This time of year, there’s a lot of talk about resolutions.
About how next year we’re going to go to the gym, stop eating pastries (are we crazy?), stress less, live more, and improve our lives in a variety of ways.
I love that there is a time of year dedicated to thinking things through, examining our lives. But I do wonder if we’re asking the right questions.
What do I want to do differently next year?
What do I not like about myself and my life?
What should I change?
These questions aren’t inherently bad, but they are inherently negative. They force us to start from a place of self-loathing, fear, failure, or exasperation and dig our way out. But the truth is that love, success, gratitude, and joy are much more likely to motivate real, long-term change. The kind of change that takes time and truly lasts.
In fact, according to Shawn Anchor, “only 25% of job successes are predicted by IQ. 75% of job successes are predicted by your optimism levels, social support, and your ability to see stress as a challenge instead of a threat.”
I think that’s also true of personal triumphs.
Which is why starting from the negative, from things we don’t like about ourselves and our lives, seems wildly counterproductive to me.
Instead, what if we spent the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014 crafting our New Year’s Resolutions out of the positive? Asking questions that inspire us to do more, go farther, and be grateful for just how far we’ve already come.
Who do you want to be?
What would you love to do?
What are you willing to work for?
If money were no object, what would you do with your life?
If fear wasn’t holding you back, where would you go?
These questions inspire us to dream. They may demand that we overcome fears, make plans, work hard, and change…but they don’t ask us to change because we dislike ourselves or our lives. They ask us to change because we love ourselves and trust ourselves and want more for ourselves and for those around us.
So, this holiday season, as I mull over the year ahead, I will be asking myself questions that start from a place of excitement, love, and big dreams. Who do I want to be? What would I love to do? What do those things look like in 2014?
And I hope you’ll do the same. That you’ll start from the positive. Love yourself. Dream big (but don’t let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big or too small; what you want is good enough).
Instead of reminding ourselves that we aren’t yet there, let’s take joy in the fact that we can change and dream and move forward.
Who do you want to be?