What will it take?
Everyone is talking about making changes in form of New Year’s resolutions even though most of us know, and data shows, that most of our “resolutions” [will] fail. The issue isn’t with setting them, but going the right way about achieving them.
So, what will it take?
Change can only happen with the right attitude, so here are 5 key ingredients you need if you really want to make things happen:
1) Fate favors the bold. I know you're scared of believing that the impossible is possible, but there's only one way to find out: be bold and give it a shot. You want love and belonging? You want a successful business? You want freedom? Be bold and go for it.
Yes, at some point, you might get hurt and it will be difficult at times. Of course it will — the best things in life require work and some difficulty. It might not work out, you say? But what if it does? What if the juice is worth the squeeze, so to speak; what if climbing the Everest is life giving and you just don’t know it yet? What if you’re meant to reach instead of shrink? After all, what is life if we don't stretch? As Helen Keller put it once, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Unless we go boldly after the things that scare us the most, it's inevitable that we will reach a point when we will wonder: what could have been? Don't believe me? Just ask all the ones who've come before us and taught us this, or read about the regrets of the dying. They rarely say, I wish I had been more timid; only that they wish to have been bolder.
2) Change happens only when we are actually willing to change. We all talk about change, but we are terrified of it. We make new year's resolutions, yet most of them are going to fail, anyway, and we know it. So what does it take to actually change? Our willingness to change.
Let me say that again: Change won't happen unless we are actually willing to change. To make change means we will likely have to give up on who we are today, what we do, seek, and know, and what keeps us safe, and that’s scary, very scary ... but how do we expect to actually change without giving up on our old self? What brought us here won’t take us where we need to go.
3) Stop lying to yourself. I wanted to learn to play the guitar since I was a kid. That's a lie. *I* wanted it because my brother did it, and I thought I'd be a “stud,” attract romantic partners, and not be the only person in my inner-family who can't play an instrument. Guess what? That's one big, fat, old lie. I can't fucking coordinate my hands, much less play like Paco de Lucia. No wonder I never had the motivation to make it so! Don't lie to yourself about what you really want; if you really wanted it, you would have made it happen by now. Wanting something because that will get us approval or an illusion of happiness or satisfy some childhood desire doesn't mean we really want *it*, it means we want approval and happiness. And that's OK, but that's an entirely different topic and we won’t get to it by lying to ourselves.
The point here is: want the things that are actually within you, today, that are your reality today, not the stuff outside of you that you’ve been trying to shove inside. No matter how neatly we decorate the world around us, or how many proverbial guitars we own (I own a beautiful, expensive one), that stuff doesn’t bring us to liveliness and give us the proper motivation to achieve what makes us tick ... not in the long run, anyway. Rather, it keeps us constantly chasing instead of having, distracting ourselves from actually attaining our real desires. What is most natural to us happens to us, it reveals itself without our need to desperately chase it.
It’s also funny how many excuses we have for why it hasn’t happened yet. Ask me about my guitar ones! :-)
4) Stop delaying ... as you might be dead by the end of the day. Take one minute right now and trully remember one of the last times, the last moment you felt authentically fulfilled, no anxiety or sadness ... just joy, pure bliss. Don't lie to yourself that it was that boring client meeting or a dull thanksgiving family dinner (if it was, great!, just don't pretend if it wasn't). Think of a "perfect day" in your life ... what made it perfect? What's stopping you from having more of those? Is it your ego? Is it fear? Is it your brain chatter? All of it? Whatever it is, cut the crap and take action... however small, do something that leads to personal satisfaction, liveliness ... indeed, bliss. Even a text message or email, a to-do list, or a bigger plan can put you on a path forward. Want to tell someone you love them? Say it. Want to start a new business, do it now. Want to fix your health, eat a salad today and go to gym. Life won't wait for you to build up the courage... believe me, I know ... from experience.
5) Before goals, set intentions. How do you want to live? What do you want to feel? Whom do you want in your life? What does an ideal day feel like? Improperly structured goals without deeper intentions (i.e. the big picture) enslave us because, ultimately, we have no control of how life reveals itself.
How does that old saying go, “life is what happens to us while we are making plans”!
I want to make a $1,000,000 this year. What happens if, due to a host of reasons, I get to $500,000? I have failed. Should I hate myself? No, of course not, but since I've failed my goal, it will be hard to authentically celebrate the success I've made.
This doesn’t mean we should not have goals; we should as they are a great way to focus, measure, and keep ourselves accountable. However, those goals need to be set within broader intentions so that they can be utilized as a tool, not an obstacle.
For example, I want to build a thriving business, and that includes great product, happy customers, and profitability. Goals for any given period thus serve as benchmarks, but I don’t judge my overall success or failure by each goal, rather by the overall progress. Falling short on one goal or exceeding in another gives us an opportunity to learn, and modify goals if necessary, but having a broader intent keeps that learning in perspective without falling into the abyss of self-fulfilling self-beating and toxic criticism.
Yes, yes, I know, the path to hell is paved with good intentions! In this case, however, the intentions let us be good to ourselves, understanding that we aren’t in control of the outcomes, but still plowing ahead in the direction of our dreams.
Life does not bend to our will; it's a delicate dance of fate and will. Desiring that things happen exactly as we want them without some perspective is a recipe for suffering, because we will never get exactly what we want. Just take a stock of your life and you'll see that very few things happened exactly as you had wanted them. I know this is very true for my life. Now, take a moment and wonder, what if all the things that have happend, and all the people that have come into your life did so for a powerful, transformative reason, what if that all came so you could, indeed, make 2019 the best year yet? Are you still holding on to the old “goals” and fantasies that didn’t happen, like my learning to play the guitar or are you letting go of them in pursuit of a bigger picture?
Don't waste the call from the universe to thrive as a new you.
If 2018 has taught me anything is that true happiness comes from surrender, from letting go and allowing life to unfold as it might. Life *will* unfold according it's own will, whether we like it or not, but resisting it robs us from happiness in this very moment, in the now--the only moment we truly have.
There's a reason you are where you are right now; it's not so you can continue on the old, rugged path of years ago, but so that you can forge a new one.
Don't waste the opportunty to have your true self shine through.
Put the hand on your heart, feel the beat, and seize what is in front of you. The window of opportunity is a moving target, as is life; don't waste it.
Love and light,