I’m excited to introduce you to my friend and business partner Aaron Baker in this journal entry. Aaron and I have been working together for over 2 years and he is the behind the scenes “magic” that makes it all happen.
Aaron wrote this candid journal entry about New Year’s resolutions, and I really want to share it with all of you. Whether your are setting resolutions, intentions, vision boarding, or just jumping into the New Year – I hope you will step forward with compassion and love – for yourself. Go Gently…and know that small changes today can have a huge impact down the road.
Post by Aaron Baker
It’s past being a cliche, but we keep talking about New Year’s resolutions anyway. Now that I find myself back at work, and at the same time working to get my mind around last year and my hopes for next year, I’m drawn to writing down some resolutions…even though at the same time, I know that for most people, resolutions are ineffective. We let them go as soon as we’re back in the daily grind of life.
In fact, studies show that only 8% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions are fully successful at achieving them. So as I sit, drawn to making my own resolutions, I ask myself the obvious question: what’s the point?
Here’s another statistic for you: People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Sounds a little bit like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t.
But the kicker is that I really really want things to look different going forward. I’ve got blocks that I need to release, I have important growth that has got to happen, I am ready for some significant change.
So, with a “to hell with statistics” attitude, I started my list:
Earn more money to bring ease to my family
listen better and more closely to others and myself
really, deeply feel gratitude, trust, love and presence
lean into myself
make better, more conscious choices around food…
It was as I was writing this seventh item (and the list would probably have just kept growing and growing if I hadn’t had this realization) that I realized I really only had one resolution for 2014 and beyond: strengthen my intentionality.
Because under all my resolutions lies this simple fact, when up against it, when overwhelmed, when afraid, I fall back on what one of my mentors calls my “default programming.” It’s what got me here, to this moment, for good and bad, so it’s what I rely on to get me to the next. But so much of default programming is unconscious, reactionary, unintentional. It no longer serves, rather, it is my prison. The visionary poet William Blake called it our “mind-forged manacles.” A phrase that has stuck with me since college.
My understanding of Blake’s phrase has evolved for me through time, and as I sit here writing, I now understand that my mind, my favorite tool, is not going to help free me from my chains. Intention is not will. Will is strength of mind, intention is strength of spirit. In Lakota, the word for “intention” translates as “prayer,” which implies surrender to the universe, and an expression of trust and faith in its beneficence. Will, in contrast, represents the energy of control, of grasping — of ego.
So for me, as I enter into a new year with the hope of transformation, I realize that my resolution is not about asserting my will on the universe. I will not control the world around me, no matter how hard I try. It certainly hasn’t worked for me up to this point. And maybe this is why resolutions generally don’t work. They are assertions of will and control, with no deeper resonance to our inner selves.
Instead, my resolution (which by its very nature must be non-specific because specificity indicates a desire to control) must be to find ways to strengthen my intentionality, to move away from my default programming, to move towards a state of conscious flow.