Right now many of us are thinking about our new year’s resolutions? We mentally try to set the tone, but are not willing to follow through on any level until January 1 or let’s say January 2! So why not do as much as we can to avoid confronting the very thing we set out to do earlier in the year and that’s correct this thing that is our nemesis.
Do you identify with any of these below?
- You start a new diet and quit within a few weeks
- You joined a gym, but never go and when you do, you feel lost
- You say you are only going to have one drink and wind up wasted
- You swear off a person only to forgive them again
- You are going to throw out old clothes, but never do
- You swear off sugar and all carbs only to binge heavily on both
- You write off an intimate partner only to find you are in bed with them again
- You are going to spring clean, but never do
- You are going to go to Church every Sunday and find you only go one
- You are going to save a lot of money this year and wind up more in debt
- You are not longer going to gamble
- You are going to quit smoking cigarettes
- You are going to get 8 hours of sleep and be in bed by 10:00 every night
All of these things seem like simple in writing, however, when we have an addiction to something, it is a strong magnetic tug of war between us and our higher goals. Something as simple as not going to bed on time, should not be a big deal, but underlying it could be a well of anxiety that the night triggers from childhood trauma or your inability to follow through on routines.
We may be more unconsciousness than we want to admit. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results, right? So how do we find our way out and stop doing the very things that cause of suffering or keep us from reaching our goals?
The first step is recognizing a very powerful force that lives within us all that we do have to tap into. This is the subconscious. The way to healing it is through courage.
Courage is the willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty and intimidation.
In some traditions, fortitude holds approximately the same meaning according to Wikipedia online.
We create resolutions and like a mantra, we repeat to ourselves, “this year I am going to do it!” Yet, each year do we do what we say we are going to do and keep our promises to ourselves? Many of us will come out of the New Year’s gates strong and ready to conquer the prior goals we had set that left us feeling defeated. Many of us will fade out around two-six weeks into our goals returning to old habits. Why do we quit what we set out to do again and again? Why do we create a filter that prevents us from confronting our own bad habits and return to our old comfort zones? For many the issue is we lack the courage, which is the WILLINGNESS to confront ourselves or to discipline ourselves because we fear failure. We also find comfort in our own discomfort. We become victims to our own bad habits. With fortitude, you can develop some momentum. We need to fuel and drive our desires mindfully and we need to finish and finish strong. This builds our self esteem.
So what do we fear and how does it have such a strong hold on us?
We fear rejection, failure and ridicule. We don’t want to do some things like tell the truth, in fear of upsetting another. Some don't even want to admit they are on a diet or need one. We have emotional Band-Aids and excuses for everything! We are trained to disassociate, even in the office. We are expected to be non-reactive, non-emotional and human all at the same time. It’s a real crisis for many of us. When we set out to achieve a goal, the reason we fail is due to this huge imbalance. Human=non-emotional=not possible. We may not show our emotions, but on the inside we are living in our own personal prison of emotions that is festering within us and this we can’t escape. The more time we spend in denial and allowing things to fester, the more resistance there is to persistence.
We only wish we could fake it until we make it. The problem with emotions is you can only fake for so long until it chops you off by your knees and flares up. We know logic, but we don't listen to that, we have to know our Why... it has to come from the heart. It has to be authentic. The problem with the goal is it may not be a method or path you really believe in. Rather than quit all together, look for other methods to pursue and try to determine what fits you and your values. What makes sense to your lifestyle and your purpose each day.
Of all the virtues courage is the most important. Without having courage you won’t be able to going into a void of your life and handle the unknown. You will always play it safe, so safe that you may miss valuable opportunities for the most important growth – spiritual. Fortitude means that you have firmness in spirit. How eloquently this ties into our level of courage. Isn’t this what we need “firmness of spirit” in order to get to the other side of our goals!
We have to learn to remove the obstacles that withdraw the WILL from following what we know is best for us. We know if we don’t that we will wind up back where we came from and that is usually a place that’s not of abundance, but makes us feel like we are lacking. It's careful that you do your research and that you do commit to something. You will not always be entirely sure it's the right thing, but once you commit, commit to follow through for the time you determine. Make it a game and tell yourself, "no matter what I will follow through for x amount of week or months." You can then determine if this goal is or is not for you. You can always change your mind later. The little milestones you accomplish with just goal setting make a difference ongoing to your confidence approaching goals. It doesn't have to result in the BIG OUTCOME you hope for. The reason is you are building your self esteem blocks that help you build upon your future goals. You can't lose this way. You have to start somewhere and you must begin where you are at.
Our emotional health will continually demand that we aspire to go higher in our thinking and virtues. This is what brings movement into our life in the directions we want to go. What creates a good life is aspiring to obtain a life that reflects all that is truly good about us. When we are out of alignment with our true nature and are living an authentic life where we are doing this, we don’t feel loved, appreciated, respected and successful. Inside we are empty on some level. The purpose of creating more form, function and goodness in your life is the path to success in all things you set out to do, but you must be the one shaping this. It doesn’t happen automatically come for many and for those who get handouts there will be repercussions at some stage. It is our quest in life that brings passion, vision and purpose into us! We must have a quest and that vision needs to be balanced with all that is around us.
Everything in our life should be a true reflection of our true motivations and purpose.
The writing has been on the wall a very long time for many of us. Are we working in this direction? Or are we more focused on vain efforts that continually have us coming up empty? We already know our weak spots, we just need to stay awake, with eyes wide-open, and temper them with strategies in place ahead. When you see something coming your way or find yourself in the same situation, just say, ” AHA, there it is again!” This in itself will have you be lining out of the situation knowing you don’t want to go backwards. Keep reminding yourself of the consequences, the suffering, the let downs and disappointments that go you to the point of wanting this to be your GOAL in the first place! There is nothing worse than going backwards. Your goal is to simple keep moving forward. Even if you aren't making huge strides try making quitting not an option!
Your goal is to set the intention of beating the obstacles that come your way with strategies in place. Just do your best, but don't strive for perfection or you will stop and start your goals over and over. Expect there to be set backs. It's comebacks that determine success longer term. Learn from your mistakes.
You don’t have to have a third eye to know what is going to come your way in the future and tempt you to abandon your virtues. Go within and pull out your own punches by using the courage that lives inside you to face your own weaknesses. Use the virtue of temperance to manage yourself through these temptations knowing if you do, there will be gift for you on the other side. Each time you beat the foreseen obstacles; you will be that much closer to the finish line. Fortitude is achieved through this momentum. What we all have in common is resilience. Some are just more in tune with theirs.
Champions never see losing as failure and winning as success, they learn from both and get stronger, better and more determined. As my grandmother always told me, “never wait until tomorrow to do what you can today!”