What is the best new year’s resolution idea and how does one achieve it?
Life is full of decision making. Sometimes it’s easy.
Sometimes it’s not. Every single decision we make, has an effect on someone or something.
But as challenging (or even sometimes stressful) as that may be, that is exactly wherein lies the inherent beauty of each decision: Our free will, our free choice.
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Do We Really Have Free Choice?
I hear my small son drag a chair to the kitchen counter. He doesn’t know that even though I am out of his sight in the other room, I can see him in the reflection of the living room mirror across from where he is. It’s just before dinner-time. He reaches into the cookie jar. At any moment, I can come in and stop the situation. I am in control of the bigger picture. However, he is 100% going to choose for himself whether to take that cookie or not.
The One Above could have created the world in a perfect way. But instead, He chose each one of us to be His partners to get the job done. Every time we are faced with a possibility, a decision to make, we have the potential to bring us (and the world) closer to that goal. What we actually decide, is up to us. And from that decision, we learn and store away the information to use in our future experiences.
Don’t Make the Same Mistake Twice
When we choose one way over another, or to do something and resist the other option, what comes into play? What is guiding our decisions? For the most part, our choices in life are based on our previous experiences. It is taught that everything that we see and hear teaches us something.
We Are Sterling Silver
When we are born, we are like a shiny sterling silver tea set. Through the passage of time and with exposure to the elements, the silver tea set becomes less shiny, and a bit tarnished. And in some unfortunate cases, it even becomes scratched. Oftentimes, with the right care, even deep scratches can be smoothed out. Nonetheless, the essence of the tea set doesn’t change. It still has its purpose.
Our experiences also have an impact upon us. They show us how to do (or not to do) things in our daily lives. That is, in part, why when we are younger, some situations seem to bear more weight.
Why is this so?
There are two reasons here:
1. The situation has never been experienced before.
2. Less time on the planet means having less of life’s experiences, so each experience stands out as carrying more weight, being more impactful.
For example, if someone worked for 30 years and has already dealt with all of the typical encounters one does at a job – disagreement with a colleague or having to approach the boss to discuss a difficult issue – then when something comes up, we can look to our previous experiences to decide how to handle it.
However, if we are at our first job, then when challenges arise, it is sometimes more stressful because we simply haven’t experienced it before. And, this is also so because the experience isn’t diluted by the quantity of experiences one has after decades of life. So each experience stands out more. One teaspoon of hot sauce in a large pot of soup won’t make a big difference, but that one teaspoon in a small bowl will.
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When Knowing Is Not Good Enough
So if we have our own free will and we have our experiences to feed off of, (or the advice of trusted people), then why is it so hard? That is where discipline comes in. Whether young or young-at-heart, discipline is something that always needs to be worked on. It’s like a muscle. Discipline needs to be strengthened by using it.
The more we put it into action, the stronger our discipline becomes. And then, the easier it is for us to make beneficial choices and work toward our New Year’s Resolution Idea or any goal we set for ourselves. Sometimes we need a push to get started, like when one is learning to ride a bike. It takes a gentle push from someone who is excited for you, from someone who wants to see you succeed. The last thing they want is for you to lose your balance and fall. They want to celebrate with you.
The Power of Two Working Toward an Aspiration
When the opportunity presents itself to make a resolution, share it with someone who wants to see you win. Just the mere action of sharing it will help strengthen your determination. How much more so, does it increase your sense of accountability. When you share your resolution with someone who cares about you, believes in you and is rooting for you, you realize that you have a backing. You are not alone in your endeavor.
Firstly, the expectation is there. You now know that someone other than yourself is expecting you to get it done. But what’s more is that now you have someone that will help encourage you if you feel challenged. No one said that all of the decisions we take upon ourselves would be easy, but we can put systems in place that will make us more likely to be successful.
And, the more things we accomplish, the more gratified we feel. This sense of accomplishment nourishes our soul. It gives us the strength to choose the next thing to go after, and the next thing after that. This is how you build discipline.
Developing a Routine and Strengthening Your Intent
Get out your pen and paper, even if they are digital. There is something powerful about writing things down. It gives them more permanence than if we keep them bottled up with the other thousands of things in our mind. Make a daily plan for all of the small things that you need to do and it is more likely that you will stick to it.
When you develop a pattern of doing the small things each day, you are exercising your discipline, just like you would strengthen any other muscle with repetition. And by putting this into practice successfully more often, you will become accustomed to it. Scheduling things becomes easier and you will get used to deciding on an outcome and ensuring that it gets done. Eventually, this will help you in your bigger decisions, like taking a resolution upon yourself.
Self Control and How to Achieve Your Goal
Along with developing our discipline comes a greater sense of self-control. It is said, what is not permitted is definitely not permitted, but what is permitted isn’t always necessary. One may think that they have to have self-control first in order to be disciplined. But practicing being disciplined actually helps us have better self-control. I always say, anyone can do something for five minutes. Sometimes you just have to start.
Think of something that will benefit you. When you do something good for yourself, you will be in a better position to do good things for others. Each moment that passes is gone forever, and we don’t know where the future lies. But we hope and plan for the best and we have it within us to make the best happen. Choose something for yourself. Tell a friend or a mentor about your resolution. Let them share in your wins and if necessary, help you to the finish line. That’s what life is all about…..helping ourselves, helping others and helping the world, one win at a time.