The Revolution Against Resolutions

On New Year's Eve, Kelly's 7-year old daughter Audrey asked us: "Are you going to set any New Year's Revolutions?  We found the question very funny! It got me thinking once again all about the value or lack thereof of New Year's resolutions. So I'm proposing a "Resolution Revolution". Every year at this time we feel compelled to commit to change everything in our lives that we think needs changing. We love the concept of a clean slate. Vows are made to lose weight, exercise regularly, quit smoking, cut down on drinking, give up wheat and sugar. We commit to be on time and quit wasting our lives perusing Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest. The gym is always overcrowded for the first 3 weeks of January.

By February most of the new year's resolution people are gone. We no longer have to wait to use our favorite exercise equipment or get a bike in spin class.

I do believe in the value of setting realistic goals that are accompanied by consistent habits for their execution. Why I rebel  against New Year's resolutions is because for the most part they RARELY work. With totally unrealistic expectations on January 1st, we set ourselves up for failure. New Year's resolutions also tend to affirm how much we tell ourselves we're not good enough the way we are. I am not against self- improvement, we should all strive to do the best we can every day. Lofty resolutions get set at the beginning of every year with expectations that the desired changes will magically occur quickly. What is required is a strong foundation of good habits for the long-term.

I think the chances of successful transformation are far greater when we give up the self loathing and comparing our insides to other people's outsides. Let's move from a place of self-love and acceptance. We will have a much greater chance of developing the necessary habits that can bring about the positive lasting change we desire.

Acceptance is Rebellious

I recently drove to a business conference in New York City with a good friend and colleague. On the ride he told me how hard it is for him to accept the behavior of one of his siblings towards their elderly mother. We got into a  somewhat heated conversation about the whole concept of acceptance. The situation just aggravated him no end. He just couldn't get how first accepting what is with his family could potentially lead to either conscious transformation within him or even the remote possibility of a change in his sibling's behavior. You may think "acceptance" is the antithesis of anything rebellious. What I have learned that nothing can be changed until we accept the reality of what is.  In other words, if we are sick , we can't get well unless we accept the reality of our disease and do what is necessary to get healthy. This is one of the primary principles of the recovery movement. The addict can not recover until he or she accepts the fact that they are addicted.

In truth, rebellion is all about affecting change. Often that change is an internal shift in consciousness that can potentially lead to a societal transformation. First we accept the issue that needs to be addressed and then we go about a strategy to change what can be changed.

Life is unpredictable that we do know. Change is uncomfortable, we often avoid it until it hits us hard over the head. We fight and resist the unavoidable need to make a change instead of accepting the fact we must do it. Truth is it's the resistance that makes the change event so stressful. If we accept the reality of any situation in our lives that must be transformed , we can then go about the process in a calmer state of mind.

Life inevitably will bring us many challenges like a loved one passing away. It's very difficult to embrace the challenges when we are feeling intense sorrow and wishing those things never occurred.  If we make a decision now to embrace acceptance in our lives, we may cope with future crises from a different perspective.

To quote Arthur Rubinstein: "Of course there is no formula for success except, perhaps an unconditional acceptance of life and what it brings."