Do you make resolutions?
The one resolution that will help everything else fall into place..
Like most of the best advice out there, it sounds too simple. Advice, whether it seems good or not, is only really useful when you know how to apply it. Then actively and mindfully do so.
I was always outwardly resistant to the idea of resolutions. Mostly because if I am honest, I’m always very torn up inside this time of year. I can’t pin point exactly what it is. I just tend to be really keyed up and triggered around the end of the year.
Nonetheless, each year, deep down and known only to me, I would set a goal seeing it as a good time to start. I would try to resolve myself of making a change. Sometimes some of it would stick, other times not, still other times I learned in a short time I was resolving to the wrong things and feeding the negative in myself.
Then one year I began to get it right… I think?
About 10 years ago or so I had a bit of a wake up call experience. I was in the deep throws of depression and trying to climb out of the self negative image being described by myself in my own mind… That traitor..
Anyway, like many times before, I couldn’t pinpoint any sort of point of view or argument that could help me let go and start to climb out of it. Until I heard an interesting debate going on near me in a public spot, which seemed a step up from letting myself be alone to wallow in my disgusting self pity of the depression.
One of them says, “that’s just an excuse, not a reason.” At first it pricked me as something I did NOT want to be listening to. The conversation continued in calm, reasonable voices though. It was a couple of college kids, attempting to define the differences through application of a true ‘excuse’ vs. a true ‘reason’.
That was the inspiration I needed to begin making big, meaningful, changes.
Through their conversation I realized that much of the darkness that plagued my mind (I use past tense here, it isn’t a struggle that just ends) was often portraying technical ‘excuses’ as if they were reasons to continue to struggle and feel bad. Though they were only loosely based on reality as I knew it. Full of what if’s and all sorts of other unknowns.
In a moment of honesty with myself I realized that while outwardly I seemed to not accept excuses in others, it was rampant in my own mind. I would come up to an obstacle, objection, or argument in my mind and just stop and start over. I realized quickly that oddly, that didn’t reflect who I knew I was. I’ve never been the type of person to do that outwardly, I have a proven track record. So why was I doing it inwardly?
A reason for something that has a possible solution, even if you haven’t thought of it yet, is still an excuse. An internal justification of why something is or why you feel a certain way. An ego based reason to not perform an action or often to attempt justifying a behavior a person actually feels bad about deep down.
An actual reason needs a logical and justifiable tie to the thought. When I looked close at those thoughts, I realized most of it was opinion based facade, nothing based in real fact, just a negative perception of things that could just as easily be seen positive. A worry about something that is likely not true, and my big excuse I fight? Sometimes I just want to feel bad.
The resolution? TO STOP LETTING MYSELF MAKE EXCUSES
This did not stop me from struggling, but what it did do was allow me to make massive, positive changes in my life in spite of it. Not letting myself off easy to give up or stop. I stopped blaming circumstance and started finding a way to play the cards life gives me to the best possible outcomes.
Though a handful of years later, that lead to a follow up resolution.
STOP CONVINCING MYSELF THAT ALL REASONS ARE EXCUSES
Which is this years resolution, because, balance in all things.