Good Intentions

Have you ever made New Year’s resolutions? And, did you keep them? I think the advent of a new year is a great time to take stock and set some intentions for the coming 12 months, but for some reason, the idea of “resolutions” has never really appealed to me.
Webster’s Dictionary defines resolutions as thus:
: the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. : the act of resolving something
: an answer or solution to something
This makes me think that there is a general misunderstanding of the concept. What we think of as resolutions, are in fact, goals or intentions. Again, we consult with Webster:
Goals:
something that you are trying to do or achieve
Intentions:
a determination to act in a certain way
I like these concepts better, because unlike a resolution, which is sort of a pass/fail situation, a goal is the action of effort, i.e. the intent of improvement or accomplishment. Last year I set the goal of writing and posting a blog post once a week. I met that goal, and it was a great source of accomplishment to me, in a year where so many things were completely out of my control. I also made a goal to exercise at least 120 minutes a week. My success there was mixed. I hit the goal for about 14 weeks, and then had to stop to recover from the appendectomy. Once I was able to get back on the bike, literally, I met my time for another couple of months and then had to stop again because of knee problems. But my knee never really improved, and I regained the weight I had lost, which has made me very unhappy.
So number one goal for 2014 is to get back on track with exercising. I started three weeks ago. The knee hurts like hell, but the improvement to my self-esteem, and hopefully my weight and waist line, make me willing to take the tradeoff. I also have some other personal improvement goals, that may sound silly and trivial but all have to do with feeling better about myself, which has been a struggle. So, I am committing to whitening my teeth, softening my feet, and moisturizing vigilantly.
I also want to work on one of my worst faults, which is taking things too personally. I don’t know that I will ever succeed completely with this, but I think the time has more than come to stop letting the negative comments or actions of others affect how I feel about myself. It’s a very bad habit, and it’s a problem. So, in this case, I actually may have a real resolution. The only things I can control are my own actions and attitudes. Therefore, I RESOLVE to make every effort to follow Agreement Number Two of The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is a wonderful book, and if you have never read it, I highly recommend it. Anyway, the second agreement reads like this:
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.
My final goal or intention is to try to find a way to do more for others. Whether this will take the place of volunteering, mentoring, or some other method, I have yet to determine, but there’s so much need in this world, I want to help. So in the coming weeks I plan to look into various opportunities and see what happens. That feels like a really good direction to focus some energy towards.
If you’ve made any goals, intentions or resolutions, I’d love to hear about them. And if there’s anything I can do to support you in meeting them, don’t hesitate to let me know. We’re all in this together! Plus, I have that final goal to work towards, that could be the first step!
The end, for now

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2 responses

  1. Great post! I totally agree with the terminology you are using to define our attempts to achieve. Last year, I did reach most of my goals. The ones I flip-flopped on were; using non-bank ATMs and buying coffee instead of making it at home. I’m continually improving my environmental efforts at home and ran the half I said I would. I also maintained the weight I wanted, that was by eating better and exercising and letting the body confirm to healthy habits. This year my goals are to run the same race under 2 hours, learn to swim, salsa dance and finish my novel. When I have a few moments and I am sitting around, I try to write positive affirmations about where I want to be. Such as, I will be a great dancer or I will finish my novel. It’s all about training the brain first, then turning action to habit. Best of luck!

    1. thanks Tony! Appreciate the feedback. Good luck with your goals!

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