The Promised List of Resolutions

I’ve noticed some resistance to putting this list together as I thought about it this week.

My mind kept saying things like “If you put that out there, you’ll have to either do the things on your list or admit that you aren’t willing to put the effort into it.”

Incidentally, I’ve stopped talking about “being motivated.” Moving in a valued direction (after all the root of “motivation” is the same as “movement”) is about wanting what you are headed toward more than you want to stay where you are. Or, to paraphrase an old saying about therapy “The pain of staying the same has to outweigh the pain of changing.” It’s about valuing. So, either I value the changes I say I want enough to put in the work, or I don’t. Assuming, of course, I picked the right resolution to build the habit I say I value. I can move with vigor in the wrong direction, or expend a great deal of effort on a resolution that doesn’t move me the direction I want to go. So, I’m compassionate and flexible with myself about this.

Anyway, Here they are, organized by topic and month in a nice little spreadsheet:

Shaun’s Happiness Project Resolutions

A few notes:

I settled on 4 broad resolutions that break down into 3 or 4 specific behavioral “to do’s” each day: Strengthen the Marriage, Lighten Up (this is one of Rubin’s too), Be a Better Friend, and Be the Parent I Wish to Be.

Marriage: I want to be more affectionate, stop griping when plans change, do my part to keep the house tidy, and join my wife in a goal to trim a few pounds.

Lighten up: I tend to be grumpy in the mornings, so I will get up 30 minutes before the children to jog, do some yoga, meditate, or have a quiet cup of coffee. Also, I will work to laugh more and to be more silly with the children and my spouse.

Friends: Like most men, I tend not to put enough effort into cultivating strong friendships. So I will offer warm greetings to neighbors and acquaintances (I have a tendency to be shy), check in with one friend every day, and find people to exercise with.

Parenting: I want to look my kids in the eyes more. Looking them in the eyes helps me to tune in to them and them to listen to me. I want to take my own advice and play 15 minutes with each of them on their own terms. And to give attention and support to their positive emotions. I’m good at naming and helping soothe the negative, but I want to teach myself and them to savor the positive.

What about you? Are you working on your own list? What’s on it?

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