So I know I spoke yesterday about resolutions being for suckers, and I still believe that. But only if you do your resolutions in the traditional way. By that I mean you get out a pad of paper — or open a note on your computer — on New Year’s Eve and then basically write down a wish list for next year. You’d love it if the things on your list actually materialized, but deep down, you know it’s not going to happen.
In the past few years, I was forced to make a lot of changes after my divorce, so I did a lot of reading and experimenting on lasting change. Besides what I talked about yesterday, I found two other things that have helped me more than anything else when trying to make a change for the better in life.
Permission to fail and impermanence
First up, permission to fail. I’m really hard on myself when I fail at something. Doesn’t matter if it’s a game of ping pong, or totally whiffing on a New Year’s resolution. But failing is part is part of the process. It helps you to figure out the things that don’t work. Insert your own Thomas Edison quote here.
I’ll give you two examples. After I moved back into the city, I was absolutely positive that I would love to have a kayak. Only problem is my place has nowhere to store it. Then I discovered a high end inflatable kayak one day wandering around REI. I happened to find the exact kayak on craigslist cause I’m cheap like that, and then it was onto the waters of Lake Union.
It was during the summer. Beautiful weather and I even had brand new paddles. Only one problem, I was not enjoying it. Not at all. In the past, I would beat myself up about it continuously. What a stupid idea. Why did you waste money on a kayak. Nice move champ. But now I know — kayaking isn’t my thing.
Another example. For fitness, Don turned me on to Class Pass. It’s an app with a monthly fee that allows you to go to just about any type of fitness class near you. It was great. I tried everything from spin class to parkour. I thought that I would really like boxing. At least in the fantasy version of myself. So I took a few boxing classes and hated it. No worries, I learned boxing isn’t for me. But you know what I did enjoy to my surprise? Barre class and Pilates. Now I know.
And that brings us to the second most important part: impermanence. I don’t have to do any of these things forever. That was a major block to me in the gym. Imagining that I’ll be doing these same exercises for the rest of my life. Change it up, try different things. Maybe someday I’ll live by a river and absolutely love to kayak. All I know is that I don’t enjoy it on Lake Union.
So if you really want to make changes this year allow yourself to fail. But don’t allow yourself to quit. Keep trying until you find something or someone who clicks with you. It’s out there.
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