This is an article written by a colleague in the Kesher program. While it is a little late making it to the blog, it is still an interesting read. In fact, if your resolutions have fallen away, the timing may be perfect! Enjoy!
Starting the New Year “with intent” rather than “resolution”
By Tara Watkins, LICSW
The start of the new secular year finds many of us reassessing our lives, much as one might around the High Holidays. Perhaps we are still grappling with things in our lives that we hoped to have addressed and moved on from in 2016. Maybe struggles with finances, career, or personal relationships continue to weigh us down. Or we might still not feel fully comfortable with the person staring back at us in the mirror every morning. Ongoing issues and concerns have a way of continuing to surface, despite our best efforts to avoid them.
Now, I’d like to you to think about how many of these concerns you have previously tried to address through “New Year Resolutions,” whether in 2016 or a previous year. Unfortunately, the term “resolution” in and of itself may be part of the problem.
For 2017, I encourage you to consider a new approach. Consider what you’d like to accomplish as “intentions” rather than “resolutions.” Often times when we think about past resolutions many were thoughts of what we should have or be, rather than what we truly wanted. This contrast between “should” and “want” frequently develops into internal conflict between what we should be doing and what we really want to do. And, if our heart is ultimately not into making something a reality, then it is usually not attainable or realistic.
Changing our mindset to be that of “intention” not “resolution” implies ongoing effort. It also allows for adapting intentions as our lives develop in the coming year, while still remaining true to what we originally wanted to accomplish. For example, if you decide you’d like to start a new career path but then are hit with a new financial responsibility, perhaps adapting your career intention might allow you to continue pursuing this goal but also allow for time to assess if a new job is realistic for the moment or if it should wait until the new financial concern has been addressed. By continuing to work with our intentions through both the easy and challenging times, we stop ourselves from falling prey to the strict timelines or all-or-nothing approaches that often plague resolutions.
Above all else, please remember to be gentle with yourself. Life throws curve balls that may make us stumble. But, if we bend as needed and persevere with intent, we are still able to adapt to the changing needs of our lives and not feel that we are failing at what we set out to accomplish. We are allowed to celebrate the journey, not just the destination.
As always, as the Kesher social worker for Congregation Beth Sholom, I am available to help congregants and their families address issues that may surface throughout the year. Please contact me at either 331-1244 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Wishing you a successful year of living with intent.