I admit it—I’m a New Year’s Resolution junkie.
I love a clean slate. It can be my birthday,the first day of the month or week, the new moon. But the first day of the new year holds a special place in my resolution-craving heart.
I’ve tried all kinds of resolutions. The usual vague lose weight to the specific lose 20 pounds to the very specific lose 1 pound a week. I’ve set intentions instead of goals regarding my writing life, typing them up with a pretty background and hanging it above my desk.
I’ve taken workshops that use hypnosis to help us keep our resolutions. That was incredibly successful. One year I wanted to take my writing to the next level. (Not very specific, I know.) That was the year I participated in the Elephant Journal Apprentice program, stayed on as a volunteer editor, finished my novel-in-stories, and published pieces on line.
Desire tends to get a bad rap in spiritual circles.Wanting something can be seen as coming from ego or from a place of attachment. But really, our entire life is based on desire. Every action we take from the grand to the mundane comes from our desire to feel a certain way—we want to feel good.
Even our so-called bad habits make us feel good in some way—which is why they can be so hard to break.
As a writer, I don’t have a story or character until I know what that character wants. What do they yearn for? What do they desire deeply? Once I know that, I’m on my way to a story.
So, desire is not a bad thing. Getting in touch with how we want to feel, what LaPorte calls our “core desired feeling” is essential. She says, “Small, deliberate actions inspired by your true desires create a life you love.”
I’m well on my way to discovering my core desired feelings for this year. I have over twenty hand-written pages exploring what is and isn’t working in all aspects of my life. Once I find the three or four feelings that deeply resonate with me, then each action or goal I set needs to make me feel that way. It ends up being a way to strain out all that doesn’t serve me. Does saying “yes” to that party make me feel how I want to feel? Does walking around the lake? Starting a website? Taking another client? Having that glass of wine? Each thing I want to do must pass the core desired feeling test.
Along with “The Desire Map” I just read “Better Than Before”
by Gretchen Rubin which is all about habits—why we make them and why we don’t. After reading it I realize that I love to track my progress. Even If I am accountable only to myself, once I see all those “x”‘s or gold stars piling up, I feel motivated. It’s why I drew this chart (see below) on my dry erase board. It’s great book to read to help you identify the best way for you to go about creating new habits that truly nourish you.
So, that’s my approach too New Year’s this year. As always, I approach all of it with a bit of lightness. It’s not life or death. I don’t want to enter the new year with this heavy burden of obligation or expectation.
Instead, I want to enter the new year with a lightness and a gentle framework supporting me that allows me to live the best life I can, day to day, moment to moment.