There is something refreshing about setting one's intentions for the new year, especially in the dead of winter (yes, even we have a brief winter here in Phoenix). There is also some built in pressure with resolutions, as if the brief surge of reflection about your previous year is somehow going to make everything clear about what you'd like differently in your life. In the inspiration of reflection, one is reminded annually how failure to uphold these resolutions is built into the hope when creating them. Maybe this year I will be able to maintain that diet, exercise regime, business plan, or finish that project. When speaking with my sister about this recently over the phone, she shared her similar displeasure about resolutions all together, and we agreed that the forced resetting of the annual calendar can create a false or dishonest sense of renewal. For many this is not false, but for equally as many, those resolutions don't hold much weight in terms of length of time held or success in achieving the set goal.
So, how do was navigate this brief annual refreshment of intentions with the knowledge that most don't or can't keep the resolutions? How do we get beyond the lip service of resolutions? Is there value in answering people's favorite question of January 1st, "What's your New Years Resolution?". What is the missing middle ground between intention and action?
My conclusion to this conundrum with my sister's point was to realize that my New Years Resolution is to have but ONE active resolution, which is to carry that brief but powerful question throughout my year, rather than front-load the question in January, and assume I know everything that I need to work towards in a year. While goals and intentions are valuable and important, they ability to adjust and change them, to have the freedom to alter based on life circumstances, is equally important for a sense of a fulfilling life. I resolve to listen to myself more closely, to follow my inner ear and to check in many times to ask whenever I need to, "what do I need in my life right now, what do I need in my life today? Next week? Next month?". Through connecting with oneself more frequently, fully, and honestly, then one can be present for the future changes that may not be predictable in the present moment. Perhaps some of those reflective moments will result in an intention to create new habits, or reinstate old ones. By being embodied more fully in the reflective question throughout the year, one can experience those refreshing moments of self-compassion and hope more frequently. As an approach to an intention-filled life, connecting to the self more frequently without technology or other influences, allows one to exit to realm of success and failure and enter the realm of being a truly free and aware person.