New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

As I have discussed on Facebook and this blog, 2014 and 2015 have been difficult years for me. These challenges have forced me to rethink my priorities and set myself on a new path, fuelled by greater focus and enthusiasm.

As I write this post, I sit by a roaring fire and watch the snow float by the window, dusting the spruce and settling in a quiet canopy over the ground at my parents’ home in King City.

I write these five resolutions in a moment of peace.

  1. Focus on writing and editing. I feel that I have a lot to add to various conversations in academic, professional and social circles. I will try to write every day.
  2. Be more social. I have been coming of out the shell I crawled into the last few years, and it feels good. I will strive to be more engaged my relationships with family and friends.
  3. Pray, meditate and contemplate. During the difficult last month, I have turned to meditation and prayer, and it has felt right. I will try to meditate and pray (for at least 5 minutes) three times a day.
  4. Get fit. I was always an athlete and – due to neglect – I have put on an unhealthy amount of weight. I will focus on getting healthy and rebuilding the discipline I once had around nutrition and exercise.
  5. Practice my hobbies. I love playing the piano, swimming, fencing and playing games with friends like chess or snooker. I have put these things aside since 2011. I will endeavour to change that this year.

So there you have it. My plan for 2016.

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Define your motivations to defeat fear and bring happiness

Many of spend much of our time dashing about, feeling busy. We cycle through feelings of relief for having “caught up” and then are plunged back into the anxiety of feeling “behind.” The question to ask is the following: why are we in this negative cycle driven by fear?

Fear is a terrible motivator. It is uncreative and stressful. It pushes us relentlessly toward making bad choices. It makes us submissive and willing to cede control to someone else, just for the relief that having “someone else in charge” brings.

To break this cycle of fear and anxiety in your life one needs to take a moment to know one’s self. By knowing oneself, one can then manage oneself more effectively and start leading a life of creativity, peace and calm.

How does one come to oneself? The answer simple, but the implementation is difficult. A good place to start is to make a list of the things which worry us, versus the things which bring us peace. Here is a table with some of mine

 

 Fear-Makers  Happiness-Makers  Why?
 Meeting expectations of others  Achieving my own goals.  I never really know what others want or are thinking about me.
 Looking busy and important  Working on projects that are meaningful to me I take on too many things which are visible to other and don’t tend to the things which are invisible, but which I love.

Etc.

Honestly going through this exercise will be difficult. It will take many tries. Sometimes you’ll feel as though a thing you’ve put in one box also fits in another box – so you have to refine.

For example, for me, “meeting the expectations of others” also brings me happiness sometimes – when I make someone smile, or when I bring someone reassurance because I did something that that I had promised them. So, in my case, I would change the chart after reflecting:

 Fear-Makers  Happiness-Makers  Why?
 Meeting expectations of others  Keeping my promises.  I never really know what others want or are thinking about me, but keeping my promises means that I am beyond reproach.
 Looking busy and important  Working on projects that are meaningful to me I take on too many things which are visible to other and don’t tend to the things which are invisible, but which I love.

This is a more accurate representation of what really motivates me.

You should try making a fear-happiness chart for yourself. You may be surprised at what you come up with.