I am the queen of failed resolutions.
I've managed to waste countless months of gym dues, collect dozens of half-read books, and start 5am early morning "routines" that last just long enough to remind me that I am exhausted and need to hit the snooze button a few more times. Just looking at my bookshelf, I can tell you that I have at least 5 journals whose first pages have the words, "I'll be journaling every day..." scribbled in its lines, only to be abandoned and left empty for the next 100 pages.
I'm pretty sure that the only New Year's Resolution that I've kept as a grown adult was swearing off Diet Coke two years ago. And even that hasn't been easy going. (By the way, that particular addiction sticks around for a good, long time, love. Kick it now if you haven’t already.)
I've racked up enough half-assed resolutions that I've sworn them off entirely.
The space where those resolutions used to sit, just waiting to be abandoned, holds something new. Something infinitely more powerful, transformational, successful: Practice.
Sitting on this side of January 1st, you try to peer forward into the new year. You make a list of all the things that you want to do, the weight that you want to lose, the ways that you want to improve your life and yourself and your body. You resolve to lose the 10 pounds or juice everyday, to read one book a week or quit smoking, to pay off your credit card or travel to new places or finally start that side business. All honorable goals. You think big and reach for the stars.
Dream big, love. I'm all for it. Picture yourself going zero to sixty as soon as the new year hits. From Point A to Point Z with ease. 2016 is going to be better than ever. It’s true.
But, the question remains. If we have the best of intentions, why, then, do our resolutions fail?
Because we see transformation as a sprint rather than a marathon, as wizardly rather than work. Progress isn't just about resolve. It's about practice.
It's not just about where we're going. It's about each step that it takes to get there.
Practice means consistency.
It means the inevitable screw-up-fall-down-face-plant moment. And, then, getting back up to try it again.
It means learning from the late-night binge or the week where it takes everything that you have to get out of bed and move in the morning. It means moving through the doubt-fueled late nights crying over your business plan or the deep, deep craving for one-more-cigarette. It means realizing that, no matter how rational you were in planning to pay off that credit card, your relationship with your finances is still messy and complicated and emotional.
And it means that, when you’re face down, ass up in the arena, exhausted and sweaty, nowhere near point Z, that you allow yourself to rest and forgive and set the intention to get back up and try again tomorrow.
If you ask anyone who has ever been considered an “overnight success” what it was like to get there, they’ll tell you that there was nothing “overnight” about it. Most overnight success stories are years in the making. For them, it has meant practice and slogging, falling down, getting up, consistency and a hell of a lot of heart.
So, dream big, love. Visualize yourself sitting in the sun, your goal already achieved, your resolution a smashing success.
And then double down to give yourself a map for the journey — an intentional set of steps to take daily, weekly, and monthly... until you’re sitting pretty at Point Z. The resolution is important, yes. But the practice? That’s where the rubber meets the road.
No one is born knowing how to walk. We practice and trip up and get up and grab hold of our surroundings and, eventually… find ourselves running.
What big dreams does 2016 hold for you? How can you create a practice to set you firmly on the road to resolution success?