The Resolution Will Not Be Televised



I read an insightful tweet written by a friend the other day. He suggested that if you were to see “resolutionist noobs” at the gym, to please encourage them. He felt the reasons why so many don’t stay after a few weeks is that because they are treated with disdain and mockery. That statement hit me, because while I am not a gym guy in the least (and to be honest, would never mock anyone at the gym, like I wouldn’t mock a homeless person at a job fair), I realized at that moment that I was a resolutionist snob. I felt he was talking right to me.

For someone who insists on regularly taking stock of himself of where he’s at and where he wants to go, the idea of coming up with yearly goals has always struck me as pedestrian. Far-reaching. Silly. To arbitrarily decide January 1st was going to be the day that everything changed dramatically in their lives, like a chameleon wearing a mood ring, seemed very common. I know many people feel the same as I do, but as my wise pal mentioned in his tweet, what was I doing to encourage those who didn’t feel the same as I did? What was I doing to rally behind people who wanted to make positive and healthy shifts in their lives? Nothing, other than chiding them. Feeling superior to them. I was mocking them by rejecting out of hand their intentions to change.

Don’t get me wrong. I like change. I need it. And yet I fear it. The fear of change is the number one reason why so many of us stay stagnant – working in jobs we hate, staying with toxic people or relationships, continuing with bad habits, etc. We would rather stay with the negative and soul-sucking things and people in our lives than make that leap of faith to alter our life’s circumstances. I am guilty of that. Of course, sometimes there are other factors to consider before jumping from job to job, or romantic partner to partner, etc. but what I am talking about it that deep down fear of “what will happen once I let go? Who will I be?” That is the fear I speak of.

While I’m at it, I might as well tack on the other fears which freeze me in place regarding things like new year’s resolutions – the fear of looking stupid by changing my mind about them, the fear of not being unique, the fear of looking silly by making declarations which I may fail to complete or fulfill. Put these together in a blender and I can whip up a smoothie which keeps me full of self and fails to satisfy.

The reality is this – I am interested in making some changes this year, starting in this new year. It’s a first, to be honest. I have never felt the compulsion to do it, but here I am. And as I realize this, I also see how poorly I have thought of others who made resolutions at the beginning of the new year. But I’m not here to beat myself up on this, but to show a shift in my perception. People will say that they don’t believe in resolutions because they don’t want to fail. But what does failing mean? Failing is just an opportunity to try again. Failing is a lesson. Failing is proof that you’re trying. It all sounds so inspiration plaque type stuff, but it’s true.

Also, the way I look at it now is this – if you vowed to go the gym three times a week every week for the year, starting January 1st, then halfway through March you stop, that’s totally fine. That means you went to the gym approximately 30 times more than if you didn’t make that resolution. That’s progress! And if you pick it back up a month or so later, you are still getting more gym time than if you made no intention to do so at all. So it’s another positive, healthy and gentle way to look at it.

My all-or-nothing wants to show its hand when it comes to creating visions and goals. It wants to build the Taj Mahal when really what I need is a few crumbling sandcastles to make progress. It envisions 20 ultra marathons when I only need to get out for regular half-hour runs to stay active. It craves to write the next Governor General’s prized book when all I require is consistent daily writing to satisfy my creative side. The idea of “go big or go home” hits square between the eyes, and I find that it’s easier to cave to the “nothing” than even try. Those damn fears again.

The real change, the most effective change, is moving through the fears. I am learning that when we move through our fears and mental paradigms, the greatest changes come. And to move through the fears, I require faith. Faith that whatever happens on the other side of that overcome fear, it will be much better than I could ever anticipate. I need faith to make things happen. To change the story which no longer serves me.

I have some lofty goals this year. I am not talking about losing a few pounds (that would be lovely, though), or learning to play the lute, but Big Stuff. Career transition. Writing targets. Physical goals. I feel that I have been stagnant and unbending for some time now, and my Higher Self is itching to break through. It doesn’t all have to happen right away. But I have plans. I have resources. I have the need to break out of my rut. And it will happen because I desire it to happen, and am willing to do what it takes to get there.

I will be the resolutionist noob. And I will encourage myself.

Do you have any goals this year you want to share?


28 Comments Add yours

  1. jeffstroud says:

    I hear you brother! My resolutions, if you wish to call them that actually started a few weeks before Christmas when my emotional spiritual world has a bit of explosion, Bam! I turned around to my friend who I just so happened to be shouting her inventory at, unrequested of course, when I said “I need to get to meetings” I hadn’t been in sometime and I can usually coast for a while yet Life on Life’s terms was banging on my door, breathing down my neck, making me fearful and frustrated. So It was “Back to Basics” for me, at least twice a week to the meetings I can walk to until I hook up with some of the other folks to get rides to others. I also decided to set my goals and do the work that is “suggested” to succeed with my in building a business offering natural solutions to health and wellness, I have been dipping my intellect into all of this yet there comes a time that you have to ask your self your “Why” if your why doesn’t come from the heart it is just surface stuff, I am just staying in my comfort zone. Everyday do a little more, set goals that are attainable, set goals that you and your mentor or sponsor can and will support, even when you fall short.
    You didn’t ask, yet I wish to say it, I am here for you, to encourage and support you. You have offered one of the best gifts of the new year, powerful guidance, telling our stories, where we are, how we got there, and where we wish to see ourselves is “right direction” “trudging the road of happy destiny”.
    Best you in New Year!

