Resolution; noun res·o·lu·tion \ˌre-zə-ˈlü-shən\ the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc: the act of resolving something
As the New Year greats us, we often can’t help wanting to seize the opportunity to start fresh, do more, create something new, and be “better.” This is good! We are likely biologically designed to seek out new opportunities, discover new ways of existing, and strive for more. The challenge becomes when we pick resolutions that are generic. If the definition of resolution means ‘finding an answer to a conflict,’ before we pick any resolution, we must identify our personal conflict. This is often the hardest part.
First we want to establish specific areas of conflict before we pick our resolutions. One simple way to start is to ask our self, “How do I wish I was spending most of my days,” or “what do I wish I had time for?”
Secondly, we ask our self, “What will that change cost me”? If our goal is adding something to our life (additional income, more time to workout, more family time, more time to date, more time to cook, more time to research a new career, ect…) then it helps to figure out where that additional time and energy can come from.
What can I stop doing in order to start doing more? Can I stop staying up late watching Netflix or going out for drinks after work? Can I skip cooking dinner a couple times a week? Can I stop cleaning part of my house?
Often times it’s hard to stop doing things because it means letting go of an aspiration. For instance, if a parent skips cooking dinner, it might mean their kids eat peanut butter sandwiches once a week, meaning the parent would have to let go of serving a perfectly balanced dinner that night. If someone says they want more time with family or more time to work out, it might mean letting go of a high paying salary and thus letting go of certain amenities like cable or expensive travel. On the other hand, if someone says they want to make more money, they might consider giving up some of their free time for a more demanding career or to work more hours, at least temporarily.
Side note: We often pick resolutions through the art of comparison.
We see another person that is similar to us but a little different and think, how “should” we be more like them? We see someone in better shape then us and think to ourselves I “should” workout more. We see someone who seems to “have it all together” whatever that means and we say to ourselves “ I wish I was more like him or her.” I am suggesting we be inspired by others specific qualities, rather than compare ourselves to others. This means when I catch myself comparing my life to someone else’s I pause and think specifically what I admire about him or her. Is it the way their butt looks in their jeans? Is it their annual income, is it all their assumed free time? Is it the way they always seem calm and at peace? Then I ask myself, is there something specific in my life I want to change? There are costs to every choice and we rarely know what other people have “paid” for their choices.
Understanding what things “cost” helps us to understand the value they have in our life. Costs are not a negative; they are indicators of what certain choices are worth to us. It can be so satisfying to do the math and come to the decision that certain things are not worth “paying” for. I realized lately that I wasn’t willing to sacrifice time with my baby in order to work out. I told myself, I am giving up a fitness routine in trade for snuggle time with my baby at this stage. I will put the aspiration of increased fitness on the shelf for a later date. In a sense, I will keep an eye on that aspiration rather than be disappointed that I am not choosing to fit it into my life at this very moment.
What aspirations are you choosing to “keep an eye on?”
Happy New Year!