New Year’s resolutions are often a powerful yet perilous way to start off your new year. Why? Because too many unrealistic expectations predestine failure for New Year goals within 24-hours (check out my humor blog on this topic on Huffington Post).
If I’ve learned anything from the past year of change, I’ve learned that trying to change everything at once is a mistake. It’s similar to running stadium steps when you haven’t worked out in years. I did that with one personal trainer, and once I regained the ability to walk I marched straight to his office and smacked him.
There are those times when major changes like divorce, death, and a job move seem to fall into the same, awful year. During those times, survival without drinking excessively is a clear victory.
But what about those years when you want to change your own life? When you decide to do what you love because the latest motivational bestseller has promised that money and success will follow? What about those times when you want to do something that matters?
These changes are more frightening, because you CHOOSE them. That makes you responsible, and you transition from a pitiful victim to a villain whose change impacts the lives of others, and they’re not always real happy about it. Change that you instigate starts with excitement, moves into loneliness, and has periods of Texas-Chainsaw-type terror.
The good news? Sometimes the dark portion of your change journey is preparing you for what’s to come. As Thomas Moore, author of “Dark Nights of the Soul” explains, those times are purposeful even if they don’t feel good. He uses the biblical metaphor of Jonah in the belly of the big fish. While it was dark and Jonah was not in control, the fish was still moving him forward.
Four Change Steps
So, I am emerging from the belly of my own big fish, and I’m finally starting to see things clearly. Here are a few suggestions for your own change based upon my experience:
After a year of crazy, wonderful change, I’m moving forward. And I’ve realized that it’s all about the next step I take – not the whiteboard with the goals, or the new laptop, or the new haircut.
Change is simply about being courageous enough to take one step forward. And, if your gut is really telling you to get that sleeve tattoo, please feel free. I might have one before the end of the year, just don’t tell my husband.
You are the sole person responsible for your next step. You, and God, and the Universe. Stay in touch with them, because they are guiding you from the inside out.