Like most of us, I love the new year.   It’s a great opportunity: a blank slate on which to write a promising imagined future.  But what do we tend to write on this promising blankness? Resolutions.  Yuk.  More goals for me to be ‘resolute’ about. More stuff I have to martial my willpower to accomplish or improve. More deficiencies that I’m going to try to “re-solve” for the umpteenth time again this year.

If you’re like a lot of us, there’s something about resolutions that can cause us to channel our inner schoolmarm: heavy, grim, and headed for certain disappointment. And I don’t know about you, but I tend to work harder to rebel against that mean old bag than to obey her.

So this year, I’m firing New Year’s resolutions and looking instead for New Year’s inspiration. Rather than resolving to do or be something (which requires a sort of turning against myself), I’m looking for what’s inspiring me, what’s calling me forward. Inspiration can create as much vision and momentum as resolution, but without the internal friction or shoulds. Yes, there’s still effort – and sometimes pain – involved in making change. But working toward something, vs. against ourselves, usually supplies more motivation, energy and odds of success.

What about you?

You might be much better than most of us at resolutions, able to create ones that work for you and don’t feel oppressive.  In that case, let the change begin!

But if you’ve created resolutions that evoke any sense of ‘should-ing’ on yourself, you might want to question whether you truly believe that real change comes about as a result of a good swift internal kick in the pants.  If your resolutions have a stale or bearing-down quality to you, try switching gears.  Take a moment to put all striving aside.  Drop into your heart, into your body, and relax.  Sit with these questions and allow the answers to arise from the silence:

  • To what do I feel inspired this coming year?
  • What is calling me forth?  Ready to be born?  Interesting, appealing?
  • Is there some shift that feels like it’s pulling me to it, the way the moon pulls the tides?
  • Is there something that I’m ready to release, the way the snake sheds its skin?

However you choose to move into the New Year, may 2015 be your best year ever.