We make resolutions which are really wishes for being other than what we are. “I want to be thin.” “I am going on a diet.” “I will be less angry.” “I am not going to work so much.” “I will not drink so much.” “I won’t smoke.” And so on.
There is nothing “new” in making resolutions. Each resolution is a statement regarding ourselves: “I am too heavy.” “I eat too much.” “I am angry.” “I am a workaholic.” “I am an alcoholic.” “I smoke.” This game we play with ourselves has no winner, indirectly affirming what it is we don’t want to do or be through resolutions of what we want. Fundamentally we are in conflict with ourselves.
What if we simply accepted ourselves for who, what we are; what we do; what we say? We have beliefs about ourselves that often are not necessarily true and we figuratively trip over these beliefs. Rather than saying what we want to be, let’s say what we are, who we are. This basic act gives us the footing to change. An example:
The last cigarette
I am a smoker (I am, by the way). When we had kids, we decided not to smoke around them. I decided to quit smoking, but did only for a short time. I believed that I was basically a non-smoker who smoked. I quit many times.
Rather than continue the fiction that I wasn’t really as smoker, I began telling people that I smoked and chose then, not to smoke only one cigarette – that “next” cigarette. I still haven’t smoked that cigarette.
Once acknowledging that I smoked – deeply, truly – I recognized that I could not face quitting forever. But I could deal with smoking or not smoking one cigarette at a time. And, when I reached in my shirt pocket for the last cigarette I decided not to smoke it. Each time I reflexively reached for that cigarette, I chose not to smoke it. I didn’t quit smoking forever. I only did not smoke that last cigarette. I am still not smoking it and now, of course, don’t want it.
Change came when I accepted that I was a smoker and that I was addicted and could not handle quitting altogether.
Wishing all of us a new year of in-side-sight.
This article was written by stanford