Some are already working on their list; others are waiting for tomorrow, or the next day, or certainly by Monday. Resolutions for the New Year are a yearly event that comes in, like the New Year itself, with tons of fanfare and then a quick exit.
It’s yet another attempt to “re-solve the puzzle.”
“This time I really believe it’s going to work. I know it didn’t work last year, the year before, or even on my 30th birthday, but this year is the year.”
As human beings, we are a bundle of beliefs that run our lives – many of which we got by accident. Perhaps a question that I ask at my seminars will be helpful . . .
What’s the right way to hang toilet paper?
I’ll bet you had an instant answer. Most do.
I once did a radio talk show where people argued about this topic for 4 hours. If the show was longer, they would have still been arguing.
People have beliefs about toilet paper and the way it should hang. Most beliefs are inherited. You had nothing to do with them getting in your head and running you. Many of you had the belief locked in place even before you knew what a belief was.
The same is true for most beliefs. You weren’t born with them. They were given to you, and you live your life in accordance with them. No one asked your permission to give you their beliefs. And notice how you argue for them.
Most resolutions go counter to our beliefs. Here’s a belief that most people own a version of – “Eat everything that’s on your plate.” Your conscious resolution goes to war with that established belief. Guess who has the biggest army? You lose the battle of the bulge, again.
I will offer you a resolution that has a better chance of working. Notice your beliefs!
Don’t beat yourself up about them. Remember, most of them aren’t your fault. You got them by osmosis.
Many people associate beliefs with their religion. If you have a belief about anything (including toilet tissue), you have a religion. The question many never ask is: “Is my religion working for me?” If the answer is “No,” you need a new religion.
A new way of doing things begins with an examination – a recognition.
Resolutions keep you on the surface. Examination takes you below decks where all the real work is being done.
The recognition of a belief is often the catalyst for outgrowing it.
Don’t get caught in the blame game. That will keep you on the surface, and at war. “If my father had been more industrious, I wouldn’t be so lazy. Damn him!”
It’s better to notice the indolent behavior in yourself without judgement or justification. The noticing makes us a witness to the behavior, rather than a participant in it. This witnessing of our belief/behavior opens a gentle space for new ideas to seep in.
The more noticing you do, the more space you create. The more space you create, the more room there is for something new to become a part of you – a new belief – one that is truly yours and works for you.
Making resolutions are useful to give you a direction to head in, but they are not the vehicle that drives you – beliefs are.
An unexamined belief will stay in place no matter how many notebooks you fill up with resolutions.
This New Year, take the time to notice and notice what happens.
Happy New Year!
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