With the new year comes resolutions. But how many actually follow through on a resolution that is made on a whim?
Originally Published on HuffPost
How to Change Through Inspired Action.
Numerous articles are written on how to change extolling the powers of will, goals, and visualization, even advising what to change.
Goals have their place when it comes to project planning and reminders to keep us on track. But when it comes to personal resolutions, ideal goals may unnecessarily set us up for judgment and failure or even limit our true potential.
Thing is we don’t need end goals to start making significant change. In fact excessive thinking, talking, and planning to reach some perfect goal only delays the pure actions which can lead to great results.
Profound change comes about not from any ideals or goals but from a realization of cause and effect – how our actions impact our health, lives, society, and the world.
Change is not just an important matter in our personal lives, it’s an imperative for our world right now. Our personal change impacts our relationships, family, and the world in ways we may not even realize.
Goals vs. Intent
Before we get into the heart of change, we have to understand why we’re even trying to change. What’s the motivation behind our resolutions? What are we really striving for? What are we hoping happens if we meet our goals?
Resolutions often begin with a judgement about what we are not and the ideals we would like to be. Starting from judgement we’re setting ourselves up for emotional distress and giving up if we don’t meet expectations.
Often the core intent of our goals is to find happiness, acceptance, and love. Even our quests for success, diets, and relationships can be traced back to these core intents for happiness, acceptance, and love.
These core intents do not come about from any change in the outside world, but are all found within.
Often we sabotage these very core intents as we struggle towards external goals and rewards without reaching any true satisfaction. Unfulfilled, we’re in a constant cycle of trading one goal for the next.
When we stop looking outside ourselves for validation and realize the inherent wealth within us, this brings about an entirely different perspective. Then our goals are no longer what we want from the world or what we would like to be, but how we can better serve the world, how we can best share our time, talents, and skills within the context of our life.
I Want to Change, But…
For change to happen, we have to face our conflicting thoughts and desires, not judge ourselves, but just notice the conflict of interest.
For example, we may have read that excess sugar is terrible for our bodies leading to all kinds of health challenges, but we like sugary snacks and carbs. We may be inclined to exercise, but we like the comfort of a routine without exercise.
Changing habits requires recognition of the consequences. If you’re not aware of it, then research it, explore it – even that is action towards change.
Personal understanding of why you’re doing something is a far more powerful motivator in the moments when it counts.
When there’s a tipping point of realization, change is inevitable.
See, if there’s a hot stove top, we don’t have to think twice about not touching it.
When the cause and effects are crystal clear, there is not even a decision to be made, no place for contradiction. The mind is clear and unified in it’s action.
Before Halloween, I asked my neighbor’s son who’s 10 year old, “so hey are you going trick or treating?” He replied without second thought, “Jeff, I may get dressed up and hang out with friends, but I doubt I’ll go trick or treating, I mean it’s just begging for sugar which is not really good for you.”
What? A completely different paradigm than most kids his age. He made no goals, no plans, and no resolutions – just pure recognition. Out of that recognition comes a completely different way of being.
Awareness is the catalyst for change.
Honest change requires honest awareness. When you clearly see the cause and effect of things, you are naturally inspired to act. Action is how things get done.
When there is inspiration, small acts are all it takes to move you in the right direction.
Inspired action has a momentum and ripple effect.
For example even buying a book, signing up for a class, or a coach doesn’t take so long to do but it sets up an entirely new trajectory.
Once our decision and priorities are clearly made, new actions and habits naturally follow.
Without judgment of living up to some end goal, we are free to simply act out of awareness, to explore possibilities, and enjoy the journey.