Another year is over and you’ve made resolutions to change things. And this year you’ll do it! This year WILL be different! Or maybe you’ve sworn off making resolutions entirely. You find its “futile” and your tried of failure.
But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if failure was a part of the process? That’s right it’s a good thing! And when you fail you really are on the right track. In fact, doing something wrong is often the way to arrive at your goal. Don’t believe me? Well consider this; If the black box of a trans-Atlantic jet liner were examined, it would reveal that the plane is off course 50-70% of the time. That is right. And yet it arrives on time at its desired destination? The reason is because it self-corrects lots and does it rapidly so it has the appearance of being on course, even though it’s actually off course a lot of the time.
It’s the same for us, when we make those New Year’s Resolutions we first become aware of the behaviour we want to change. And then we need to take on a “beginners mind” to “entertain” the possibility of changing. And then it’s a delicate dance between this beginners mind and the need to stay safe and comfortable that makes the forward movement on these changes.
The beginners mind is full of curiosity . And in it we feel spacious, curious, interested, and flexible. Your mind expansive and it feels good. And you experience more of the positive emotions of empathy, compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, joy, and playfulness. You’re able to be in the present.
If you’re resisting the change and trying to control the situation, you can often wind up making things far worse. Our bodies feel heavy and tight. We’re limited in our thinking. And this can lead us to feelings of negative emotions of fear, anger, anxiety, and shame. In this protecting mode, we are defensive and judgmental. We’re attached to our thoughts that only our perspective is correct. Our discourse and thoughts tend to run in repetitive circles that only make us more stressed and alienate others. Our effectiveness is hampered, perhaps to the point that we are our own worst enemies. This is failure.
In the normal course of things, we live our lives on a learning/protecting continuum—dancing from learning to protecting, protecting to learning in many ways—each mode containing the seed of the other. It’s not a case of either/or, black/white. Like most things in wellness, it’s a process.
The objective is not perfection and to stay in learning mode ALL the time. It’s just not realistic for most of us. The objective is to get better and better at self-correction and to simply get more flexible, one little experience at a time. This is the path to effectiveness and wholeness. So go ahead make those resolutions and plan for the failure, plan also to stay curious and open to the new way of being. And move closer to wellness.