What’s Behind that New Year’s Resolution?

If you are someone who makes New Year’s resolutions, New Year’s intentions, I invite you to ponder what lies behind that resolution?

Let’s take a really common example…”my new year’s resolution is to lose 10, 20, 30, etc pounds.”

For some people I am sure that what lies behind that resolution is simply a desire to be healthier.  And that is great.  If this is your resolution, maybe you are making it because you want to be able to engage in more physical activity without getting so winded.  Or perhaps you really do want to reduce your risk of heart disease.  Or perhaps you are doing it because you know more exercise and a cleaner diet helps promote a more positive outlook on life.

However, I imagine that some people make this resolution because they secretly believe if they can lose that weight then finally they will be “enough.”  They may hope that with losing those pounds they will finally be attractive “enough”, or they will finally be worthy “enough”, or even that they will finally be loveable “enough.”  And if that’s the case, then I’m sorry to say that making a resolution around your weight isn’t going to change things.  Because the problem isn’t your weight.  The problem is your belief that you need to do, or be, different than how you currently are in order to be enough.  The truth, is that you are enough just the way you are right now.

The same goes for all sorts of resolutions:  “In this new year, I am going to be more positive and grateful.”  “In this new year, I am going to go on more adventures.”  “In this new year, I am going to spend more time helping others.”

If you are making these resolutions because you genuinely want to live differently and you can see how that would be a benefit to you then that’s great.  But if we want to change some arbitrary condition of ourselves in order to be “enough”, then the resolution isn’t going to work.  Because the lie that people need to measure up to a specific ideal or standard in order to be “good enough,” “attractive enough,” “worthy enough,” or “loveable enough” will not stop even if you accomplish your resolution.

Say you lose the 10, 20, or 30 pounds.  If you did it because you secretly believe that people who are 10, 20, or 30 pounds lighter are “attractive enough” or “worthy enough” then once you’ve reached that ideal weight you’ll likely still be ever watchful of gaining back weight.  And if you do slip and gain back some of the weight, instead of accepting that life is full of ups and downs, you’ll likely be right back in that state of not feeling “enough.”  And finally, if you do reach that ideal “enough” weight, you’ll likely discover that people at that weight also don’t feel like they are “enough.”  Many of those people also have this hunger, this ache, to be “enough,” but instead of it focusing on weight it is focused on some other arbitrary state or condition.

But it isn’t all bad news.  If you realize that the motivation for your new year’s resolution is this “enough-ness” issue, then consider making this your resolution this year: “In this new year, I am going to accept and love myself exactly the way I am.”

That is a new year’s resolution that will actually change your life.

January 3, 2018Permalink
Free Practice Group

Twice a month I lead a free Compassionate Communication Practice Group. Open to those new and advanced students. We meet on the First and Third Monday of the month at 6 pm. We gather at 640 Hawthorn Lane in classroom 8. Classrooms are behind the church and to the left, next to the parking lot. Practice Group sessions usually run for 2 hours.

The next one will be on July 6th at 6 pm.