Seven Things We Forget When Our Resolutions Fail

Seven Things We Forget When Our Resolutions Fail January 6, 2015

butterflyOur resolutions fail around the sixth day of January—or maybe the fifteenth if we’re really disciplined and really imaginative and really motivated—not because our inner child/artist/ is injured, or because we don’t actually want to change.

(Even if our inner child is bleeding and our inner artist suffers from painter’s block, we do want to change, dammit! Have you seen our credit card debt, thighs and messy closets? )

No. Our resolutions don’t fail because we lack discipline, or imagination or motivation.

Our resolutions fail because we forget the pain of transformation.

When we buy the journal/gym membership/juice fast or sign up for university/therapy/pole-dancing fitness classes, we forget that:

  1. Transformation of any kind is by definition terrible: it’s painful and brutal and requires so much more of us than we could have imagined.
  2. Transformation means we’ll have to tear our hearts or minds or bodies down—or, if we are very lucky!—all three at the same time. (Cautionary note: that kinda luck feels awfully unlucky in the moment.).
  3. Transformation requires us to walk blindly through all kinds of darkness—shame, guilt, fear, trepidation, more fear— before we ever have any hope of seeing the light of change.
  4.  Transformation means we must be willing to be broken again, over and over, until the pieces of who we were fit together to create the person we will become.
  5. Transformation only happens when the pain of staying down is worse than the pain of trying to stand…and trying to stand is goddam hard.
  6. Transformation depends on turning ourselves inside-out and upside-down long before we land right-side up.

Usually the things that remake our lives aren’t what we’re looking for at all. Usually the things that transform us are the tragedies and joys so big we have no choice to break a part to make room for them.

So the trouble of setting out on an intended path of transformation is that we have to be strong enough to break ourselves apart without something external breaking us first.

And in order to be that strong, we must remember the one the thing we forget most of all:

7. As painful as transformation is; it is infinitely more beautiful.

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