset that this “change” is going to be hard. We don’t leave any space at all to go with the flow of life. When we set new year goals, you’ve already given yourself permission to reach for your dreams.
Now, I’m not lazy by any stretch of the imagination nor do I fear attempting a new challenge. (Scented Balance is the fourth business I’ve built.) Where I’ve made the mistake – and maybe you have, too – is that I/we don’t leave any room for magic, dreams and good madness.
What if we go at this self-improvement with a different perspective? What if, instead of difficult and punishing resolutions, we set a goal to do something different than what we’ve always done?
Getting Ready to Change Your Habits
During my holistic life coach training, I learned an excellent tool when attempting positive changes. So, maybe you think you’re ready – BUT – you’re not really ready yet. Instead of setting yourself up for failure because you’re not r-e-e-e-a-l-l-y ready, maybe the better question here is:
“What can you do to get ready to get ready to make a change?”
See the difference?
Let’s say your resolution is to get up every single morning and run 5 miles but you haven’t exercised in over a year. How long do you think that’s going to last?
It would be better to set a goal of walking around the block at least three mornings a week to get ready for the bigger goal of running 5 miles a day.
In that smaller (and much more realistic) goal, you’re getting ready to set a larger goal and you’re not setting yourself up for failure. The beauty of the smaller goal is that you can pick any three days you want – or more – without feeling like you’ve failed yourself if you decide to lay in bed one morning.
By letting go of the rigid resolutions and opting for fluid goals, you are opening yourself up to magic, dreams and good madness. You’re also giving yourself permission to change course if something isn’t working without feeling like a quitter.
I’ve said in other posts how hard I am on myself. My inner critic and I grew up in a household where nothing was ever good enough and the thought of the day was always “you can’t do that – it’s not possible.” So the thought of magic, dreams and good madness never entered my mind. Therefore, I set staunch, rigid resolutions that were punishing because I must do better and of course, I failed.
A Different Way to Approach New Years Resolutions
This year, I’m doing things differently. I’ve experienced a lot of failed resolutions because I didn’t make room for the flow of life. The change in my attitude is to set goals allowing for them to be fluid and change them if need be.
I no longer see resolutions that didn’t pan out as a statement of my poor character and lack of hard work, but more of the ability to go with the flow and change course when something clearly isn’t working out.
I subscribe to The Elephant Journal which is a roundup of writers who write about living a mindful life. One of the articles talks about New Years Resolutions and a different way to approach them:
Most New Year’s resolutions are predicated on not be happy enough or not having what we want, or needing to be prettier, or thinner, or more organized. But what if we began with accepting ourselves with maitri, or loving-kindness, and extended that genuine happiness outward?
This makes sense to me because it sets me – and you – up for success right out of the gate. And I don’t know about you, but I want to feel more like a success than I do a failure.
The other thing I learned? Just because something failed doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. Huge difference in that mindset! I’m not a failure even though my resolution (or dream) didn’t pan out.
My wish for you is this: I hope your new years resolutions become your beautiful and achievable goals and that you are successful beyond your wildest imagination.
It’s time for a new dream and to keep following my heart – resolutions be damned. Let’s resolve to be open to magic, dreams and good madness in the coming year.
I am so grateful for each one of you and I look forward to serving you in magical ways. If you’re ready to get ready to change your habits, fill out the contact form and let’s talk – do it today!