Right now many of us are thinking about our new year’s resolutions? We mentally try to set the tone, but are not willing to follow through on any level until January 1 or let’s say January 2! So why not do as much as we can to avoid confronting the very thing we set out to do earlier in the year and that’s correct this thing that is our nemesis.
Do you identify with any of these:
You start a new diet and quit within a few weeks
You joined a gym, but never go and when you do, you feel lost
You say you are only going to have one drink and wind up wasted
You swear off a person only to forgive them again
You are going to throw out old clothes, but never do
You swear off sugar and all carbs only to binge heavily on both
You write off an intimate partner only to find you are in bed with them again
You are going to spring clean, but never do
You are going to go to Church every Sunday and find you only go one
You are going to save a lot of money this year and wind up more in debt
You are not longer going to gamble
You are going to quit smoking cigarettes
You are going to get 8 hours of sleep and be in bed by 10:00 every night
All of these things seem like simple things in writing. However, when we have an addiction to something, it is a strong magnetic tug of war between us and our demons. Something as simple as not going to bed on time, seems simple. Underlying it could be a well of anxiety that the night triggers from childhood trauma. We suffer much deeply from some of these things than our consciousness may want to admit, while others have no issue with it and we are in awe of them! How the hell do they go to bed at the same time every night and wake up so bright eyed and bushy tailed? It must be some good melatonin they take! We think we need to gain or achieve something outside of ourselves to acquire a solution. Yet, the thing that should bring you peace is knowing the drug is inside of you. Yet, that alone seems to flare up some deep anxieties about self-reliance.
What triggers you to do the same thing over and over, is the definition of the insanity of a situation. So how do we find our way out? The first step is recognizing a very powerful force that lives within us all that we do have to tap into. This is Courage. Courage is the willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty and intimidation. In some traditions, fortitude holds approximately the same meaning according to Wikipedia online. Mentally we begin to prepare for the New Year. We all want to set the tone by achieving some of our long lost goals. We create resolutions and like a mantra, we repeat to ourselves, “this year I am going to do it!” Yet, each year do we do what we say we are going to do and keep our promises to ourselves? Many of us will come out of the New Year’s gates strong and ready to conquer the prior goals we had set that left us feeling defeated. Many of us will fade out around two-six weeks into our goals returning to old habits. Why do we quit what we set out to do again and again? Why do we create a filter that prevents us from confronting our own bad habits and return to our old comfort zones? For many the issue is we lack the courage, which is the WILLINGNESS to confront. We lack the Fortitude, which is the fuel and drive we need to finish and finish strong.
The hardest thing we all must do in life is face our fear. The greatest challenge is the fears we have about our own nature, being exposed and ourselves. We fear rejection, failure and ridicule. We don’t want to do some things like tell the truth, in fear of upsetting another. But, is it upsetting the other that is really the issue or is the issue more a measure of how upset they will be at us and we have to deal with it. We don’t like to deal with things as a society. We have emotional Band-Aids and excuses for everything! We are trained to disassociate, even in the office. We are expected to be non-reactive, non-emotional and human all at the same time. It’s a real crisis for many of us. When we set out to achieve a goal, the reason we fail is due to this huge imbalance. Human=non-emotional=not possible. We may not show our emotions, but on the inside we are living in our own personal prison of emotions that is festering within us and this we can’t escape. We only wish we could fake it until we make it. The problem with emotions is you can only fake for so long until it chops you off by your knees and flares up. When emotions flare up, we in turn, wind up inflamed physically, mentally and spiritually. This can lead to very serious things like depression, a life threatening illness, the end of valuable relationships or thoughts of suicide.
Of all the virtues courage is the most important Without having courage you won’t be able to going into a void of your life and handle the unknown. You will always play it safe, so safe that you may miss valuable opportunities for the most important growth – spiritual. Fortitude means that you have firmness in spirit. How eloquently this ties into our level of courage. Isn’t this what we need “firmness of spirit” in order to get to the other side of our goals! The difference when it comes to my regular weight management clients and my competitors are that the competitors love the challenges the direction I give presents to them. They have an attitude of bring it on and want to beat the obstacles. They thrive on the energy of overcoming tough situations and somehow this causes them to focus and function even better! As the saying goes “a smooth sea never made a skillful mariner!”
When approaching our New Year’s Goals this year, rather than play the game of psyching ourselves out with the “I am going to do it this year!” mumbo jumbo, let’s DO IT this year. There is power in the play of language alone. The word “going to” already implies at sometime vs. NOW. The power is NOW right? We all know the book by now and do we need to read hundreds of pages about NOW to understand this simple concept? You must begin with an attitude of now since time is of the essence. What if before the New Year you begin to set your body up by starting to do more movement so by the New Year your body is in better condition to pound it come the New Year. How about instead of overeating as much as possible before the new year strikes, you go into the new year with no weight gain because overall you ate clean and healthy, allowing yourself a few cheats here and there. We must stop taking extreme actions because this is how we fail ourselves and lack fortitude. We create situations that are not realistic. You must begin with the blocks that build the foundation of your house first. This may sound like playing it safe, but it’s not, it’s smart because that is your pillar. You have to get serious as well about what is sabotaging you. What people and situations trigger you into regressing to old habits and attitudes? Once you have this key, you can open the door to your inner home and take a good look inside.
We have to learn to remove the obstacles that withdraw the WILL from following what we know is best for us. We know if we don’t we will wind up back where we came from and that is usually a place that’s not of abundance, but makes us feel like we are lacking. It’s another type of a hangover when we don’t follow through. Our emotional health will continually demand that we aspire to go higher in our thinking and virtues. This is what brings movement into our life in the directions we want to go. What creates a good life is aspiring to obtain a life that reflects all that is truly good. When we are out of alignment with our true nature and are living an authentic life where we are doing this, we don’t feel loved, appreciated, respected and successful. Inside we are empty on some level. The purpose of creating more form, function and goodness in your life is the path to success in all things you set out to do, but you must be the one shaping this. It doesn’t happen automatically for many and for those who get handouts there will be repercussions at some stage. It is our quest in life that brings passion, vision and purpose into us! We must have a quest and that vision needs to be balanced with all that is around us. Everything in our life should be a true reflection of this soul purpose. The writing has been on the wall a very long time for many of us. Are we working in this direction? Or are we more focused on vain efforts that continually have us coming up empty? We already know our weak spots, we just need to stay awake, with eyes wide-open, and temper them with strategies in place ahead. When you see something coming your way or find yourself in the same situation, just say, ” AHA, there it is again!” This in itself will have you be lining out of the situation knowing you don’t want to go backwards. Keep reminding yourself of the consequences, the suffering, the let downs and disappointments that go you to the point of wanting this to be your GOAL in the first place!
If you make a pact with yourself this New Year, make it much bigger than losing a few pounds. Your goal is to set the intention of beating the obstacles that come your way with strategies in place. You don’t have to have a third eye to know what is going to come your way in the future and tempt you to abandon your virtues. Go within and pull out your own punches by using the courage that lives inside you to face your own weaknesses. Use the virtue of temperance to manage yourself through these temptations knowing if you do, there will be gift for you on the other side. Each time you beat the foreseen obstacles; you will be that much closer to the finish line. Fortitude is achieved through this momentum. What we all have in common is resilience. Some are just more in tune with theirs. Champions never see losing as failure and winning as success, they learn from both and get stronger, better and more determined. As my grandmother always told me, “never wait until tomorrow to do what you can today!”