It’s January, and I’ve received quite a few posts about resolutions: how to make them, keep them, and improve on them. So, just when I was about to post my views on resolutions I decided to start over and talk to you about the second wave of the year –the time when resolutions are abandoned and we quietly get on with our same old lives.
I read the 2020 most popular resolutions and saw that many of them involve living with greater purpose. Even exercise goals are ultimately about living with greater dedication to life. I’ve often been asked how I’ve changed so much in my life. Apparently I am not who I was 20 years ago, or even one year ago. There’s so much hype about how to change that I thought I would share what I know to be true – three things I know for sure – about positive change.
First, I used to think change had to be BIG and IMMEDIATE or it didn’t count. Voices in my head criticized, “I thought you were going to do more than that!” Now, I believe in changing a little at a time. This doesn’t mean I want change any less – I just go about it differently. Try changing a little at a time instead of trying to change everything all at once and failing. It helps us live in the moment instead of living in the future or in our imagination.
Second, planning what to do in my life is like playing a joke on myself. Why? Because I have to know who I am created to be before I can make plans about what I want to do next year. Try returning to your resolutions in the context of recovering who you were created to be
Finding our true self is like a treasure hunt. And like any hunt there are bound to be a few false steps. We have to uncover a lot of dirt to find our self. But here’s the appeal of this hunt: the treasure is real. We don’t need make-overs plans to recreate ourselves. Our worth has always been there living inside us.
Try to imagine your life as a map with the star-shaped symbol telling you, “You Are Here.” But for our purpose this isn’t where you are in life, it’s who you are! This isn’t your current education, age, health status, or money saved. That’s what you’ve done. The YOU ARE HERE spot is the “YOU” that God created you to be: good, kind, created to love and connect with yourself and others. You were created with unique gifts like teaching, encouraging, leading, building things or building people. Are you hiding behind pretend life-styles or revealing your true strengths? This year, you don’t have to be what other people tell you to be. You will find more success with your resolutions, even the ones about exercising more, when you start looking for reminders of who you are meant to be in this life.
Third, I am not meant to go through life alone. No-one is. Any kind of change depends on having support. So try joining a formal or informal group of friends, a therapist, or any like-minded group of people to help you understand the meaning of your life’s story.
My favorite true story about my husband is of his support for me. Some of you have heard this one. We were talking about my constantly changing life and I asked, “I’m high maintenance aren’t I?” He answered, “Yes.” Then he asked me, “Do you know why you love me?” I was curious. He doesn’t talk my touchy-feely language too often. What he said helped me realize how essential support is to living a meaningful life. He said, “You’re like a bird flying out and about to see the whole world. You love me because I keep the windows open. I help you fly.”
Who is keeping the window open in your life? Fixing and rescuing people, including our self, can be frustrating, even toxic in our world. What we need are open windows and open hearts to support us, and love us back to our true self, one day at a time.
I’ve lived through life’s most vulnerable experiences, the kind that can destroy physical and spiritual life. So, I’ve promised myself to keep looking for greater purpose. Change isn’t always on schedule. It can be unexpected and inconvenient. It can start again every January or every Monday. What matters is that today we discover who we are, and tomorrow, we feel a little urgency to keep trying, and get support to keep flying.