I sit here wondering how it could be that two months have passed between newsletters. Not being a procrastinator by nature, I know this lapse has not been from lack of thinking about or planning to send monthly messages about life changes and how we navigate them and learn from them.
So… in this spirit, I share with you that I have learned much about the nature of understanding and forgiveness in not keeping up with writing monthly. What I have been able to see, is that ideas, creativity and productivity can’t always emerge from a taskmaster of setting deadlines.
I can be forgiving and know that this frees me to be able to start anew in 2018 with the intention of resuming monthly articles that I hope will resonate, connect and encourage you to look within yourself to process where you are, what you feel and what you are seeking.
This month I am reflecting on New Year’s resolutions and how effective they are or not… One of the definitions of the word resolution is: “ a firm decision to do or not do something”.
It has become a yearly custom to make resolutions at the New Year as a way of beginning with a firm plan for changing our behavior, habits or patterns as we turn the page and enter 2018 with a clean slate.
Of course by the time we reach the middle or end of January, it is likely that any one of our resolutions will have been abandoned because it felt too hard, we were distracted or detoured by other things or maybe we lost our motivation to turn over that new leaf. Now what?
What accompanies any failed New Years resolution is usually a sense of failure, let down, guilt and harsh self- judgement. Just take a moment to check in with how you talk to yourself when you have not been able to carry through on your resolution. What do you say? How does it feel?
Most likely, a failed resolution leaves you angry and disappointed with yourself. This is the place where that guilt and negative self- talk take over. The more you beat yourself up, the more miserable you will feel. It is a cycle that takes its toll on how we perceive ourselves.
If we add to this the additional weight of being in the midst of a major life transition, it becomes that much harder to be able to follow through on a resolution. Being in the middle of a divorce, at the beginning of retirement or trying to heal from the loss of a loved one is not the time to tie ourselves to “a firm decision to do or not do something.”
Now, consider something different. Rather than making a resolution, try thinking of a change in how you usually approach things as an intention. An intention is defined as: “an aim or plan”. The very open endedness of this creates the ground for us to plant that intention and see it take root and grow.
This feels different than that resolution. When you make an intention there is space for seeing a life change, whether it is what you eat, how often you exercise or what you decide to do, as something that allows for good days and not so good, trial and error or allowing that some days you may need something other than the firm, absolute discipline of sticking to your resolution.
With your intention hopefully you can allow yourself forgiveness for the times that you didn’t carry through. With that forgiveness, you will be able to pick up your intention and continue on because you see what you are trying to do for yourself as a process with ups and downs, not the burden of expecting that it needs to be perfect.
So… Here are 6 Steps for Making Clear Intentions with Self-Compassion
1. Create an intention that supports your health and well-being.
Whatever your intention is, it is for you, not for anyone else. Let your intention take root inside you.
2. Examine your desire tor making your intention,versus your readiness to carry it through.
What else is going on in your life that might make it difficult to be successful? Are you creating the best atmosphere for your success or are you sabotaging yourself to fail?
3. Make a plan that supports your success.
Know yourself. What will motivate you the most and help you stay the course? Friends and family that are non-judgmental can be both your cheering section and your empathic listeners. They can walk with you through your process.
4. Humor and forgiveness can help you when you struggle with your intention.
Lighten up with some humor that acknowledges your human frailties. When you are able to see this multi-dimensional you, accessing self-forgiveness becomes easier.
5. Keep remembering… It’s not all or nothing… It’s a process.
Collect and remember your small successes. They will keep adding up and motivate you.
6. Enjoy the journey!
So dear readers, my 2018 intention to you, is to make every effort to send a monthly newsletter that is interesting, relevant and helpful. If I should lapse once in a while because life gets in the way, I will rely on the same self-compassion and forgiveness I am suggesting to you.
Let’s see how we can support each other in this. Let me know about your progress and I will let you know about mine. Wishing you all Good Intentions for 2018!