Happy New Year and happy Winter Solstice to all of you, and with it, hopes for fresh starts and lasting changes. Starting the year with a blank canvas, millions of people set their New Year’s resolutions, with goals of exercising more, eating less, losing weight, or just getting back into shape. While we start out the year with the best of intentions, reality soon sets in; and with that reality comes the fact that 92% of New Year’s resolutions fail to be met. Consider the following facts about New Year’s Resolutions:
- 85% of New Year’s resolutions involve self-improvement or health related goals, including exercising more, losing weight, eating healthier and quitting smoking.
- 75% of people stick to their resolutions for one week;
- 71% stick to their resolutions for two weeks;
- 65% stick to it for one month;
- 46% make it for sixth months.
I read this from Dr. Sodhi’s blog and was not at all surprised by these staggering statistics. Wow!
And then I googled “New Year’s Resolutions.” I got lists and lists and lists of many ideas that one “should” do. I could see that I might set a consistent routine for myself, and eat a diet designed for my body-type, go to bed earlier, get up with the sun..and…and…and… and it might last for about a week. I put myself in the 75% category. At first I thought of myself there, being in what my mind said was a 75% failure rate. As I sat with the felt energy of “Failure,” I realized I (and I dare say “we) don’t stick to our “best intentions” for at least this one reason: as my Dad would say, “you can’t turn a chicken into a duck.”
It is my experience that I (we) “fail” because we ask ourselves to “Self-improve.” The ancients say we are already perfect, bright, luminous, radiant. So what is there to improve? And how to we become that which we are not? How does a duck become a chicken, or a chicken become a duck? They don’t. They can’t. And neither can we.
Maybe how-do-I-stick-to-my-resolutions is not the right question. Maybe the right questions are more like, “how do I become more of who I really am? How do I come to remember the beauty of my own true nature? How do I honor who I am meant to be? How do I fully inhabit my chicken-ness or my duck-ness?” Then perhaps, I will see that who I really am–this whole human body-mind-spirit universe would do better savoring one small square of dark chocolate rather than wolfing the whole bar. Because turning a 68-year-old woman into a wolf can’t happen either.
It’s not failure to let go what isn’t ours. It’s success to deepen what we resolve. Let’s check our intentions. Let’s move toward brightening the inner Light that is ours (chickens and ducks have something else inside them). Let’s be who we are.