Three Essential Guidelines Before You Resolve

New Year card with Monkey for year 2016

The Year of the Monkey is upon us, welcome 2016!!  In Japanese a monkey is a saru (さる), and in the zodiac the monkey sign is known as the erratic genius of the bunch.  So hold on to your hats 2016 is going to be a wild ride with the monkeys in charge.

Resolutions.  Do you buy in, or not?  Go to any gym in January and you will find that a lot of people do.

Before you go diving into the rabbit hole, stirring up trouble, and making erratic changes, please pause for a moment and consider these three guidelines.  Make changes that will last a lifetime, rather than a fleeting moment.

Be True To Yourself

Stop looking on the outside to find what you need!!

You have a tiny inner voice that has been trying to get your attention for a long time.  Now is the time to listen.  Looking to the outside to find answers will lead you to exercising too much too fast, creating a diet that just won’t be sustainable, or business goals that are only attainable by working an exhaustive seventy-hundred hours a week.new-year-resolutions

Take a moment and look at the Calvin and Hobbs illustration done by cartoonist Bill Watterson.  Calvin is insisting that he is perfect the way he is and he has no need for a resolution. Do you really need a resolution?  Probably not!

Now wait, hear me out.  You are you, and you are a beautiful you.  There is nothing about you that is not in perfect alignment with who you need to be right now.  This does not mean that you are the perfect weight, that you consume only good food, and that your skill set is always at the top of its game.  What it means is that you got where you are by being you, and that is perfectly OK!

With that being said, if you want to alter something in your life to make it better, by all means do it.  Make the tiny changes in your daily routine that will add up over time, and be sustainable in your life.  Listen to your inner wisdom and heed it’s advice on what is too much, too fast versus what is in alignment with what you are trying to accomplish.

Act honestly, and answer boldly. – Danish Proverb 

Tiny Really Is Mighty

To make huge changes, it always begins with one step.  One small change that is repeated and multiplied over a period of time will equate to vast differences.  When thinking of what you would like to accomplish in this year it is important to visualize the end result, but equally as important is to realize that the end result does not happen on day two, or even month two!

Too often, people resolve to be different in the coming year and end up in the same exact space by the end of the year, simply because they tried to change everything overnight.

When navigating a boat, airplane, or even an unmanned mission to Pluto, small corrections of the course are constantly made in order to arrive at the expected destination.  Let’s consider a mission probe sent into space to reach Pluto.  There are a few things to consider:

  • It is a long trip! A lot can happen on the way that was neither expected nor anticipated.
  • There is a limited amount of fuel (time and energy).
  • There is a margin of error that is possible for the mission to still be considered a success.

If you think of your next year as a mission with those parameters.  The most important part is having a target destination.  Once the course is determined there should be little adjustments during the course of the mission to stay on target.  Finally, perfection is not going to happen.

There is no one giant step that does it, it’s a lot of little steps. – Peter A. Cohen

Permission For Unperfection

So, unperfection is not a word, but it should be!  We always strive for perfection, knowing full well that humans are incapable of producing 100% perfection.  We are fallible, and that is how it should be.

growthnotperfectionHow many times have you held yourself to perfection and in the end felt failure?  Funny that we go straight to failure, even though in the end we have grown.  Change has happened, we have progressed, we learned.

On the example trip to Pluto, getting there really just meant getting close enough to take some awesome pictures.  There was not a single spot that needed to be hit, but rather a range in distance from the target.

Often we look at where we are going as a single spot to hit and in reality we should be looking at it more like the mission to Pluto.  What is it that we are really trying to achieve?

Let’s just visit the topic of weight loss for a moment.  Pretend you are wanting to lose 30 pounds by the end of the year.  You join the gym and really find that free weights are your thing.  As you get to the end of the year, you did not lose 30 pounds.  You upgraded your fat to muscle (a lot of muscle).  You feel awesome, stronger than you have been in your entire life, and healthier as well.  Can you call that a failure?  I hope not!

Revel in your unperfection, and set your target as a range not a single point.

To Resolve Or Not To Resolve

So here are the top ten resolutions for any and all New Years according to Time Magazine:

  • Lose Weight and Get Fit
  • Quite Smoking
  • Learn Something New
  • Eat Healthier and Diet
  • Get Out of Debt and Save Money
  • Spend more Time with Family
  • Travel to New Places
  • Be Less Stressed
  • Volunteer
  • Drink Less

What should your resolution look like?

Say you are wanting to get into shape and you have truly been a couch potato for the last ten years. Expecting to have a model’s body in a year is probably not in your cards.  However, deciding that you are done getting winded every time you walk up a flight of stairs is a target worth working towards.

  1. Set a realistic target for your current starting point.  (Be able to climb the stairs without getting winded.)
  2. Set a super easy first step. (Walking briskly around the block today.  Then keep making this choice every day you can.)
  3. Monitor and increase difficulty. (When one block gets easy, add a block.)

 Before you know it you are walking up the stairs as easily as walking around the block!

Stop the delusions right now.  You are not going to tackle all ten!

Simply pick one area of your life that you would like to concentrate on improving (not perfecting), start making the small steps to move in that direction, and stay true to yourself

Have a happy wonderful year full of a Monkey’s erratic genius!

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