On resolutions …. breaking and keeping them

Welcome to 2013!

Bik and I saw the New Year in at home around our firepit in the back garden, with our lovely chums and fellow Shimmering Bees Su & Martin popping in for a while.

New Year is always a little odd for me, as I follow the old Pagan ways and *my* New Year is at the end of the harvest, or Samhain (you may know it as Halloween).

That said, New Year’s Day is 12 days after Yule (midwinter) in the Northern Hemisphere, and the time that the days start to get noticeably longer even though we’re still in the depths of winter.  So perhaps it’s a good time to start things – who knows?

I liked this comment from Angela Chicken (she’s a splendid poet, go watch here!) this morning:  

“I like resolutions. I see them as a chance to dabble. What I like doing sticks and what I don’t like enough doesn’t. It feels like an opportunity to shake things up a bit and listen to the little voice inside.”

I’ve had some thoughts on resolutions this morning, after reading this great article in the Huffington post.   Here’s my advice, to myself more than anything, on the subject.

Make actual resolutions, not wishes!

A resolution is defined as:

1. The state or quality of being resolute; firm determination.
2. A resolving to do something.

3. A course of action determined or decided on.

Number 3 is the definition you need to be looking at, as it’s the one which stipulates ACTION!

You can wish all you like for something, but you’re going to need a plan to do what is needed to reach the thing you wish for. Along with any resolution, we need to plan small actions – micro movements, little things that take no longer than 15 minutes usually.  We also need to identify the resources and support we need, and how we’re going to get those.

It’s the wrong time of year to start a new thing

As I said, I follow the seasons as much as I can, so I align many of my activities with the natural cycles – planting in early Spring, tending through Summer, harvesting in Autumn, going inward in Winter.  

Midwinter is a dark, cold time when our energy is naturally lower, which doesn’t bode well for an intention to start running!  We also crave carbohydrates and warming foods, making starting a diet very challenging.

Perhaps setting some exercise and diet goals for the early spring, and gathering what we need for them, makes a lot more sense in the dark of winter, rather than dragging ourselves out for a run for 3 days before giving up by this weekend.

Generally, when we are feeling tired and inward-looking, it’s a better time to plan and reflect than to take action.

This isn’t all bad news, as you can take the cold days of January to plan your micro movements and gather your resources.

If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, you are entering into the Harvest time now.  Again, not a time for planting but for pruning, tending and gathering.  This is worth thinking about!

Are your resolutions assuming the day is longer than 24 hours?

There is only so much time in the day, as the article I was reading points out.  Whilst you can get clever with time management, if you’re not already going for a 5 mile run, or writing 500 words, or running a small business from home, there’s probably a good reason.  

In my Creativity Survey (which you can take here if you’ve a mind to), TIME is listed as a major challenge for most people.

So, if you want to take up something new, something old may have to go.  Examine your day and see whether there’s actually enough time to fit in a new habit, and jettison some other activities if you need to.

Do you ACTUALLY want the stuff on your resolutions list?

If you’re not already doing something, there’s a good chance that, deep down, you’re not really that fussed about it, or it’s something else you really want.

I love this exercise which I’ve adapted from Danielle LaPorte‘s book ‘The Firestarter Sessions‘ 

Examine each of your resolutions and delve deeper.

I want to get fit because………………… and it will make me feel ………………… which will make me feel ……………………….  which leads to a deep desired feeling of …………………….

Keep going until you hit the target!

For instance, here’s mine:

I want to lose weight because it will make me more healthy, I will feel in control of my body and impluses, I will feel strong, healthy and powerful, which leads to a deeply desired feeling of sovereignty in my own life.

By doing this, I see that it’s not really weight loss I’m after, but something much more fundamental.  The thing is, if I achieve my REAL goal, then the weight loss will come as a natural consequence.

Thanks so much for reading this – now over to you.  What are your resolutions and plans for 2013?  Tell me in the comments section 🙂

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