It is that time of year where bloggers write about resolutions and goals and starting anew and such. I thought I would add my (slightly unusual) take on such things.
We Never Start (Entirely) Fresh
We grow from where we are. We are a combination of our parents genes with a little random luck (good or bad). We live in situations with resources and constraints (which we need to deal with).
Thinking that we can start entirely afresh is likely to lead to disappointment when we come up against the problems in our current situation.
I do think that thinking about what we do if we could start entirely afresh is valuable. It can break us out of our ruts.
And then we start making decisions about what to do next: what resources to use or what constraints to address.
I think a helpful way to move toward where we want to be is to thinking about how we can make our environment as nourishing as possible. What one thing can I do before I go to sleep to nourish me?
- Start the day listening to beautiful music
- Go for a quick walk
- Ring a friend
- Do the first small thing to create the new life you want
With this approach it is possible to appreciate the good in what we have, as well as know what the new is that we want.
Have Fun (Don’t Be Resolute)
You don’t need to be disciplined, resolute, fight procrastination and so on if what you want to do will be fun.
And if what you want to do comes from the core of who you are then it will be deeply nourishing to you. We usually enjoy what is good for us.
Being disciplined and resolute and doing what you don’t want to do has its place. This place is during emergencies where life is at stake. It may be very necessary to be unkind to (parts of) ourself for long-term survival – but it is a rotten recipe for a lifestyle.
Instead of wanting to be resolute and disciplined consider:
- What do I want to do?
- How can I do more of what I want to do?
- How can I get rid of what I don’t want to do?
- How can I make what I do more enjoyable?
I think if we adopt this approach we are likely to craft a more joyous life for ourselves.
Don’t Worry Too Much About Goals (Goals Are Not Good In Themselves)
The value of a goal is what it is directed to. It is quite possible to have as a goal something that is ethically dubious or not worth doing.
It is possible to use goals well.
- The best kinds of goals begin spontaneously. You are interested in something and it occurs to you that you want to do something or get better at something or that this could change your life for the better if you did something with it. This is the best way to discover the big goal. Then we do the analysis and planning to ensure it is possible and find the best way to achieve it.
- Finding what interests you and breaking it down into manageable steps. It helps us be motivated when we can see how what we want can be achieved.
- Finding a way to make reaching the goal as enjoyable as possible. It is easier to keep doing what we enjoy.
- Rewarding yourself for each sub-goal achieved. A path of pleasure is easier to keep walking than one where we are unkind to ourselves.
So here in summary is my (slightly unusual) advice for the new year.
1. Realise that you don’t start completely fresh.
2. Don’t focus on being resolute but on having fun.
3. Don’t focus on goals but on what calls to you.
In this way we can build a more satisfying life in small and enjoyable steps. Which sounds like a great way to live.
I want to know what your biggest pains or passions about living an authentic life are, or about self development.
I hope to write a great book on self development and living authentically and this is the kind of information that I need to write it.
I wrote this post about it which will give you more detail and where you can leave your comments.
To find out how to live authentically you can download my manifesto.
It has exercises that will help you experience what authenticity means for you and so experience a more satisfying life.