It’s resolution time, but I’m not a big fan of resolutions.  The idea of resolutions was most certainly created by a controller-enmeshed society who wants to constantly chase goals.  It is a great distraction from our inner pain.  It keeps us running and fighting and pushing.  It keeps us striving for that top-notch version of self.  In theory, these aren’t bad things.  We should always be considering our next step in self-development.  But the problem is the lack of balance that almost always accompanies the pressure to make resolutions and stick to them.  And the other problem is the inevitable failure of those boundaries because we aren’t looking at what stands in our way internally.  And with that failure comes another ding to self-worth.  If you are like me, that is the last thing you need.  So this year, I would like to bring you some other possibilities for embracing the new year.

Try a new way of setting intentions.  Intention setting has become a popular way of creating change in our lives.  But when our inner resistance to our intentions is too strong, the intentions will not be productive.  And once again, we will be left wondering if something is wrong with us.  Instead of setting intentions and repeating them incessantly, try setting intentions to connect with your resistance to what you want.  When we set intentions, we can often sense a “no” in our system.  If we write from this “no”, it can reveal how we have been set up by others to believe we aren’t worthy or won’t be supported in our desires.  If you process and write from this resistance, you will have much less sabotage when you attempt to make change happen.

Try a new form of self-compassion.  Self-compassion is often discussed in self development circles, but it can feel like a foreign language to those of us with complex trauma.  It can be difficult to grasp or figure out what it means.  We will often start by accepting the parts of us we have always accepted and it’s a good place to start.  But try looking at what you don’t accept about yourself.  Can you give yourself compassion for the mistakes you make?  Can you validate the tough emotions you wish weren’t there?  Can you allow yourself to rest when you feel tired?  This type of self-compassion brings us closer to the balance we really need.

Try a new method of self-care.  Self-care is touted as critical to recharge our batteries so we can keep running.  But maybe we can look at self-care in a new way.  What if self-care was meant to teach us how to find balance?  Maybe self-care was meant to be a bit messy.  It isn’t always about a day at the spa.  Self-care is about what we need in the moment.  Sometimes what we need is to be heard … by our own self.  When we take time to listen to self, when we allow our emotions and stories to come forward, we bring our system back into balance and alignment.  We care for self in ways that are bigger than almost anything else.

Make it an inner year instead of an outer year.  There is a lot of focus on external goals this time of year.  We bring our attention to the body, living spaces, jobs and financial status.  But if we can turn that focus around and reconnect with self, we would connect with a much clearer understanding of how to attain those external goals.  So try putting those external goals on hold and focus on what your inner parts have to say about their own experiences and beliefs.  This will bring you closer to your external goals than any forced and desperate behavioral shift could.

I spent years forcing my life to happen and I accomplished quite a bit this way.  I met all the milestones, at least for a while.  And did well enough with having lots of things and even experiences.  But on the inside, I was in pain and empty simultaneously.  I had no idea what really mattered to me and was in a total panic about how I could possibly keep up the façade I felt obligated to build.  It wasn’t until I turned my focus around that I found a way to live a balanced life with a sense of direction.  So this year, don’t let the external world push you toward another set of impossible goals.  Sit with self.  Look at the yucky shadow stuff you have been running from.  The real answer to the new year already lives within.  It is waiting for you to see it.  Go on an inner expedition.  You will find it.