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  • Amy Mullen

A Revolutionary Resolution

The angst of not posting this on January 1st was palpable. It was also an essential component of revolutionizing resolutions. We can choose any day – the first of any month, the middle or last day of the month or week, the new moon, the full moon, a birthday. Every day is an opportunity.

The new year, while always starting as a celebration has historically (for me, at least) created a tiny bit of trepidation and anxiety. As one year rolls to a close, the pressure would mount to make the next year more significant. I would reflect with guilt or shame at all the past year’s mistakes, challenges or missed opportunities and mentally prepare myself for more of the same in the coming year.

Until, I simply stopped making resolutions at all. Life-changing moment for me. When the new year started to creep forward, I took time to reflect on all the amazing, challenging, joy-filled, heartbreaking, heart-building, bittersweet and simply sweet moments of the past year with tremendous gratitude. I stopped looking for or measuring accomplishments. I took a much needed hiatus from regret. I boycotted resolutions all together.

And again, a few years back, I started approaching the New Year in yet another way. While I maintained a practice of grateful reflection of the previous year, I started thinking in terms of resolutions and revolutions. A resolution is a promise, a vow, a solution, a decision, a purpose, a decree. And a revolution is transformation, upheaval, development, reform, innovation. Revolutionary resolution making. A promise to transform, a vow to be innovative, a developed purpose……

Maybe this is what it was meant to be all along – but I got lost in the competitive, results driven ideology of our culture.

Where was I looking for change? What was I ready to transform? Was it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual?

Are there new experiences I want to try? A new place I want to visit? A food I am curious about?

Now, I come up with 10 ideas every year in broad topics that I feel are manageable for me.

There are plenty of potential topics – here are a few that work for me.

  • Physical or exercise related – this led me to a dedicated yoga practice

  • Nature (watching the sunrise and sunset on the same day), planting a tree, growing basil, swimming in the ocean every day of vacation

  • Relationships - a practice of listening before responding, being silent when I am unsure what I want to say, contacting an old friend

  • Food – doing a diet detox – no sugar, no alcohol, gluten free pasta, trying Chilean sea bass or different types of cinnamon

  • Health – researching Ayurveda, going to an acupuncturist, decluttering or fixing broken items in the home (the health of our homes reflects our health)

  • Learning – take a course, read a book about something I know nothing about, go to an event, watch a documentary

  • Enjoyment – decorating like Martha Stewart for a holiday, baking Christmas cookies in July, going to a favorite restaurant

  • Kindness – sending anonymous flowers to a friend, paying for the next order in the drive thru

  • Relaxation – sleeping in on Saturday and Sunday, a laundry hiatus, a pedicure

  • Finances – saving, spending budget for a monthly indulgence (whether it’s dinner out or a new toaster oven), investing, tracking

Paying intention-filled attention to whatever I want to has revolutionized the way I look at change in my life. There are times I make several lists in a year and there are years that one list does the trick. If I don’t do everything on the list – maybe I drop that item and maybe I include it on the next list. Regardless, I make a choice to take the pressure off and enjoy the process of seeing where it will take me. Design your own revolution.

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