“I imagine January is a great month for y’all,” I asked a friend, in late December, who owns a gym.
“Oh yeah, it’s always our best month.”
Of course it is.
I was on a walk with Brooke, just yesterday, the very first day of the New Year, and in that specific moment in time, I already felt like life was meaningless.
(I’m pretty certain it had to do with leaving the 80 degree Florida weather the day before and returning to the barren trees and gray landscape of KC, but I digress).
I was far from Ryan Seacrest’s hype about the best being yet to come.
If I put my entire life stock into how I feel only, it would be a pretty manic existence.
The feelings are wonderful insights, and clues to the depths within, but like weather patterns, especially in the Midwest, they come and go.
They rush in, explode on the scene, then whisk away and are replaced with another.
I think most proverbial January gym-goers and goal setters are relying on the flood of hope, excitement, and can-do we all somewhat naturally enjoy at the close of a year and the anticipation of another.
That’s a beautiful thing, not a bad one.
But goodness, it’s short lived, huh? At least in my human condition it seems to be.
The hype gets replaced by doom and dread pretty quickly.
The excitement by anxiety.
The anticipation by reality.
And when we build outcome-based scorecards and judgements on our life (lose X pounds, make X money, get X promotion) through resolve, the well runs dry quicker than we’d hope.
When our white-knuckled willpower finally gives, we careen back into the familiar patterns when the resistance keeps whipping us in the face.
Resolutions and goals are filled with loads of DO language. Do this, do that, don’t do this, don’t do that.
Language that feels kinder, more helpful, and with a longer lens (and higher probability of change) is that of intentions and postures.
Intentions and postures are filled with loads of BE language. Become a person who ___, be a human who is ___, etc.
Intentions are soul statements, not behavior modification.
An aim. A vision. A plan.
Who do I want to be? Where do I want to go? Why do I even want to change in the first place?
And postures are the stances we’ll take as we move about the world.
Our approach. Our attitude.
How do I want to respond to adversity? Where will I exhibit courage? When will I show up and take full responsibility for my life?
The ironic thing about intention and posture work, is that in order to BE, one must also DO, but it comes in that order, and it’s anchored in a deeper identity and purpose.
Practically, two questions to get clear (which can be applied in a variety of roles in life):
– What do I intend for myself?
– What posture (daily approach and attitudes) will I need to express consistently to become that type of person?
The deeper reservoir of intention can carry longer than white-knuckled willpower.