As a New Year is upon us, we can be inundated with resolutions, goals, and wanting to create better lives for ourselves. Rightfully so, but I have found that a lot of people take a physical approach to these New Year’s Resolutions, like getting healthier, work out, “go on a diet” (a pretty popular one), stopping bad habits etc. It is not that these are bad resolutions. In fact I have known a lot of people who have done them, my self included. We can put a lot of pressure on ourselves when it comes to these resolutions. We set a big expectation of ourselves that is hard to always accomplish. For example, losing 30lbs in a month, although feasible, but not healthy, it is also not sustainable in the long term. For many years my New Year’s Resolution revolved around a physical piece of my life. Something that I could see. Somehow, that meant it was more real. Most of the time, the resolution would fall to the important things to do mid to late January. In fact, none of my successful physical resolutions were ever made at the “New Year”.
Around 2011, I decided that I needed some inner work done on my soul level. Sometimes it is the unseen that needs the most work! Some can appear to have it all together on the outside, but are having a tough time in ways that cannot physically show. I was horrible at taking a compliment. So horrible in fact, that some people would say “can’t you take a compliment”. It would make me so uncomfortable if someone said something nice to me, that I didn’t know how to respond. So I would either over justify, if someone complimented a piece of clothing, purse, shoes etc and explain what a deal I got which, by the way, most people don’t care unless they specifically ask you where you got those items from. Or I would sometimes end up putting myself down to the person who gave the compliment to the point that they would doubt why they said it in the first place. Either way it was uncomfortable all around. I knew it was an area about myself that I didn’t like and wanted to change. So, in 2011 I made my first New Year’s “Soul Resolution”. Something that would benefit my soul and ultimately shine out onto my physical being. So, for that whole year I decided that if someone gave me a compliment of any kind, I would say “Thank You.” Not thank you, I got them on sale, or thank you but… just thank you. I cut out the over justification and the awkwardness. Sometimes people want you to return the compliment. But, that’s a different story. For me to do what I needed to do, I had to say “thank you,” and move on. Was I successful in that every day, NO. But somehow because it wasn’t a physical resolution like a diet that could be broken by a bagel on January 2nd but was a core being change that would take time. I just had to take it day by day. Somedays I did well and somedays I needed improvement but that was ok.
As the years went on, I tried to tackle harder things in my soul. For instance, one year I decided I was going to no longer live in fear. Fear is one resolution I may have to make for many years as it is so difficult to overcome. One year, I decided that I was not going to doubt God’s plan or think my life would be a practical joke, and to trust Him. Another year, I focused on Self-Love. This past year, I tackled worry. I joke that I was probably worrying in my mother’s womb. Somehow worry just consumed me and stressed me out, kept me up at night and just overall consumed my thoughts. Again, somedays I did well on this, and somedays I needed to take notes so I could do better the next day. But, as this year is coming to a close, I will tell you that in hindsight that I handle worry very differently than I did at this time last year. Do I still worry, yes, but I focus my energy differently. Instead of only focusing on the worry and the undesired outcomes, I redirect my thoughts to the positive. Now this is not new information that thinking positively will help your life. I am here to tell you that “if you think you can, you will,” and that works both ways. I have also noticed that I don’t lay awake pondering things that I once worried about, because they are all things over which I have no control. I would often recite this Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I create a new habit within me to better deal with my worry, just like I did with trusting God’s plan, fear, and taking a compliment.
Will we lose 20lbs overnight, it’s not likely. Will we stop worrying overnight? That is highly unlikely also. But, if we get up each day and try our best, and recognize that each day what our best is may change and that is ok. As long as you are giving all you’ve got, even if it’s a two on a scale of a hundred, you are still giving your best. Every year, month, week and day is the opportunity to achieve your goal or desire. As for myself, I knew I had to clear out some old things before those new things fell into place. And for me, it worked, but I am still a work in progress. It didn’t happen overnight. But, as time went on, I noticed, “Oh I dealt with that better, or I am redirecting that thought etc.” For those who may be interested, here is the full serenity prayer that can be helpful for a variety of things you may be going through.
“God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Serenity Prayer (Full Text)
I hope you will join me this year and every year in taking a Soulful approach to your New Year’s Resolutions. If anything, it can help you work on areas that you need to before the physical ones are ready to unfold.
Stay Positive & Stay Kind & Stay Inspired
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