Perseverance

Why Attempting a New Year's Resolution is Brave by Amy DeRosia

The most frustrating aspect of New Year's resolutions is disappointing yourself. You get your hopes up about making something fantastic happen in your life, commit to a habit, and fall short.

This cycle makes starting again that much harder. But year after year, so many people give New Year's resolutions another try. Is it because they're crazy or stupid? Maybe.

I think they're brave. Of course we want to set ourselves up for success. But, choosing to hope, dream, and plan after failing multiple times is courageous.

We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives...not looking for flaws, but for potential.
— Ellen Goodman

Resolutions are usually seen as a waste of time because most people fail at their goals before the end of January. But, there are some individuals who make major changes that stick. Lots of folks do more self reflection than they do at any other time and try to better themselves. Failure or not, these are nice characteristics to see in our culture.

Most approaches to changing your behavior are pretty similar. You have to take action, or they don't work. Find a method you like and test it out. See what feels right to you.

Here are a few good resources I know of:

  • A wonderful blog on this topic is Leo Babauta's Zen Habits.
  • My favorite resource right now is Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map (affiliate link). I've been using her system for about a year and love it.
  • The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

In this process, you're allowed to change your mind, quit, or fail. Just don't beat yourself up about it too much. Be intentional. Stay in motion as much as you can. Take a break and recharge. Try something else.

Lasting change is a marathon, not a sprint. There will always be obstacles in the way. The sooner we learn setbacks are part of the process, the better off we'll be.

When you're unsuccessful, you learn a lot more than if you got it right on the first try. This information about what didn't work helps you fail better and faster next time.

Starting a resolution is brave. January 1st or not- if something is important to you, I hope you continue to believe in the possibility of change and persist toward your goal. You never know what you can achieve if you don't go for it.

Happy New Year :)

What went well for you this year? What are you looking forward to about 2015?

Why Thriving Anywhere is Always Possible by Amy DeRosia

CC by   Michael Quinn

We all feel tethered by something. But, the real legacy of our lives is in how we work within those limitations and persevere. 

I feel the vacuum, the loneliness, the silence, the dehydration of the soul as people who want desperately to save our constitution, country, and planet still wander the streets without knowing how to say hi to one another.
— Sam Smith

A lot of people turn off emotionally because it's too stressful to care about the problems around us. There is so much to improve about the way our nations and communities are run, injustice happening in the world, and uncertainty in our own lives. Our culture makes it easy to assume the way things are is how they will always be.

The same is true in our cities. Pompous attitudes about the superiority of big city life are common place. But for many of us, it simply doesn't make sense to move away from our family, friends, and jobs to the 10 coolest cities in America without a specific reason and a lot of preparation.

In this digitally connected age, opportunities for influence are more democratized than they've ever been. We don't have to uproot ourselves, wait to be picked, or try to impress the right people. We can create our own platforms and find the people like us out in the world without moving.

We can live interesting lives where we are. Our biggest obstacles are often within ourselves. This often calls for a whole new set of skills.

Cultivating Inner Strength

No revolution in outer things is possible without prior revolution in one’s inner way of being. Whatever change you aspire to...must be preceded by a change in heart.
— I Ching Hexagram 49

The instability in the world requires us to make bold and courageous choices. In order to handle the stress of these risks, we have to learn to be more resilient by cultivating a stronger foundation.

We have to find our own ways to relax and stay in motion. If life gets too complicated, get back to the basics of self care, solitude, and positive relationships. When you feel yourself getting stuck, do something that scares you.

By taking action regularly, you stay empowered. Live your life exactly where you are. Be preparing now for bigger opportunities.

By learning how to move harmoniously between action and rest, you have  the flexibility to stay steady. You can see failure is as an opportunity to learn. Loss helps you grow in detachment and compassion. Mistakes reveal what you can do differently next time.

Be Easy On Yourself

We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.
— Japanese proverb

Living a remarkable life is important, but we can't take ourselves too seriously. There are too many funny moments, mistakes, and crazy experiences to not to stop and enjoy it every now and then.

The past two summers I've gone up to Portland, Oregon for a conference for creative, unconventional people called World Domination Summit. They're my tribe. They make me feel normal.

After my first WDS, I came home inspired ready to "dominate the world" with big ideas. A year went by quickly, and I hadn't made much progress on my goals. After beating myself up about not achieving what I had committed to, I decided to be honest with my fellow WDSers about my disappointment. You know what I heard from almost everyone ? "Me too." or "I've been there." Over and over again. What a relief.

I've learned that this is what the creative process feels like a lot of the time. We care so much and disappoint ourselves. But, you still have permission to go after what you desire when you fall short. Be easy on yourself.

Could I have tried harder or made some different choices? Definitely. But, the most important thing seemed to be choosing to keep going.

Sometimes the strength to persevere comes from a weekend of massive dance parties with a bunch of strangers and new friends. We save each other from ourselves and make changing the world a lot more fun together.

Thriving anywhere has a lot more to do with attitude and behavior than physical realities. We all experience hardship. But, those situations can make us better people.

 Like the little acorn in this animated short, don't give up :)