    1. Paul S says:

      I love all of this, Jeff. I read this twice to reflect on your insight (your last post, by the way, was fantastic). It has been some time for me in terms of meetings too, and I have been having the occasional “maybe I should drop into one soon” moments. I will probably give into one of those soon. But the Back to Basics – in terms of returning to what worked for me in the first place – that is something that I have to revisit. Not let my ego determine my path, but the voice within. That soft spot.

      Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. It means a lot to me, kind sir.

      With love,

      1. jeffstroud says:

        we are here too look after each other. Best to you! If you ever wish to chat, hit me up!

  2. Very funny! You share that (former) disdain for New Year’s resolutions with my husband. I have the usual resolutions: get in shape, eat less sugar, but I also have writing goals that take precedence over everything else.
    P.S. — I just ordered your book on Amazon. I look forward to reading it. Thanks, Paul!

    1. Paul S says:

      Thanks so much for the order! I really appreciate it!
      As for the usual resolutions – I don’t even wait until Jan 1st for those kind of things. I do the on-again, off-again sugar thing. Getting in shape – again, on and off again depending on where I am with my injuries. But I am hoping to make a clean change on certain things. Writing is certainly up there. I am excited to see where you writing takes you!!!

      1. Oh my God, Paul. I was not expecting this kind of book at all. You are an amazing writer. I’ve only read the first half, but your story will stay with me for a long time. I am profoundly hopeful for the people in my life that have similar experiences, especially as kids.
        I am truly grateful for your work.

  3. ainsobriety says:

    The sole fact that you reconsidered your stance on resolutions, and had the insight to see why you were opposed to them, is awesome.
    You have encouraged me to look for ways I can help others sustain their goals, rather than glaring at them if they are in my space in the Yoga room.

    Thanks for that insight.

    1. Paul S says:

      I was laughing about the glare in the yoga room there…ha ha. I get what you say, and in return you have inspired me to help others in their personal causes. I know that we are best to surround ourselves with people who help raise us up rather than bring us down, and I’d like to be one of those uplifting people to someone else.

      Thank you for lifting me up.

  4. We are cut from the same cloth, my friend. I just finished writing my own “I’m not one for resolutions” post. I find this holiday my least favorite. This though: “Put these together in a blender and I can whip up a smoothie which keeps me full of self and fails to satisfy.” My God man. Pure gold.

    What I appreciate in your writing most (maybe; or maybe I should just say what I appreciate in particular about this post which is true of your writing in general) is that it has literally no pretenses to it. There is something so satisfying about reading someone who is not trying to much of anything other than reflect and inspire. It keeps me coming back, sir. Thank you for another gem and cheers to a new year!


    1. Paul S says:

      Thank you kindly, wonderful wordsmith!

      I appreciate this, Mark. This is one of those posts (like most of my other posts) where I feel like I rushed it, lost the point in the middle of it, rambled on too much, etc. The only bad thing about blogging, to be honest, is that it has stopped me from doing any proper self-editing. I used to be ruthless with my work, and now I have gotten lazy! But that’s okay. It’s a blog.

      Happy New Year to you and thanks for your wonderful post as well. Great work there.

      1. There is a middle ground there isn’t it? I have to admit, I’m not the best self-editor. I want to be done with things and move on. My writers group is helping me to slow down and be more careful about each sentence. As usual, not easy to find the middle ground.

  5. Hi Paul! This reminds me to be less judgmental! I know I have started and given up things, and so I can’t judge people who start and quit things!
    Today at yoga I kept repeating.. I am Wendy, I am strong, I am loved, I show up!
    It really helped me!

    1. Paul S says:

      Hi Wendy!
      I can be Judgy McJudge in a split second…so this guy needs to watch his P’s and Q’s when listening to others and their ideas / dreams / goals. I too started and stopped things. I still do – sugar, etc. So I can’t cast an eye to those who struggle.
      I love your mantra Wendy. I need to borrow it 🙂

      Blessings – and off to read your post shortly!

  6. Hearon (HD) says:

    Paul, I’ve written and deleted 4 comments to this. Deleted because I can’t seem to avoid making it about ME! I will say this: I think goals are great! I think a person needs to establish goals in order to make desired changes. And you are exactly right, to fail you first have to have tried. (You may relate to this: my standard response to anyone who says to me “you ran a marathon?!” Is to reply, “getting to the starting line is much harder than getting to the finish line.”) I got a little bit of guff for posting my “accomplishments” on twitter. (And even more positive comments). But you know what? I DID those things. I say: set those lofty goals for yourself, do the best you can, and be proud of whatever progress you do make.

