The Only New Year’s Resolution You’ll Ever Need

2010 January 4

It’s a bold assertion, but isn’t that what a new decade is for? Forget about vowing to lose 20 lbs, date more, be better about recycling. The only resolution you need is the one that involves getting more congruence in your life.

2197460955_0c8e7dd4eePhoto by sirwiseowl

Tackling this resolution is a pretty simple process. In fact, all you need to do is ask yourself the classic Sesame Street question – Which one of these things is not like the other? Sit down and think about who you are as a person. Which (positive) adjectives would you use to describe yourself? Then think about examples from your day-to-day life that reflect these qualities. For example, do you see yourself as an eco-friendly person? If so, how is this evident in your actions and activities? If you end up drawing a blank, that’s a clue that how you see yourself isn’t necessarily aligned with how you’re living when it comes to this particular value. Maybe you see yourself as a financially responsible and detail-oriented person, but have never gotten around to making a budget to track your monthly spending or researching options for retirement savings. Maybe you’d describe yourself as active and energetic, but can’t remember the last time you darkened the doors of the gym. Resolving to be more congruent involves looking at your self-concept and your actual circumstances, recognizing the areas where there’s a disconnect or mismatch between the envisioned and the concrete and deciding to bring these two pieces back into sync.

There’s no right or wrong way to tackle the inconsistencies you might discover; it’s simply a matter of deciding to take  steps to make your life more reflective of your values. Maybe you’ll decide that your adventurousness should take the form of backpacking through Thailand and you make a goal to save up for the trip by 2011, or maybe you see yourself as a generous person and decide that this means volunteering for a Habitat for Humanity build. Or maybe you’ll discover that it’s your perspective on yourself that needs changing and not necessarily your behavior. Maybe you’ll admit that as much as you want to be a gregarious life-of-the-party type, this role doesn’t really feel comfortable and playing the social butterfly ends up exhausting you. Instead of pushing yourself even harder to be Ms./Mr. Congeniality, you’ll decide that it would be more congruent to embrace your reserved nature, cut yourself some slack on the social front and realign your self-image to reflect how you really feel.

As a bonus, identifying and addressing your incongruities will go a long way to uncovering the root causes (the better to begin tackling them!) of the nagging dissatisfaction or anxiety that comes from working and living at cross-purposes.

So forget about 20 lbs in 2010. Focus on getting right with yourself instead. It’s a commitment that you can definitely stick with past February.

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