A New Twist on New Year’s Resolutions: Starting With Appreciation For What You’re Already Doing Well

Posted on Jan. 5, 2006 at 8:28 a.m.

By: Daniela Abbott

By: Daniela Abbott

Here's a new twist on an old tradition:  the New Year's Resolution.

By now, you've probably already set one for yourself-- to take better care of yourself, to exercise more regularly, to set aside more time for your passions, etc,  etc.

Over the holidays, two friends were talking about their resolutions.  One of the resolutions was to have more patience.  The listening friend then made this suggestion:  "...instead of asking to be more patient, why not be conscious, and thankful of how you are already patient now?" 

It's an interesting twist isn't it?  Stop for a moment to consider the difference.  Think of a quality you'd like to embody more of-- patience, assertiveness, confidence, promptness, courage, etc. 

Go ahead and put it into our traditional resolution form, asking humbly to be more __________.  Sit with this feeling a moment and the visuals that come up with it.  What do you imagine, and how do you feel?

Now, take a deep breath and allow for the twist.  Imagine the same quality and give thanks for the times you expressed that quality, times you've already shown it in your daily life.  How do you feel?  And what visions come to mind?

Both approaches give one a sense of strength; with the traditional approach, you feel buoyed and hopeful at first.  You expand with the possibility of achieving. Then, this feeling deflates with the anxiety about the unknown, the times to come that are as of yet unidentified when we will be called upon to show this quality, which is also an unknown.  Though we start with hope and strength, the traditional resolution leaves us with feelings of insecurity. We wonder whether we really have it in us to show up and do it...the dread starts seeping in...ugh.

The second approach gives one a sense of calm and satisfaction.  As you think about the times you've already embodied the quality, you feel good about yourself-- loving and compassionate.  These feelings seem to transform into a deeper feeling of groundedness...that you already have this quality in you, and the capacity to draw on it as needed.  You are left with a feeling of confidence and an appreciation of yourself.  

Feeling gratitude and awareness of how you've already achieved a difficult change fuels you for the challenges to come.  Like the mentor who sees the good in you and who reminds you of similar struggles and past successes, you mentor yourself into your own being and becoming.  No longer must you start from zero.


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