With another year on the horizon, I find myself wondering why we feel the need to wait for January’s coy signal to jolt us into making resolutions. Why January? Why do we wait until after the holidays have come and passed? Why do we wait for our lives to ‘calm down’ in order to focus on our goals? Why wait at all? What are we waiting for? What is keeping us from making these resolutions today, here, now? Why do we find ourselves distracted, busied with excuses, and comforted in our procrastination? Why must we wait for anything? What are YOU waiting for?
As I chat with friends and family alike, many of us agree that New Year’s resolutions are somewhat disheartening. We make grandiose plans for the New Year only to be disappointed in ourselves a few weeks post ‘declaration of bold aspirations.’ Whether it is weight-loss goals never met, hopes of eating healthier crushed at the sight of a coffee shop donut, or simply never getting around to cleaning the spare-room closet, we all suffer defeat and give up. Next year will be better, we all say to ourselves. Our goals were too big, too silly, or too difficult to accomplish anyway. We succumb to the veiled belief that our goals were not realistic to begin with, and we bond with one another in our sea of excuses.
It is laughable at first, but I find it quite sad as well. We are quick to busy ourselves with mundane activities only to avoid and hinder our REAL goals, our TRUEST desires, and our biggest DREAMS with resistance and fear. We lose sight of what it is that energizes our true being because we are too distracted with extraneous preoccupations of the day. I think Sogyal Rinpoche says it best:
“Western laziness consists of cramming our lives with compulsive activity, so that there is no time at all to confront the real issues.”
Look at your life. What are you busying yourself with today? What is distracting you from the present moment? Sure, social media, television, and music distract us from what is presently before us. But think deeper for a moment. What is distracting you from accomplishing your goals? What is stopping you from opening up that restaurant you’ve always wanted to open? Who is telling you that you cannot sell your paintings and be an artist full-time? What is distracting you from living your dreams today? Why do you find yourself occupied with ‘to-dos’ and push aside the real issue of fulfilling your life’s true purpose by achieving your goals?
Keep in mind that these distractions of yours are not solely tangible ‘things’ such as phones, TV, electronics, etc. FEARS are distractions; EXCUSES are distractions; RESISTANCE of what your true self wants to accomplish is a distraction as well. Let’s face it, many of us are afraid to take on our goals starting today because stepping onto this unknown path is unfamiliar and scary at times. When we are uncomfortable, we cling to what is known and familiar to us. Thus, we remain snuggled up with our preoccupations, tasks, and deadlines. In busying ourselves, we miss the present moment of today. We miss each opportunity to fulfill our truest desires in life. Lost in our tasks, we become the laziest version of ourselves.
Think to yourself what it is that you truly want to accomplish – and furthermore, ask yourself what you can do TODAY to be one step closer toward that goal. I myself find it difficult to glance toward 2014 and project my desires. Instead, I wake up each morning and think to myself, “Today I want to accomplish ----“ in order to be one step closer toward fulfilling my dreams. Projecting thoughts and plans too far into the future leaves me frustrated and inevitably disappointed as I think to myself, “I can’t do it.” After all, thinking about the future is a distraction from the present, right? This is simply another reason to focus on today, here, and now.
Being mindful of our situation and admitting that we are distracted from our goals and desires is the first step we can take in 2014. Being aware of our lives as they are – today and now – will help us refocus our energy and point it toward what we truly want in this life. Being intimate with our distractions and coming to KNOW what resistance looks, feels, and sounds like will help us greet 2014 with ease. We will smile confidently with a renewed sense of mindfulness and embrace each sunrise that the New Year has to offer us. We can always begin again. Why not now?