The Resolution Blog

Inside your head it will soon be a different year. And if you’re not careful your culture might teach you a bunch of ideas that do little more than set you up for failure over the next couple of months. New Years Resolutions are rightly the stuff of comedy because of course–people are who they are. Where the Earth is in relation to the Sun has essentially nothing to do with peoples daily behaviour. But that’s not to say there isn’t a useful kind of resolution you can make. It’s just that, like with most things, they’re made better by being less absolute.

589 Relax and Succeed - Every day is a new beginningMost people resolve to eat better or go to the gym or get angry less often or whatever. So they make themselves a promise. But what does some words that ran through your head on one day have to do with a decision you make about a piece of cake three weeks later? Nothing. Which is why the resolutions are great fodder for comedians every January and February–because people will generally quit trying if the very structure of the commitment virtually dooms them to think they have failed.

A promise to yourself or anyone else is just some words you assembled in your head. You live moment by moment and promises are about lengths of time. You only live now. What causes someone to be able to “live up to” their promise isn’t because they are being prodded toward this or fenced away from that by some invisible collection of words in their head. It’s because they genuinely still believe in the reasons behind why they made the promise in the first place. So each moment lived is like the promise being enacted by the verb of being.

589 Relax and Succeed - Strive for progressAre you starting to understand the true nature of a promise or commitment? A husband isn’t faithful because he said he would be on some alter. That’s ridiculous. He is faithful because he genuinely wants to be with his partner more than any other person. When he is tempted toward infidelity what stops him in those moments is his ongoing awareness of his love for his partner. Since nothing else compares to his partner’s value to him, it’s an easy risk to avoid. The point of this example being: promising something—even on January 1st at midnight—doesn’t really mean much if that promise isn’t wholehearted. You need to believe that idea just as completely in the moments going forward or that promise cannot be kept.

What can work is a resolution to develop in a certain way. So rather than saying, on January 1st I’m going to quit smoking—which sets up a ton of expectation to live up to or fail to live up to—instead you can say something more along the lines of, starting January 1st I’m going to see how long I can go without smoking and then if needed, I’ll chain efforts like that together until I’ve quit completely. This is a commitment to move in a certain direction. But this removes the failure from a Bunny Hop. When people do the two-jumps-forward-one-jump-back Bunny Hop Dance, yes they do dance backwards for one jump. But that is less important than what they do in total, and in total a Bunny Hop moves forward. No sailboats sail straight in the direction they are going. You don’t need to either.

589 Relax and Succeed - Never give up on a dreamForget about the usual goals this year. Forget about losing weight or using your phone less or yelling less. Make it all positive instead. Plan to have regular dinners with a friend with healthy eating habits. Research how much time the average adult your age spends looking at their phone and then choose an activity you’ve always been interested in that uses that much time. Or instead of trying not to yell, try to be more loving more often. Anything you practice becomes a habit. And that way instead of feeling like you’re deprived or struggling, you can have a nice dinner with a friend or take up a hobby you never thought you had time for or your life will feel awesome because it has so much more love in it. Win win win.

Do you see? Don’t see the new year as a hill you need to get over. Don’t see it as an obstacle to your success. See it as an opportunity to use your increasing wisdom to recognize the value in your true self. So rather than resolving to improve yourself by fixing problems, you can instead resolve to realize more of yourself by engaging in life in a way that inspires and enthuses you.

Forget the traditional resolutions. Accept that this year–like every year–will have its challenges. But don’t make this year about the outside world. Make this year about the universe under your control. Make this year the year you become mindful. Because you can win the lottery and handle that well, and you can totally fail at something and you can handle that well too. It all depends on how you think about those things. So if you resolve anything, resolve to simply watch your own thinking. Because even if you just do that you will most certainly change your life for the better.

Here’s to a great year for all of us. Happy New Year everyone.

peace and love. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

Other Perspectives #41

Winner: Scott’s Top Other Perspectives of 2014 #2

534 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - When love is real

Okay this has huge potential to fuel teenage dreams that are entirely unrealistic, which in turn leads to jaded and jilted adults that throw away anything that doesn’t meet their very strict requirements. This is why your relationships end. Not because you’re a bad person. Not because the other person is bad. It’s because one or both of you had unrealistic expectations that you refuse to take responsibility for. Love does beautiful things, but people are not consistently in a state of love. So when people write quotes like the one above, everyone assumes that you’re referring to a single source of love. So if my husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, parent, child etc etc. ever lies, cheats, pretends or causes you pain, then that’s them failing. WRONG. That’s you misunderstanding the nature of love. Love is love, people aren’t love. People can embody love and they can manifest love, but they are not full time 24/7 love machines and neither are you. You’ll get caught in complex situations which have no easy answer. You’ll have people in your life that make mistakes so painful that you’ll lie to hide them from them rather than face heat over something that’s already done. People will be tired, they’ll be sick, they’ll have things on their mind or maybe it’s their turn to need you! So stop with all of these spiritually childish expectations. There are no shoulds there only is. Things are. You either accept that or not. Words are not concrete predictions of the future. It’s no one’s job to make your life good except you. So stop wasting your life by pawning off your unmet expectations as though they were ever anyone else’s responsiblity. Because they weren’t and the faster you realize that the faster you’ll reach an abiding happiness.

peace. s

00 Relax and Succeed - Other Perspectives Footer

Other Perspectives #40

528 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - promise me that you'll

