Authentic New Year's Resolutions
On the first day of 2019, let’s pause for a moment and reflect on these questions: How would you describe your 2018? What were the highlight or loss? What were you mostly proud of? What helped you get through difficult moments? What remains to be discovered/learned/practiced in the New Year?
Many of us have the tendency to do things that they “have to” do or to make other people happy. And these “I should” statements and people-pleasing behaviors often move us away from our authentic self. We feel lost when we are too busy hiding ourselves and guessing what’s the “right” thing to do. It drains our internal resources.
In 2018, I made a deliberate effort to “listen to my heart,” especially when I was too much in my head overanalyzing, worrying, or ruminating. Through this practice, I could clearly see how I defend against emotions that deliver important messages. For instance, I had felt depleted and listless at work for a while. But I was too scared to accept these feelings. “Does that mean I am a bad employee?” “I should be grateful for the opportunity!” My doubt and judgment crept in.
My usual defenses were to work harder, find excitement at work, or bring misguided emotions home (e.g., getting frustrated with my family and friends while I was really frustrated at work). Taking a step back and listening to my feelings –I saw that my job didn’t align well with my goals, skillset, and values. And this mismatch made me feel unfulfilled and restless. I accepted that sometimes working hard wouldn’t steer the direction of the wind. It was time for a change. I took in this new insight, left work, and cultivated another career path for myself. That was my proud highpoint in 2018.
In my years working with clients, I see that most of us often have answers or know what decisions to make. But our discomfort and fear of the uncertainty become roadblocks to growth and positive changes. We want to make sure that we make the “right” decision while our heart feels otherwise. We may be taught by our family and culture to take precaution of weighing the pros and cons of a decision while forgetting that we can probably change our mind later on. We can become relentlessly focused on pursuing demanding goals and plans with a sort of tunnel vision, growing a long, overwhelming to-do list and leaving out things that nourish us.
To kick off this New Year, I invite you to connect to your authentic self and plan your 2019 from that place. Let’s start with naming “What brings joy, meaning and fulfillment to your life?” by using this worksheet. I hope that this exercise helps you listen to your heart and make actionable plans for creating an authentic, nourishing and fruitful year.
Happy New Year!