Is your New Years Resolution looking like this melting snowperson? And while we are at it, please share with me your thoughts on Dry January.
First, let’s talk about why we want to change so much.
I believe it is because we think we are somehow not good enough. This whole idea of New Year New You, well I am over it. Why should we create a new us anyway? What was wrong with the Old Me? Are you going to change my DNA structure while you are at it? Are you going to make me God so that I can recognize what perfection really looks like?
Hmmm...Let me clarify. I’m all about becoming the best version of myself, but our society is pushing this to the extreme. This pervasive “not enoughness” in our culture is really starting to look like self-obsession.
So where is the balance? How do we find the middle ground where we are creating new habits that feel better, that support our desire for health and happiness, without becoming controlled by the never-ending drive for more / better / faster?
- What is the intention behind wanting to make a change in your life?
If it is just to get healthy, what is behind that exactly? If it is to feel more energy or to look good in my bathing suit, peel back that layer and ask yourself WHY again. What does looking good even mean and who is that for? How will you know you have more energy and what will that actually do for you? These questions can help you get to the root of what you are actually searching for and will help you make decisions that might actually lead to lasting change.
For example, when I came to the realization at the age of about 22 that if I continued to drink alcohol like I was, I would never have the opportunity to pursue my dreams because it was holding me back. Dry January never solved my problem with alcohol, because the problem was not actually the alcohol, that was a SYMPTOM of the problem. I knew how to white knuckle not drinking, but there was no peace or inner satisfaction in that. I was miserable. This misery led me to the fuck its and I would drink (or fill in the blank for any other behavior we promise ourselves we will change).
- Ask yourself “how is this habit serving me”?
Everything has an asset and liability.
For me, alcohol DID serve me, in some crazy ways. One of the reasons I drank, at least initially is explained perfectly in the book The Spirituality of Imperfection. They say “When [we] drink [we] are seeking the effects of alcohol to establish a feeling of ‘harmony’ – a feeling that everything Is now well between (me) and (my) environment.” It can be used to create a sense of completeness, wholeness, connection (with self and others). We all know that may not be a great solution, maybe creating a ‘false sense of” but nonetheless it works temporarily. Does this mean it is serving us in the long run?
For me, I made the decision that it was worth letting go and to take the risk on what life would look like on the other side.
- Find a replacement.
Once you know why you were doing something, and why you want to let it go or change it, we should be prepared for the sense of something missing. If you take candy from a child's hands when they are in the middle of enjoying it, what do you think is going to happen?
If you feel like something is missing in your life, what evidence shows you that some THING is going to fix that?
For me, I found out the sense of incompleteness that I was trying to fill was me feeling like a misfit, not at home in the world, wanting desperately to get cozy with other people but holding them at an arms length at the same time.
I had to come to terms with my imperfection, to accept others, to experience forgiveness, and to tap into a new kind of spirituality that would help me feel complete, whole and connected to myself and at home in the world.
Comment below about how your New Years Resolution is going, if you do or don’t have them, and your reasons for participating in Dry January!
I’m excited to hear all about your journey.