    1. Paul S says:

      Hearon – never delete your comments! I love hearing all about you, believe it or not (and I hope you don’t think I was giving ya guff about your accomplishments – I really thought they were great! I would love to be able to do those things at a time when I know I can!) And I love what you said about getting to the starting line re: marathon. That says a lot.
      I do have my goals, and I am going to work at them, and one of my little caveats to myself is to be a bit quiet about them. To not make splashes everywhere with them along the way. That is part of self-containment that I am trying to practice as well. I think I mentioned online that I have an app that cuts me off social media after 2 hours (and that’s Twitter AND IG together). I never realized how quickly 2 hours went by on those things! 5 min here, 5 min there, lazy scrolling in bed, etc…and boom, it’s done. So that is helping me as well to stay focused on what’s important.

      You don’t realize how important you are to me, Hearon. Thank you for this, and all your wisdom and insight.

      Much love

      1. Hearon (HD) says:

        Hey, Paul, you are very important to me, as well! I think you know that and I hope you believe it! So just to clarify: “rewrote” is more accurate than “deleted” with those responses! Yes: the social media time adds up, sneakily. Tough balance, for sure. Keep walking forward!

  7. beththesobergirl says:

    I identify with every single bit of what you said, and good on you for recognizing that you held some limiting beliefs. Often, we struggle to see in ourselves how we’re holding ourselves or others back. There’s something deeper in New Year’s resolutions for us in my mind. Aside from trying to create resolve that we can and will change, I think the underlying driver for many of us is hope. Hope gives us something to strive for, some way to hang on when the going gets tough. That somehow, we can do what we’ve previously been unable to do. That maybe this time it will be different. We all have that struggle and we all harbor hope deep in our hearts.

    You’re so right about the progress part, too. Every step forward is an accomplishment. The real key is to master the day, then keep trying to do that, every single day. If you fall, get back up. I think some people don’t get back up because of that simple little word…hope. They lose hope and think that maybe this year isn’t their year.

    Best wishes on your resolutions – and don’t lose hope!

    1. Paul S says:

      So sorry for the delay in getting back to you!

      I love what you say about hope. It rings true for me as I read your comments. I think I was the “no hope” or “hopeless case” type when it came to achieving something. It was all or nothing. And my inner critic was always there to jump on me. But I do feel more hope as grow older in general and also in my recovery. Reading your words has amplified that. Thank you so much!!

      1. beththesobergirl says:

        No worries, Paul! Hope the new year is treating you well. 😊

  8. I plan on deepening/finishing the stuff I’m already doing. Finishing the mount Fiji of books by my bedside table, being more creative and staying sober. Continuing the self-care (amping up the yoga because it feels good) and not taking myself so damn seriously.

    1. Paul S says:

      ha ha ha – I was laughing at the Mount Fiji by your bedside. I am the same. I actually set a goal in Goodreads to get 35 books read this year. I don’t think I have read 35 books in the last 3 years combined! But I am making the time (away from social media, which makes a huge difference) to do so, and I am enjoying it. The creative side too. I love that you are doing it (I know Creativy was your word of the year!).

      Thank you for this (my apologies for the delay) – loved what you had to say.

  9. Beth says:

    After a long time, I am revisiting your blog after I inadvertently got side tracked by my own goals and duties. Your goals are noble.

    1. Paul S says:

      Beth! I am so happy to see you here!
      I am glad that you were sidetracked in a good way! That’s life, isn’t it? I don’t mind that I am busy sometimes – better than where I was before. I feel useful and good about myself. I hope you are doing well!

  10. furtheron says:

    Sadly mine are limited this year. I just want to be physically better than I currently am sadly though much of that is totally out of my control.

    1. Paul S says:

      Hi Graham. I was wondering not too long ago that I hadn’t heard from you in a while, and I just read your post, so I understand now. I commented there, so won’t bring up much here. But considering your current condition, I imagine that the only goal right now is getting well. I understand that, with my herniated disc and sciatica (which is horrible), the last two years has been me just trying to be pain free and upright. Blessings to you, Graham.

      1. furtheron says:

        My dad suffered with sciatica for years. Horrible. Thanks Paul good luck on your challenges this year.

  11. Beth says:

    Pro 31:1 The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
    Pro 31:2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
    Pro 31:3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
    Pro 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
    Pro 31:5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
    Pro 31:6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
    Pro 31:7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
    Pro 31:8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
    Pro 31:9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

    My prayer for those who are “ready to perish” –for those who have no hope. May they recover to be true kings in the house of the Lord.

  12. Abbie says:
    Just so ya know. ☺

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