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My New Year’s Resolution: Listen

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My 2010 New Year’s resolution is an internal one, one that will help me be the person I want to be on the inside (the only side that really matters). It is the opposite of the typical “lose weight, exercise more, do a crossword puzzle every day” sort of resolution. I am going to start to listen to myself, my body, and my inner wisdom.

“Social Self” Resolutions
We are all conditioned to develop a strong “social self,” which Martha Beck defines as “the part of you that developed in response to pressures from the people around you, including everyone from your family to your first love to the pope.” (Finding Your Own North Star, Three Rivers Press, 2001)

Often times, the social self is what creates our New Year’s resolutions. They are created by the part of us wants to look right, act right, and be perceived in a particular way by everyone else. Those kinds of resolutions rarely stick.

“Essential Self” Resolutions
I’m opting for an “essential self” resolution. Our essential self is who we really are. It’s our original personality, our likes and dislikes, our characteristic desires, and the deeper part of who we are, regardless of where we were born or who are parents are.

Our essential self is the part of us which knows how to find happiness, true satisfaction, and a meaning-filled life. If we can connect with this part of who we are, our resolutions are likely to stick.

My Resolution
So back to my resolution on listening. I’m like most Joes and Janes out there. I grew up with a well-intending family in a well-intending society that wanted success and great things for me. Along the way to where I am now, I learned how to do the “right things” to have the life everyone thought I was “supposed to” have. In successfully following the rules, I lost my essential self. She was buried so deep that I actually forgot she existed.

In the last few years, I discovered that she does exist and is completely available to me if I want her help. I’ve taken baby steps to get in touch with her, for she is my guiding light towards a life of joy and fulfillment. For 2010, I am going to LISTEN to her.

Here’s how I’m going to do it.

1. Make time every day.
My resolution is about making a stronger connection with what is truly important to me. Making time every day, even if it is for a few minutes, will keep me connect with that wisdom. The more regular I am at checking in, the easier it will be to remember to check in, to the point where it becomes nearly automatic.

2. Create reminders.
Checking in every day sounds easy, except on the busy days (and who has those?). Little, gentle reminders are a simple way to make sure I’m checking in with my inner self. A notebook by my bedside, a post-it on the coffee maker, or whatever little thing will trigger that daily reminder is a perfect way to remember my commitment.

3. Follow through on what I hear.
Listening is one thing, but following through is what’s most important. I know that the moment I stop following through, the wisdom will stop coming through. My essential self will be seen as the Girl Who Cried Wolf, and she will eventually be eaten by the wolf—again.

4. Seek support.
My essential self could present a challenge to me, such as her early 2009 desire to leave the corporate world. She knows what’s best, but my social self may override her. In these instances, I will seek support. As a coach, I strongly believe in the power of coaching, and I regularly receive coaching for my own personal growth. When times get tough, I will reach out for help in following through on my essential self’s desires.

5. Tell the world.
A crucial step in sticking to resolutions is to share them with others. Every one of you knows what I’m committing to do, and I sure don’t like to not follow through on things I start. Check in with me throughout the year and see how I’m doing. Let me know how your 2010 is going, as well.

Happy New Year to all, and may you find the perfect essential self resolution for your 2010!


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