Sunday, 1 January 2012

Resolution Revolution

A new year heralds a time of new beginnings. It is a time when we seek to wipe the slate clean and do things differently. Most of us make resolutions to start, stop or continue doing things to improve our overall well-being and create a better version of ourselves. But while it's easy to make a list of resolutions, it's far more difficult to keep them. This is because resolutions involve not only a firm decision, but firm action. Action requires commitment and follow-through, which in the hectic lives we lead, can often fall by the wayside. 

My own personal resolutions have ranged from “stop buying new dresses” (dismal fail) to “increase my incidental exercise” (work in progress) to “eat one good quality treat each day” (passed with flying colours). I always start off gung-ho – absolutely committed, motivated and energised – but the momentum and drive peters out within a few weeks (or months if I’m lucky).

I had to change tack and 'revolutionise' my approach. I really didn’t enjoy the guilt of not being able to stick to my resolutions and feeling like a failure (even if I did have some to-die-for treats and a closet full of fabulous dresses). So I did away with the one-off “resolutions” and decided to focus on “lessons”. Lesson implies a period of continuous learning - one in which I can move forward or even regress, but pick up again when the circumstances are right. After all, nobody’s perfect and not everything can be all the time.

Over the last few years, I was reintroduced to some very important lessons through my own personal experiences and by people far wiser than me. As I continue to practice them (sometimes successfully and other times not very well at all), I have found myself enjoying my relationships, my work and my life so much more. It’s because of this that I consider these lessons to be not just ones I pull out and dust off on January 1, but ones that I refer to every time of the year.

Something for ‘Every Time of the Year’ 
  • Give myself a break  “Be kinder and gentler to ourselves” because this is what enables you to be kinder and gentler to others.
  • Live in the moment – Enjoy what is happening right now. Stop looking towards the next thing and continually asking what’s next. 
  • “Practice gratitude” – Be grateful for what you have and count your blessings as it enables you to perceive the world with joy and appreciation.
  • Do things even if there are no guarantees – You need to be willing to give in order to receive tenfold.
  • Do what you genuinely want to i.e. comes from your heart without thinking, not just because you ought to do it as it is what the ‘perfect’ partner/family member/friend/work colleague should be.
  • Endeavour to have one good quality treat each day. Sorry, had to sneak this one in. Life's far too short to live in a constant state of deprivation :) 

Here’s to a happy year!

During my post-graduate studies, a lecturer played this video in one of my classes. The class was made up of working professionals from all walks of life and different industries, with a diverse range of experience and expertise. When the video finished, you could have heard a pin drop – there was something in it that resonated with each of us. 
The speaker, Brene Brown, talks about her own epiphany, which changed the way in which she lives, loves, works and parent. Hearing her story led to my own 'light bulb' moment so I would like to share this video with you. The video runs for about twenty minutes. Give yourself the time and space to watch it. Don’t rush through it. 

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