A few years ago, I got away from resolutions. That’s not to say that I don’t set goals or dream big dreams, but I changed my perspective on resolutions. In the past, my resolutions were about the end result. The relief or joy wouldn’t come until the goal was complete, checked off my list. I’d resolve to lose 10 pounds. Then, I’d spend Jan and Feb eating carrot sticks and cabbage leaf wraps. Sometimes I’d lose the ten pounds and sometimes I would gain weight. Either way, the novelty wore off quickly and the whole process just didn’t feel good. When I failed (which I did very often), I’d astonishingly feel like a failure.
Today, my goals aren’t that much different. I still want to shed some weight, pay off debt, spend more time unplugged and quality time with my husband and the kids, get back to a regular yoga practice, have tea dates with my girlfriends, read and write. The difference is in the way I hold the goals.
Meaning, I hold them lightly.
I set the goals, I even write them down, and then I release my grip and cradle them like precious little birds.
See, I’m focusing on the feelings I want to feel more than the actual goal. Painfully waiting until the goal was achieved was, well, painful. It felt constricting and punitive. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to spend a single minute feeling constricted and punished.
So I focus instead on how I want to feel: vibrant, free, connected.
The incredible thing is that if I keep following the breadcrumbs of those feelings, I’ll get to my goals. But more profoundly, if I keep following my feelings, the goals may change. Maybe it’s not the 10 pounds or the big house or the trip to Europe. Following the feelings are reminiscent of the old cliche, it’s the journey not the destination. But the cliché is a cliché for a reason, it’s true.
I can’t spend more actual time with Kyle and the kids because of full time jobs and school. But I can plug my phone in when I get home in the evenings and not touch it. I can cook dinner with my husband and talk about our day. I can spend time with each of the boys doing something they love to do. I can make it a priority to feel connected with the people in my life who matter most every.single.day.
I can’t instantly fit into my favorite dress but I can get up and drink a green smoothie and then make sure my plate is full of color for the rest of the day, take my vitamins and cut back on sugar, not because of the 10 pounds I want to lose but because I feel vibrant when I do those things. And I can bake cookies from scratch and brew a cup of chai and curl up under my favorite blanket with a Netflix binge ready to go, because sometimes, that makes me feel vibrant too.
I can’t pay off all our debt and instantly have a fully funded savings account. But I can explore how shopping has become a hobby for me- a time filler. And notice how much time I spend paying for, cleaning and finding a place for all the stuff that I’ve bought over the years. I can pay attention to the fact that I spend money when I don’t feel like I am enough. When I get sucked in by all the noise out there telling me that I need more. I don’t feel free when I spend more than we have. I don’t feel free when my weekends are spent decluttering or cleaning. I can’t accomplish all of our financial goals overnight but I can keep in mind the feeling of freedom I long for when it comes to not being tied down by debt or stuff or money.
The journey is the longest part. Why do we spend it feeling awful?
How do you want to feel? And what can you do today and every day going forward to feel that way?