Monday, December 31, 2007
Last week, I overheard a radio talk show. The hosts were discussing the most common New Year’s Resolutions and the average success rate. Among the most common were Get Organized, Be More Spiritual, Lose Weight, Quit Smoking, and Spend More time with the Family.
I don’t know about you, but this kind of To-Do List approach to life transformation does little to inspire me. And it doesn’t surprise me at all that the success rates were pretty depressing.
Why Resolutions Don’t Work
The reason most resolutions don’t work is that they address only one level of your life. The DO level. It’s the DO-HAVE-BE model. “I will DO this thing.” (i.e., Lose weight) “So I can HAVE this other thing” (Self-Esteem) and I can BE this thing. (Confident.)
The average New Year’s Resolution doesn’t address the core of the issue - the “BE” level.
The best order for creating positive changes in your life is the BE-DO-HAVE model. This means you start from the BE level. When you begin changing on the BE level of your life, then the DO level and the HAVE level follow more easily.
When you start only on the DO level, then all the blocks on the BE level will often become the obstacles you can’t overcome.
A Better New Year’s Ritual
I would encourage you t o choose one word, a word to guide you throughout the year a word to remind you to live your life at the BE level.
How to Choose Your Word for 2008
Look through the list below if you need some guidance. Get quiet over the next few days. And pick a word for the year.
Just one word. That’s all.
Then, hold that word in your mind throughout the year, and let your word guide you to take action.
For instance, let’s take one of the examples above. Let’s say you are one of the many people who would normally choose “Get Organized.” You look around to see clutter and junk all over your life. You’re tired of the chaos. So, you think, “I need to get organized. That should be my Resolution this year.”
But then you read this blog. You decide to try it.
You sit with your clutter. You spend a few days pondering words that will inspire you. You realize in an “Ah-Ha!” moment that you tend to cling to lots of things. You’re scared to let go. So you choose the word “Release” because it inspires you in a bigger way than “Get organized.”
So, every time you approach your clutter you remind yourself of that word. “Release,” you say softly. You start to let the clutter go. Eventually, you realize that you’re still holding on to lots more than just physical clutter. You realize that you hold onto resentment at old relationships. “Release,” you remind yourself. You realize that holding on is affecting your diet and health. “Release” applies to some of the extra weight you’ve gained as well. Throughout the year, you can see clearly how much you hold on. “Release” is your touchstone. It grows you throughout the year. It becomes your guiding force, not your harsh standard. This wouldn’t have happened if you’d opted only to “Get Organized.”
What word to choose?
Many people know immediately which word resonates with them. For others, a little contemplation is required.
I’ve compiled a list of possible words below. As you read through them, see if one stands out for you. It’s tempting to choose four or five, believing that you can do it all! (Or that you’re too messed up to narrow your flaws down to one helpful word!) I recommend that if you can’t choose just one, narrow it down to no more than three. One word is ideal. It gives you focus. If you master that one word, you can choose another one in June.
The word I have chosen is “connection.” Quite simply, I want to connect more (and have more quality connections) with others - that means my boss, my friends, my family, members of the opposite sex, etc. I know I have a lot of room for improvement in this area, but when I do this, my life will improve immensely.
Happy New Year....Ric
Monday, December 24, 2007
God is love. Christmas is all about love. Love is the key to peace and happiness. Love needs to be practiced, love needs to flow. It starts with your partner, your children and family, and from there expands to everyone else.
Why was Ebenezer Scrooge so unhappy? If you knew only the man's assets and had never read Dickens's "A Christmas Carol," probably you could not guess the answer. Most of us believe (if we are honest enough to admit it) that happiness comes through getting. If only I can get a new (pick one) house, car, job, promotion, or relationship, I will be happy. But Ebenezer Scrooge was unhappy not because of a failure to get but a failure to give, and this, I submit, is the most important message of Christmas.
I had to become a parent before I discovered the principle for myself. As a child the chief joy in life, especially at Christmas time, was getting. I still remember the happiness I felt receiving my first new bicycle, and my first BB gun. Similarly, words simply cannot describe the joy Michelle and I received watching our five open gifts on Christmas morning. I imagine we can all call to mind a picture of a joyful child on Christmas morning, their delight surpassed only by that of their parents.
By midlife all of us should know that our best joys come through giving. And yet we forget; don't we? Maybe it's all those commercials that convince us we really can't be satisfied unless we buy the new and improved version of some product (translation: happiness comes through getting).
Christmas is a good time of year to remind ourselves of the truth. The most important message of Christmas is that of joyous giving. It's the message of our seasonal classics like "A Christmas Carol" and "It's A Wonderful Life." And, more importantly, it's the message of that first Christmas. For the baby in Bethlehem's manger was a gift, a present from a loving heavenly father to his lost and hurting children, a gift the Bible says brought "good tidings of great joy" to giver and receiver alike.
Where will we find happiness in the second half of life? The same place we found it in the first half. Look around you. What are your opportunities to give with joy? These are your best chances at midlife happiness.
Yes, I believe in Santa. He is me and he is you. I'm writing because I want you to know that I believe in Santa. I love to look into the eyes of those filled with a sense of childlikeness and magic, and, their experience of surprise and joy. I have looked into the eyes of a child and an adult, and I've seen there a world that I once knew, a world I love to reenter if only once a year on Christmas eve, a world where reindeer fly and wishes come true, a world of great surprise and great joy and great peace and great love, especially the great love.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. Ric