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Mindful Month- What the heck is a resolution?

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Going along with Gwen Bell’s recent post on mindfulness, and her new website The Mindfulist, you will now be subjected to approximately daily posts.

The prompt for January 1st is, Resolutions? No Resolutions?

I avoid resolutions. I have a hard time seeing the point. But then, I analyze the bejeebus out of my life all the time anyways.

How many people do we know with failed resolutions? I know, not exactly an uncommon question. As far as I can tell, most folks pick resolutions that are way too broad, or have expectations that don’t fit.

Like the usual weight-loss goal. You putter around the gym for a couple weeks, get bored, and gradually stop going. Or you dive in head first, don’t hit your inflated goal, and burn out.

I recommend Robin’s post at Obey My Blog as an example of how to do it right. “Physical health” is a pretty broad goal. But she started with one small piece, working on gradually changing her diet. As life threw things her way, she tacked on forms of exercise that interest her, and hey, she ended up at some point with a blog.

And she’s happy with the results so far. Even with the faults along the way. That’s pretty important to remember.

A resolution is just a chance to let out the change you’ve been sitting on. You’ll know when you’re ready. The New Year is just a chance to set a marker in the ground. My changes came earlier this year, and are still in process.

I started with something simple. Work out every day for a month. Didn’t matter what, or how much. It builds the habit. It builds internal momentum. I’ve had all kinds of difficulty. I have to be incredibly careful regarding overuse injuries in my arms. Too bad. I can now take a break for three weeks and come back when I want to. It’s ingrained.

I no longer feel like it’s too much unnecessary work to go to more than one grocery store. It’s worth burning the time and gas. Sometimes, it isn’t just about what you need, but about giving yourself space to relax into your wants.

It takes great honesty to not then dive into self-indulgence.

After a couple months, I expanded my socializing. I won’t go into details here. Suffice to say, I’m now connected to a local scene of sorts, and have something akin to a social life. The difficulty I often have in asserting my needs is suddenly balancing out. I’m not there for the people as such, despite the socializing. It’s embracing myself that does it. (Nope, it isn’t anywhere in the acronym LGBT. Sorry to disappoint.)

I have a small group of very close friends. Always have. This is its own thing.

All of this has been the expression of a process that started two and a half years ago. I hurt myself with my own self-deceit and inability to assert myself. I’ll go into that another time. Let me sum up: it took until early this year to finally start making real changes.

I’ve never been one for resolutions. Of course, some people like public support, helps keep them in line. I prefer to keep the important changes quiet while they happen; it lets me keep control, instead of waiting for others to help. I’m an introvert; as much as I like people, I have to keep my energy contained and focused.

When you’re ready to change, you’ll find a way. Something small but definite comes bubbling to the surface, it carries you on to the next and  the next, and suddenly you have an avalanche. You make one little consistent change, and you find a world at your feet.

In the spirit of change, what gets you off your ass and doing what you need to do? What gets you to pay attention? What gets the ball rolling?

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Categories: mindfulist
  1. January 4, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    Resolutions – bah! You have to be careful or they just end up making you feel bad about yourself. And that’s no fun. Start simple – I absolutely agree. And have fun with them. 🙂

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