New Year Resolutions are like astrology, a mere outline of expectations for the coming year. So, I am not a fan, but I do advocate taking some time to look back over the previous year and determine where I want to be within the next 365. Outlining your expectations is great, but we forget that specific circumstances can make an Aries behave like a Scorpio at any given moment. So that quest for internal healing and better health can get squashed if something unexpectedly traumatic occurs. Or if you renege on your diet when you go on vacation.
My point is that you need a little more than a list of grandiose “To Do’s” for the next year.
I encourage you, instead, to look over your shoulder one last time and inventory the lessons you’ve learned. Pack those in your carry on, say a final good-bye to 2015, and keep it pushing. You can do it with bells on, raging full steam ahead or with tears in your eyes shifting only to first gear. Either way, know the year is behind you and the lessons are yours to absorb.
You have a few hours left. So to jump start your process I’m going to list a few of the lessons I’m taking with me into 2016…
1. Re-Evaluate Your Truth With Regularity. You ever say something for so long that you don’t even realize when it is no longer true for you anymore? I hated spinach for years until I got grown and had it sautéed with tomatoes and feta cheese. Delish. On the other hand I used to love cake and icing until one day I asked for a corner piece—like always—and realized that I wanted to gag. See, before this year, I didn’t realize your taste buds change over time. Hear this. As you move through life your “taste” for certain things transforms as you grow. You aren’t going to enjoy the same things at 35 you did at 29 and you might desire somethings you never thought you would once you realize their value. Re-evaluate your truth regularly. Then check your words and your actions to make sure they are actually in alignment with who you are TODAY instead of speaking on behalf of your former self.
2. Band-Aids Do Not Heal Wounds. Believe it or not the healing process has nothing to do with how you cover your hurt. You see people on TV reaching for t-shirts when they don’t have the “proper” material all the time because the only purpose bandages serve is to prevent bad things from further contaminating the wound. Stay with me… the issue is that we self-medicate instead of looking for protective covering. We use things to deaden our senses, kill the pain, or delay the hurt. We defer to alcohol, or drugs or other people to make us feel better. And then we wonder why our healing takes so long. You cannot use a soiled rag as a bandage and expect to get better. If you cover yourself with something worse than the initial wound you will grow the infection. A bandage can only serve its purpose to protect if you are actually tending to the wound! Let me be clear: whatever is hurting you must be treated at the source. Then covered with something clean to prevent re-injury.
3. Lowering Yourself Never Works. I used to think that meeting people where they are was a sign of humility and compassion. But it isn’t. I hate when school systems lower their standards of educating because they assume kids from lower socioeconomic backgrounds cannot grasp certain information. It is insulting and in truth you do the same thing when you deem someone incapable of raising their spirit to a higher level just because they haven’t yet. Demonstrate empathy by understanding where someone is, but maintain your standard of operations so that you lead by example. Remember you cannot force someone to grow or evolve. But you validate poor behavior when you stoop to a level lower than your best self in order to deal with them. You block your progress and impede theirs as well. Now you’re worse off than they are—because you KNOW better.
4. Heartache Is Trauma. Healing is a Process. Yo…when you’re in the midst of romantic storm it is akin to trying to see through a tornado. Things are flying around in circles, stuff you need keeps blowing away, things you cherish have been destroyed, what you thought was a permanent fixture now has sharp broken pieces that keep stabbing you in the back—you know how this goes. And even when the wind settles and the rain stops falling you still have to pick through the debris to figure out what is left to be salvaged. A broken heart must be sifted through carefully in order to promote healing. I thought at 30 I was stronger than the need to process though a heart break. It’s not death, is what I told myself, but in fact it is. Foolishly, I tried to ignore the pain and behave as though I could operate the same. But heartache changes you. It has a way of altering your entire outlook on life. Let it. It’s supposed to. It needs to. And now you can rebuild with only the pieces of you that survived the storm.
5. Your Purpose Will Not Change Just Because You Ignore It. Living within your purpose is not always prompted by some dramatic occurrence where the sky opens and you hear God’s booming voice giving you the keys to life. Sometimes it is a subtle pulling of your spirit towards something that makes absolutely no sense to you whatsoever. It might even be your effectiveness under circumstances you don’t even enjoy. We assume passion and purpose go hand in hand, but that is not always the case. However, I have learned that what is for you to do as life-work will follow you no matter choices you make. The guiding principle that weaves your presence in this world will surface in some way whether you surrender completely or suppress it. Sometimes you have to sit back and look at where you are most effective in life—and get excited about that. And when you feel that pulling towards something—explore it. It might be the exact opportunity you needed to make the heavens open up for you.
6. Accept Where You Are In Life. 2015 taught me the difference between happiness and contentment. OK, let me be honest, my ex taught me that happiness, much like despair, is fleeting and you must find a way to be content in the now in order to keep pushing through the unexpected ups and downs in life. People constantly speak about the constant quest towards happiness, but you might be overlooking your immediate state of contentment (i.e. satisfaction) because you keep seeking something more extreme. Acceptance and gratitude are the keys to being satisfied enough with the present you in order to move fluidly towards the greater you. Bottom line: Be honest with yourself about where you are and understand that your intentions to be greater are not based on your decision to be OK today.
2016 Goal Setting is a great objective. Your resolutions and subsequent list of to do’s will probably motivate you forward, but without assessing the lessons of yesterday you are not setting yourself up for permanent success. Take a moment to be consciously aware of what you have learned to do and what you have learned not to do so the lessons stay fresh in your mind as you move into the New Year.