I would!…if I had the will…
While I have never been an enthusiastic advocate of new-year resolutions, this has not stopped me from trying to make them work in the past. All my attempts faded away within a couple of months, and in some cases even days. I could blame lack of will power. However, this defence seems less reliable given the recent research in neuroscience which is prompting many neuroscientists to question the very existence of free will! http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sciencetoday/2011/1229/1224309589554.html.
I have talked about this before so I will not dwell on it here. I could blame the fact that the brain is by its very nature a pattern forming and pattern following system, it is lazy and tends towards the familiar and has a preference for the status quo – just like an old girlfriend of mine.
Probably the poor success rate of my new-year goals is due to a mix of factors including the above. So what is the solution? Set no goals ever or set them in the summer, maybe call them something else such as ‘endeavours’ or ‘challenges’ or ‘commitments’ – actually that last one is worse than ‘goals’ and is guaranteed to never reach completion in many lifetimes.
So if I have little or no will power and am averse to commitment, what hope have I got? Should I just not even bother, just go with the flow, relax, let go, surrender, be at one with what is……that all takes a kind of commitment too. I think too much and maybe I could decide or choose to think less, to analyse a little less often. This would free up some space in my head and give me time to practice being more present with myself, to be in my heart more, to have fun and enjoy my day…to actually laugh more. That’s it! I resolve to laugh more and to hell with everything else.
Maybe this is why I have found myself doing some stand up comedy recently. Six months ago I never believed I would be standing in front of a group of complete strangers trying to make them laugh in a small room up over a pub in Dublin. It all happened very quickly and continues in spite of me, with two more comedy spots later this month in two Dublin venues.
I have to say I am enjoying the experience so far but have no plans to change career and start life as a comedian….why make life tougher than it already is and I know for a fact if I choose this as a career I would be single again overnight.
So for 2012 I intend, hope, aspire, dream, maybe even plan to experience more new ‘stuff’, laugh a hell of a lot more, do one new ‘thing’ that I have never done or even thought about doing before. If other stuff happens like improved fitness, read more books, write more often etc then that will be a fantastic bonus to the year.
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to have goals in your life, to aim and think big. This is what motivates and inspires us, keeps the momentum towards meaningful work and change possible and gives us a sense of purpose and control in life. All I am suggesting right now is to not get hung up on needing to have resolutions or big plans for a great new year, after all its just another Tuesday (it is today as I write), so you set your goals when you want, if you want.
And also remember that success in any goal or plan is dependent on others working and/or supporting you in pursuit of your outcome. We all need the input and support of others. Dr David McClelland, from Harvard University spent 25 years of his life researching ‘success and achievement’. In his view the effectiveness of our achievements is dependent on the influence of others. Life is built on and around relationships, so make building and strengthening your relationships at work and home the basis for everything you do this year – if you do this you simply cannot fail. Maybe that is the only goal or resolution or intention any of us need for the year ahead. Happy new one!