The New Year. Prepare for the onslaught of parties, grand declarations, and… lists.
Most of the hype is about New Years resolutions: how to keep them, how not to break them, and how to finally step into your Best Self starting, um, Thursday. Okay, maybe Friday 😉
Most resolutions have to do with gaining (make more money or more love), losing (lose weight or that cigarette habit), and letting go (as in, clinging to that unrelenting quest for Inner Peace).
Let me tell you why these resolutions never stick, and how to remedy that.
We’re reptiles, most of us. They don’t call our foundational brain “reptilian brain” for nothing. As much as we seek constancy, we share an inherent knowing that life is a process. An unfolding. Life’s a perpetual letting go, a pruning off of what no longer advances us. We are morphing into something new. The gift of life is this constant opportunity to re-create oneself. Not only do we seek out opportunities to renew, but we create ritualistic markers to ignite the spark of greatness. Full moons. Spring Equinox. Lunar eclipses. New Years eve. Anything will do. Give me an excuse, I’ll shed this skin, open my petals and become BETELGEUSE.
We’re made of stardust. Why not act like a Super Nova? We’ve long studied people who seem to have nailed this game while looking for hints. A few months ago Entrepreneur Magazine followed 10 highly successful business people around and studied their habits. They tried to follow their schedules and experience the results. One “successful” entrepreneur actually pauses his day about 7 times to take a luxurious Bubble Bath, re-charges, then goes back out into the world, all clean and fabulous. Fuck the environment, there’s money to be made, I guess.
Last year, The Good Men Project’s Tim Goessling tried out Benjamin Franklin’s schedule based on the 1791 autobiography. He followed the schedule for one day, and called it “life changing”. Then there was the 1937 classic Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Andrew Carnegie challenged him to interview successful men at the time to discover the key to success, and then record his findings. Hill discovered a common thought process all these men shared. I read that book. I read everything on this topic.
This is what I’ve learned
I don’t need to work Benjamin Franklin’s program. I already know what makes me flourish. If you’re like me, you probably already know the conditions in which you are most likely to prosper. You already know if your drinking is getting in the way of your productivity, or if you’re spending too much time online, staying up late too often, or complaining too much. You already know which friends are bogging you down. And, if you’re like me, you’ve had periods where you were highly productive, effective, happy, and in the flow. During those times, there have been a small number of things that seemed to anchor me in a successful experience. And its not Ben Franklin’s list. It’s mine.
I don’t need 7 lavender bubble baths to stand up in the world. I need to be intentional: to think, speak, and behave in a manner that expresses my Best Self. I practice a program that works for me, and I’m sharing it with you. Figure out what works for you and stick to that.
Forget “resolutions”. Don’t “resolve” things. Love yourself and BECOME who you ARE.
Resolutions rarely stick because the focus is on “who/how I want to be in the future”.
Someone once told me,
“The future is present in the NOW. This moment is the seed that gives birth to tomorrow.”
Resolutions are about what you hope for tomorrow. Step into that rainbow NOW. Pushing the results out into the future takes the focus away from the moment from whence creation springs.
Life unfolds like all organic living things. The bad news is: Fractals rule. Everything in my life seems to take the form of my own consciousness, and replicates repetitively with little variation over the course of decades. The good news is: I can change it. If I want to create extraordinary change in my life, I can choose to act with an extraordinary sense of intention. If I want radical change, I can make deliberate, radical changes in thinking and behaving. If I live by default, still thinking, speaking, and acting the way I always have, the results are predictable. You always get what you always say, think, and do. Hoping has no power without deliberate action.
So as I embark on my own personal renewal for 2015, my intention is to be deliberate and intentional about co-creating my ideal life. I declare an intensive 90 day focus on thinking, speaking, and acting in alignment with my Best Self. A program of Loving Myself Awake. If you care to join me, let me know. Success loves company.
10 Points for Cultivating My Best Self
1. Early to bed, early to rise
Like most successful people, there is a radical difference in my functioning when I rise early vs. sleep in. Getting out of bed early says to the world, “I’m on PURPOSE”. Hitting the snooze button says, “Groundhog Day”. Early to rise starts the night before, with a regular bed-time routine. Staying up trolling the internet is a lethal saboteur. Be consistent. Every system in the body operates like a machine. The heart rate, metabolism, endocrine system, hormones, and even the brain are on a clock. Mixing things up by going to bed and rising at different times confuses the system. If you’re looking to lose weight, confusing the metabolism is a major detriment. Regulate the body clock.
2. Morning practice: Set your Mental Thermostat
No successful person skips this. If I love myself, the first hour of the day is for setting the “thermostat” for the mind. Starting the day off with Fox news or Facebook, or whatever your drug-of-choice, sets the template for how the mind works during the day. When I am effective, the first hour or two of the day is always spent toning my mind, focusing on optimism and joy, reading uplifting material, and setting intentions for what my day is about.
- Pray & Meditate: 2 minutes. Not 2 hours. Close your eyes, make a prayer, and listen to your own breathing. It will be over before you can blink. That’s it. Don’t complicate it. Its not rocket science. Just close your eyes and breathe. Whatever your concept of a Higher Power is, say Thank You, and ask for an opportunity to be a vessel of love to someone that day. Say Thank You again.
- Make a Plan: Put your day’s intentions in writing.
- Target: Identify the ONE most important thing to do this day that will take me closer to my ultimate goal. *(Credit Gary Keller, & Jay Papasam, The One Thing, by Bard Press. Excellent stuff!)
3. Exercise till sweat
20 min per (or more) day. If I’m not taking care of my physical fitness, nothing’s happening. Period. Leave this part out, and your program is incomplete. Love your physical body, your mind will thank you for it.
4. Deliberate: Regulate Breath
once a day: stop for just a minute and watch your breath. Regulate its movement. Regulate the breath, you can regulate the CNS, the mind, and your speech. Regulate speech, and abandon complaining, self-pitying, gossip, and hate speech. Your words create your world. Breath creates Victim or Success.
from (or moderate) drugs, alcohol, sugar, and excessive carbs. If I want to be successful, this one is a Non-Negotiable. All of these things wreak havoc on the nervous system, energy levels, moods, physical health and most of all, emotional & mental health. Any one of the aforementioned offenders will spiral me into a depression, and when that happens, the ship begins to sink. I ain’t got time for that.
6. Cultivate Gratitude
Maintain a running Gratitude List. Write a minimum of 5 things you are grateful for during the day. There’s no max; write Gratitudes until you drop. Within 5 days of this practice, your perspective will automatically start looking for reasons to be grateful. This is the arguably the Mother of all spiritual practices.
Something of Value (art, music, writing, work,…).
Give something back to the world each day. Help someone. Anyone. Just get out of your own way.
Connect with someone you love. Yes, Facebook counts.
10. LOL: Laugh out loud.
Better yet: LYFAO… Or, LYFAO—Love Yourself for All Others. For all others benefit when you love yourself.
Renew this practice daily, even if you fall off. No resolutions required. Just Do It.EPMLE/Flickr