Do they work? Rarely. Change is hard. Hard like rock hard. Hard like muscle-up hard. Hard like trying not to be gay hard. But people will give you all sorts of advice on how to change: Set goals. Measure your way to those goals. Celebrate your achievements. Say them aloud. Write them down. And on and on.
If any of that works for you? Great. But if it doesn’t, try what I do: Make one resolution for your ENTIRE year. One. This resolution only has two words, and I’m going to give you the first word:
That’s it. One year, I made my resolution “Be magnanimous.” No matter what happened, no matter what situation or emotion or catastrophe, I thought “Be magnanimous” and I acted in accordance with that resolution. That year turned out pretty damn good.
Another year: “Be kind.” And that thought guided my actions. Guess what? I learned how to be kinder, and I felt more at peace with myself, and the people around me were happier. Life became better for me and others because of those two words.
This year? I’m going with love. “Be love.” No matter where, no matter what. The nature of that love may require me to be firm at times, maybe tough, but maybe also kind, or magnanimous, or funny, or warm. But no matter what happens, I’m going to try to remember to be love.
There are no steps or progress points to this inexact, unscientific resolution; it’s not measurable, not quantifiable, not able to be charted or tracked with an app. And it’s huge and overarching and fuzzy. But it works for me. Seriously. I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years.
Will it work for you? I don’t know. But I suggest this: think about what you struggle with, think about what is hard for you. Maybe if you’re sad a lot, “Be happy” would work for you. Maybe if you work too much or you’re too serious, “Be playful” is good. Maybe if you give up on things too quickly “Be patient” is the phrase. Maybe if you’re quick to anger, “Be forgiving” might help. Maybe if you find yourself tending towards lying, “Be truthful” would work. Maybe if you argue a lot and only wait for your turn to talk, “Be listening” is a good one.
The point here is to not to be specific as much as it is to be on target, if that makes sense. And remember, resolutions don’t work if your resolve is gone once the ink is dry on the page. So resolve to just work on one thing for the entire year: Be SOMETHING.
And let me know how it goes. I’ll be interested to hear if it works for you.
“A man who lives right, and is right, has more power in his silence than another has by his words.” — Phillip Brooks
“Be love, and then shut your f***ing mouth.” – Pete H.