It’s a beautiful thought, and I think anyone who starts dating should have the idea in mind that you have genuinely found the best person you know. And that’s how marriages stay healthy—by people reminding themselves of their partner’s qualities. But even then, always remember that a promise is just a word and not a thing. We can use words to make all the promises that we want, but what will decide the future will be the decisions we make in a progressive collection of Nows. You only live Now, and so you cannot say for certain what decision a different you might make at a different time. So go ahead and make your promises of intent. They still have value. But if you end up on the wrong end of a broken promise don’t think some terrible inhuman thing has happened. It’s pretty routine. In fact, kept promises might be the smallest category of all. Look, people can easily make sincere and heartfelt promises and still have valid reasons to break them. You’ll do it in your life so try not to be so judgmental about others when they do it to you. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt. It can hurt like hell to have people lie to you or break a promise. But that’s all a part of life. Feeling is what you do. You’re a creature that feels the universe. So like a great movie or book, feel everything. Sadness, tragedy, lust, joy. One’s not better than the other. But you get the ones you choose. So accept promises but don’t expect them. Then life will have fewer disappointments. And that makes room for more joy, so go for it. 😉

peace. s

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Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offence to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

Other Perspectives #36

504 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - Apologies don't mean anything

This perception is so common that it’s actually at the heart of much of the world’s interpersonal strife, and it gets applied in a very self-serving manor. So if it’s you who accidentally over-committed yourself and you genuinely feel bad, then you offer a genuine apology, you’ll expect it to be taken sincerely. But we’re all personality types, and if you’re the type that likes to help you’ll get caught accidentally over-committing throughout your life. This is not you failing to be sincere about your apology, it’s simply the other side of you being a dedicated helper. You do feel badly about how things resulted for the offended party, but it’s not like that’s what you were aiming for. It’s a by-product of who you are. So daydreamers are creative but often late because they’re daydreaming. They aren’t failing the all-important you if they sincerely feel badly when they’ve kept you waiting. But they also don’t owe it to you to change their entire personality just to cater to your desires, rules or promises. Because if we make them timely we’ll also lose some very valuable and important aspects of their creative personality. If you make Einstein have a tidy office he may very well not become Einstein. And the same goes for every personality type. Some are good at schedules and organizing but bad at taking direction from others. Others are terrible at leading but are good confidante’s. Some are good confidantes but they’re terrible in group settings. Every coin has two sides, so stop asking other people to be one-sided coins just because that’s what you want. If you stop and really think about it a moment, you don’t want to be held to this standard either because it’s absolutely impossible. If you’re messier than your roommate, you can’t suddenly adopt their standards any more than you can suddenly drive as well as them, or feel comfortable singing in public because they can, or lose your fear of heights just because they don’t have that fear. We each are ourselves. We can change to a degree, but only in our own time through our own sense of things. So if your lover hits you then yes, they are capable of changing but that doesn’t mean they’ll figure out how. So their apologies are sincere but you simply have to accept who they are and you might have to end that relationship if they’re not going to make that change asap. Either way, that’s still not them failing you, that’s them being raised to have counter-productive life strategies. But just like you can’t change yourself for the better instantly just by knowing what “better” is, neither can they. So stop asking for the impossible. Accept who you’re with whether they’re late, or messy, or horny or violent and then act accordingly. Don’t stay in unhealthy situations, but at the same time, don’t equate apologies with commitments to change because those are two different things and even most commitments to change are little more than sincerely well-intentioned efforts to be someone we ultimately are not.

peace. s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly to dangerous and—while I intend no offense to their creators—I do use these rebuttals to help define and delineate the larger message I’m attempting to convey in my own work. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.

Other Perspectives #16

384 Relax and Succeed Rebuttal - A promise should be

Hmmm. I see Frank’s stuff on line and I know he’s a caring person with high character. But with no disrespect intended, I’ve gotta disagree on this one. Because what does should mean? I mean in practice? When I think about it deeply the word should is kind of like a wish. It’s you deciding to live with an expectation that another person will do exactly what you would do. You’re willing to do this because historically you are right far more often than you are wrong. This is the case for the vast majority of people and this is for two reasons: One, your friends are just the people who agree with how you see the world so they’ll also usually do what you would do. And two, to live in a society is to live within a framework of agreed-upon boundaries for behaviour, be those laws, rules, customs or even etiquette. However it’s important to remember that in reality people routinely break laws, disobey rules, ignore customs and defy etiquette. So should is just a wish. So if you’re going to get mad every time one of your wishes doesn’t come true you are in for one painful life. Trust me, you’ll break lots of promises in your life and you won’t mean to have hurt any of those people. But life gets complicated in the ego world. And sometimes those complications can lead good people to take uncharacteristic action (or inaction). Far better than being absolute is to be forgiving and flexible. Trust me, you’ll need the wiggle room too. Have a great day.

peace. s

Note: Everyone who posts or shares a quote does so with the very best of intentions. That said, I have created the series of Other Perspectives blog posts in an effort to prevent some of these ideas from entering into people’s consciousness unchallenged. These quotes range from silly or slightly-off to absurd and dangerous and—while I intend no offence to their creators—these rebuttals exist to help clarify the differences between ego-based belief vs. spiritual awareness. I do hope you find them helpful in your pursuit of both psychological and spiritual health.