According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, less than 50% of those who make resolutions follow through. Life gets busy, we get distracted, and the next thing we know, we have slipped back into old patterns and behaviors. Sound familiar?
But don’t be too hard on yourself. Most of us are already leading pretty good lives and don’t need a complete overhaul. That is why typically small improvements that allow you to do what you are already doing are more successful than full on disruptions.
In line with this thinking, instead of making a New Years resolution, I recommit to living by seven principles I pledged to live by may years ago. These small improvements - or what I call principles - not only serve as an underlying foundation to my life creating purpose and meaning, they are ultimately more effective in the long run and help me to succeed when I do make a resolution, in that they remind me of what matters most.
So this New Year’s, I am recommitting to my Seven Principles. This is MY list. I do not assume that the principles I have chosen for my list are the same principles that you would choose for yours, but I have a feeling that we are not all that different from each other. I know this list is not complete. This is “Part One” of many. Take what you want from it and leave the rest. Happy New Year!
Principle 1: Love Yourself and Others Unconditionally
Love with no conditions and no boundaries. Love just because. As Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho, explains, “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving”. When you love yourself unconditionally, it gives you the ability to love others. To love in this manner is the most precious gift you can give to yourself and to the world.
Principle 2: Don’t Be Driven by Fear
Do not be a road block to your full potential because of fear. It is amazing how many people automatically say “no” to the world and choose comfort and security over taking risks or trying something new. Like Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” Yes, life can be scary, but a life driven by fear is no life. It takes a bold person to let go of fear and say “yes” to the world, but the risk is well worth it
Principle 3: Let Go of "Should's" and "Ought to's"
Placing controls on one’s self, limits your true potential. So ditch those controlling words like “I should”, “I ought to”, and “I must”. Instead, embrace “I can”, and “I will”. Living life based on “should” is a heavy burden to carry. You either become ridden with a feeling of failure or guilt because you did not live up to your expectations or create a false-self attempting to live up to your expectations. Either way, it is a no-win situation. Living life based on “I can” is a win situation!
Principle 4: Believe in Yourself
You are awesome. Don't let self- doubt interfere with what you want to do. It will hold you back and keep you from the life you are meant to live. As Eleanor Roosevelt so brilliantly said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Trust and believe that you are worthy and valuable. Give yourself permission to live, play, explore, dream, imagine, follow your passions, and of course, make mistakes. In order to achieve you must believe.
Principle 5: Live by Principles not Rules
Live by principles, not rules. Many rules are biased, arbitrary and not necessary if you live by principals instead. Principles are basic fundamental beliefs, values and truths. When you live by these truths, good and desirable actions will follow. Like Abraham Lincoln so beautifully expressed, “I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my very best each and every day.” These are words to live by.
Principle 6: Roll with the Punches
As Mastin Kipp from The Daily Love says, “If you fall down 1000 times, get up 1001 times.” Life is full of setbacks but do not dwell, crumble or take on the victim role. It is better to roll with the punches and take a few hits than to duck out of the way. You will be stronger and wiser from the experience. This is called resilience and confirms the old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
Principle 7: Do What You Love
Do what you love. When work becomes pleasure, it is not work at all. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” It brings joy and a deep sense of purpose and meaning to one’s life. If you want to be a drummer in a rock band, travel the world on a bicycle, join the circus, perform open heart surgery or write that New York Times Best Seller, GO FOR IT! It is your choice. Don’t find yourself behind a desk when you were meant to be behind a drum kit.
As you live by these seven principles, you will be amazed at what happens. When you love unconditionally, you will have the ability to love others. When you love others, you live fully. When you are living fully, you will not be afraid to try new things. If something doesn’t work, you will try again. When you let go of “I should” and “I ought to”, you embrace “I can” and “I will”. You will be able to make your own decisions even if it goes against the crowd. You will follow your dreams and become who you are meant to be, not what someone else wants you to be. Your good example will inspire others and in turn give them permission to go after their own dreams. When you live by these 7 principles, you make long-lasting changes paving the way toward your goals and aspirations.
Happy New Year!!!