Kindness and Gentleness
It’s time for people to consider important life changes and make resolutions for 2016 or, conversely, not commit to any new year’s resolutions because of past failures. I believe considering useful and sustained life change is always worthy of our time and effort.
I find it helpful to remember a quote from Albert Einstein that reads, “The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.” Although this was written to guide social and political thinking, it can be applied to individual life change.
Making significant changes in your life can benefit from using a new perspective to drive the changes desired. Changing the way you think may not only contribute to success but may also help you feel good about the change process.
Many checklists for resolutions have proliferated over the years. This article has some interesting elements.
Key steps include the following.
1. Articulate the results you want
2. Design practices that will deliver those results
3. Define a time period for your challenge
4. Get a partner (or a community)
5. Create a (fun) consequence (for stumbling)
6. Celebrate and acknowledge the end of your challenge
7. Create your next challenge
In this day of instant gratification, social media and rapid information exchange, it can be difficult to be more patient and measured in our approach to anything. The use of the term “practice” in the list shown above is particularly helpful because it suggests a fundamental change in daily routines or habits that can prevent falling back into old patterns.
As you address the seven steps listed above or similar steps you chose, you might consider simply being “directionally correct” and give yourself some room for flexibility in the face of unexpected curves your life experience inevitably will throw at you. “Directionally correct” means sustained movement in the desired direction.
This does not mean you should find excuses to miss goals but rather to be kind to yourself as long as the commitment is strong and substantial progress is being made.
Consider the analogy of a child learning to walk, a self-generated desire which is a shaky process with many stumbles. It is a commitment that is directionally correct; despite a number of failed attempts, eventually the child walks. Doing anything new in life can include a few tumbles.
Just as an infant needs to regroup after each stumble and perhaps a bump on the head, you too, need to remain committed while cutting yourself some slack for occasionally tripping up. The overall process can still be fruitful as long as you remain committed and make progress. This is better than setting aggressive goals and missing them, resulting in self-criticism and demotivation.
If you can accept that extending a loving hand to help a child learn to walk is sensible, you should be able do that for yourself as you pursue your life change goals.