This is the time of year when if you are so inclined, you start thinking of New Year’s resolutions. You know, the long list of things you vow to do in the next year to become a better person. I’ve had mixed success with such exercises and the most recent statistic is that only 10% of people are successful in keeping their resolutions all year and only 20% keep their resolutions a fraction of the year. I think part of the reason for failure is that the list that we put together for ourselves is punitive. It ends up being a list of things we don’t like about ourselves and want to improve. For example: lose weight, exercise, get a better job, quit a bad habit like smoking, save money or create a budget, etc. I think those type of lists just reinforce everything we feel insecure about and with all that negativity we are doomed to fail.
Last year, I decided to make a different type of list for my 2011 New Year’s resolutions. I decided to focus on things I really wished to do, things I wanted to try, and experiences I wanted to have. There was not a punitive item on the list, and I reasoned if I accomplished even part of it, I would have a great year. Almost twelve months later, I can attest that I have had not only an interesting year, but one peppered with more success than failure. To get your imagination going for your 2012 list, here are a few ideas:
Plant more flowers, plant a tree, plant an idea, take a yoga class, write a poem, write a letter, write an essay, start a blog, take a white water rafting trip, smile, spend more time with friends, write poetry, read, travel, make new friends, learn a new skill, teach someone a new skill you have mastered, go for more walks or hikes, embrace nature, look at the world from a new perspective, read a genre of literature you usually don’t, become a super hero to someone in need, impersonate an athlete, spend a weekend on Gilligan’s Island, learn to say “I love you” in as many languages as you can (you never know when you may need it), learn a magic trick, tell a joke, try being the center of attention, try not being the center of attention, go unplugged for a day, run like the wind, take it easy and slow, do something by candlelight, do something with all the lights on, watch a movie that makes you cry, watch a movie that makes you laugh, live a day without editing, live a day with restraint, delete your entire email inbox, start over, start again, belt out a song with abandon, sing a song softly with distinct intent, reach out, listen within, live honestly, live with purpose.
Feel free to add to the list and embrace 2012 as the year to live with positive resolve.