The Long Player
I’ve never met a single soul who made a New Year's resolution and stuck with it. If you are that person, I’d like to shake your hand. However, as a rule, resolutions typically don’t stick. Hence my lack of buy in. They seem reactionary and extreme...like damage control or wishful thinking...or both. The psychology is flimsy, a bit like elimination diets. You tell me I need to cut out everything delicious in my life and replace it with cabbage soup and kale, and I’ll laugh in your face to mask the panic attack happening inside.
I need a gentler, more realistic approach to avoid the stress of such a drastic shift and ensure I’ll commit for longer than half a day.
Again, if resolutions are the way you roll, my hat is off and this post may not be for you. However, if you’re like me and desire lasting transformation in your life yet often lack the follow-through necessary, keep reading. It’s deflating to see yet another year pass by and remain in the same place you were this time three years ago. My theory as to why this happens is we are working with old flat programming. The thoughts you had about yourself three years ago are what lead you to who you are today.
The problem with resolutions, or any type of short-term goal, is they focus on tactics rather than strategy. They tend to advocate behavior change without accounting for the mindset–or belief system–necessary to support them.
For example, you decide you’d like to learn to play the cello this year. You’ve always loved its hauntingly beautiful sound and every time you listen to Yo-Yo Ma, you weep. This is your new calling in life and 2019 is the year you own it. You hire a teacher, buy a cello, set up a space in your home office to practice, apologize in advance for the ruckus about to be made to anyone living in close quarters, and get right to it.
Three months in, deadlines at work are foreboding, the kids are struggling in school, and your precious sleep dwindles as you lie awake in bed playing mental Tetris to rig the next day’s schedule together. What gives? Your dream of playing Royal Albert Hall next February.
Why? Because your identity allows you to opt out. You’re a working mom learning to play cello as opposed to a practicing cellist.
When dreams are challenged by circumstance, it’s dig deep time. We must practice our beliefs about the goal rather than just strive to reach the goal itself. If I stretch my identity and think bigger about my goal, I’m not thrown off course when my day(s) gets hijacked by unexpected interruptions, and they will.
What is the transformation you long to see this next year? Is it your health, finances, relationship status, or entrepreneurial success? Here’s an idea: set longer term goals if they are really important to you. Zoom out a bit and practice seeing yourself as the cellist with the supporting thoughts and beliefs necessary for that desired outcome. Consistent action will follow and sustain only if your belief about yourself can support it. Otherwise, you’ll act out of urgency instead of desire—scarcity instead of enough.
January one is right around the corner. Let’s do it differently. Why wait?
Today—and everyday—is your stage. Be the long player, not just the stand in.
Love & Gratitude,