As I shared in my New Year’s post last year, “Just Say No to Re-Solutions,” I’m not a big fan of resolutions. They fall into thinking similar to hope, trying and wishing for things to be different than they are currently. Particularly when people are struggling through the expectations and perceptions of what the holidays “should” be like, I find attempting to live up to an image can take a lot of effort that doesn’t often translate into a magical outcome.
In my experience, overcoming major challenges requires effort, energy, awareness, support, attention and resilience. The magic wand approach is a childhood fantasy. When we’re burdened with disappointments, health challenges, low energy and loss along with the expectation that we have a “merry” Christmas and that balloons at midnight will translate into a year where everything is different, it will take more than fairy dust to create the passionate life lived on purpose.
Resilience is a powerful tool. It is something people compliment in others when they see someone who keeps showing up in spite of great challenges or difficult times. So how does one tap into resilience, defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties”? Here are my five tips for tapping your resilience in 2014…
- Take a pass on self-judgment. Lighten up. You know when to be tough on yourself and hold yourself accountable. Now, learn to let go. Observe your thoughts, actions and interactions to notice what you may do differently in the future but make 2014 the year you stop beating yourself up. It drains your energy and limits how much you have to give to yourself and others.
- One step at a time. While we have a large capacity to take in a lot of information in very short periods of time, without a manageable plan and breaking things into baby steps we can easily become overwhelmed. We cannot hope to tap our resilience from a place of overwhelm…or self-judgment for that matter. Each day is a clean slate. Choose one action that when you complete it will have you feel more energized and achieve a sense of accomplishment. This is particularly important when creating new behaviors…one step at a time.
- Practice patience. When you are digging yourself out of a deep hole, show yourself the same grace you would show a best friend or loved one. When we are patient and allow ourselves time to bounce back, we increase our capacity to be resilient.
- Find one thing that energizes you and be vigilant about including it regularly in your life. Life’s challenges can weigh us down at times. Allow yourself the gift of an activity that lifts you up as a counter-balance to those darker moments. Even if it seems frivolous, silly or child-like, give yourself that gift for if two or three times a week of doing something that inspires you and gives you a break from the challenges adds energy to your life, it is not a luxury, but rather an necessity.
- Be willing to fight for the life you want. Some days it may feel like you’re facing a battle to push through whatever is dragging you down. Find your purpose and be vigilant about taking one step toward living it every day. It doesn’t have to be difficult, and often it is not. However, during times when we perceive things as challenging, if fighting for your dreams and goals sparks the fire within you, then get on those gloves and start swinging. Sometimes resilience comes from not being willing to give in during the dark times and taking forward action no matter what.
Tonight, some people’s worlds will be filled with golden swirls of ease, peace and gratitude. Others will find themselves in darker corners. Know that everything can change in a single moment and that you are truly captain of your own ship. Believe that you are incredibly resilient and willing to push through the challenges, step by step, so you, too, can move more into alignment with the life of greatness each of us is capable of achieving. Believe in you, believe you deserve it…and then choose one action you will take each day for the next 30 days no matter what…not as a resolution but as a demonstration of your resilience. Therein lies the source of miracles and transformation.