I’ve been reading a number of very inspiring blogs the last few days. People are reflecting on the past year and looking forward into 2011. They are talking about changes they want to make in their lives and what the future holds for them. People are excited about their resolutions, sharing their hopes, goals, dreams and aspirations for the new year and it seems to me what they are doing is turning optimism into kinetic energy. People are asserting their own power and claiming their strength. The underlying message of all resolutions is “I can change, I can be a better person and I can live more authentically.” Resolutions are pure creativity – they allows us to expand our thinking about who we are and what we are capable of doing or being. Resolutions inspire and have the potential to be not only life changing, but world-changing. Exciting stuff.
And although many resolutions crumble early in the year – think of all those packed gyms right now that will be desolate come the second week in February, it doesn’t have to be that way. Resolutions are tough. We ask ourselves to stretch and grow beyond who we already are, which requires commitment, focus, and support. All three are critical elements. There is also a fourth element, which may be the hardest of all, forgiveness. At some point we will all wander off from the resolution; we won’t have time to work out for an hour, we’ll burn out trying to organize our office after the third day of going through the mountains of paperwork, we’ll discover learning to play the piano is a lot more challenging than we thought. And when we realize we’ve fallen, the urge will be to give up because clearly we’ve failed. It’s all or nothing, right?
Wrong. Those people who make it to the end of the year with resolutions intact are the ones who continued on despite the number of times they ran into challenges or fell off the path. You can always start again in the very moment when you realize you aren’t progressing toward your goal. Wandering away from your resolution is part of the journey. Count on it and it makes it easier to return back to the path.
I tend to create and evaluate goals continuously throughout the year, so instead of creating a list of resolutions each year, I resolve to do one thing; choose a word of the year. I learned this from a fabulous coach and presenter, Christine Kane (www.ChristineKane.com). Some people call these focus words and it’s just what it sounds like. Each year I choose a word to focus on – usually something I need more of in my life, something I want to move towards in some way. I keep the word in my consciousness as much as possible and I look for it playing out in my life, which it inevitably does in some pretty remarkable ways.
Last year, the word I chose was “Yes!” It occurred to me that I reflexively said no to so much in my life. “No, I can’t take the time to do that for myself.” “No, that’s too hard, too scary, too unknown.” “No, I can’t make that happen.” By embracing “Yes!” more often, I went on new adventures, took more risks, paid attention to the present moment, strengthened relationships, acted more creatively and expanded my ideas about what was truly possible.
And yet, as 2010 drew to a close, I reflected on the past year, and it occurred to me how much time I spent dwelling in the negative, getting caught up in the sadness, the anger and the pain of the struggles I faced. I realized how much time I mired myself in the moments of fear and self-doubt, when I felt sorry for myself and sank into pits of anger. These were fleeting experiences and instead of letting them run their course and fade away, I often prolonged them, dragging them out and refusing to let go.
At the same time, when I look back, there were so many incredible moments that could only be described as magical. It is clear that in most ways, I am truly lucky and blessed. I experienced powerful and transformative events, the likes of which I have never seen before in my own life. I met incredible people who continue to inspire me daily and have offered their gifts and talents for no other reason than their own personal desire to help. Relationships with people I have known for years suddenly deepened, appearing out of thin air when I needed them most. I took risks this year and met some pretty far-fetched goals. I went on adventures that illuminated my authentic self and expanded my vision of who I truly am. When I see myself from this perspective, how can I not be blown away by the life I live?
So this year, my goal is to focus more on the magical moments, to give the light more power than the dark. I do believe we give energy on that which we focus, and this year, I choose to focus on all of those inexplicable and yet consistent moments in my life where the impossible occurs – propelling me forward, helping me to live my extraordinary life. This year my word is “charmed.”
I can’t wait to see where it takes me.