With the new year upon us I wish to share my thoughts on resolutions and my approach for the coming year. I had no intention of crafting resolutions this time around. While creating them is a good exercise for looking forward (and back), they tend to be set aside as I fall into the routines of daily living. I suppose this the reason I had decided to boycott. However, on my routine morning’s walk to the coffee shop I started thinking about things I’d like to focus on this year, this week, today; that won’t necessarily lead to goals accomplished, but rather may help build desired character traits.
We get caught up in the exercise of the mob and follow the unwritten rules of resolutions; think big, make them measurable, include the physical, the monetary, and add a pinch of status. This method created personal resolutions that for the most part looked like this:
- Earn $75,000/yr
- Travel to Europe
- Complete an Ironman
- Get a promotion/raise
- Buy a house
- Find a partner, fall “in” love
- Lose weight, gain muscle
I won’t say these are bad resolutions, society places value on them. We are part of a community and should exist, even attempt to thrive, within the parameters set by the tribe. That said, clearly there has been no balance to my lists. There wasn’t much speaking to becoming a better man; unless a man is measured by his bank account, physical accomplishments, and the woman at his side. Which was my thinking. At different periods in my life I’ve accomplished all the listed goals—twice over actually. Maybe I oscillate between having and losing these objectives because at my center I don’t value them. Perhaps if I reframed my list with a more intrinsic mindset the pattern of attaining just to let it slip through my fingers would discontinue.
As such, there is a change of tone to my written resolutions for this year. My list will have no extrinsic goals per se, but rather less palpable intrinsic goals that build the character of a better man. I write this not completely certain I know what that looks like, but I do know the outward resolutions I’ve made over the years have left me disappointed, or longing; whether accomplished or not. This, surely, is an indication I was taking the wrong approach. So, a better approach and a resolute list is crafted.
Write. My objective is to write with more consistency, and to write with more purpose; writing through my thoughts to arrive at some valuable insight. I will write more balanced. As you know, much of my writing, my poems, are introspective. Often this writing turns more pessimistic as I allow a recurring depression to influence my thoughts and words. I will try to use tactics to avoid the introspective writing during my darker periods, instead focusing on writing for a greater purpose. Within that purpose, write with an optimistic voice so that the words are helpful to those reading. I will adopt the philosophy of Emerson.
Set down nothing that will not help somebody. — Emerson
Read. My resolution is to read no less than one book per week with the intention of expanding my views and increasing my knowledge. This, in order to develop the tools and mindset to improve my character and be a better man.
Love. I write of love often in my poetry. A recurring theme likely because it’s a topic I struggle to understand. I surmise what it means to me, but that view isn’t necessarily shared. Regardless, I would like to know more love, better understand my flaws, and begin taking actions needed to share—and experience—an encompassing love, not an isolated love.
Think. Simply, I’d like my thoughts centered on the essential things; spending less time thinking about everything.
Move. I will move my body with greater consistency and purpose; engaging in Nature as frequently as permitted. The body and mind are intertwined, maintaining physical health impacts mental health. Developing physical resilience creates confidence and a self-efficacy that spills over into other aspects of one’s life. Nature reminds us of our natural state and grounds us to the knowledge that we are all connected, the same, as one. Nature keeps me centered.
Broadly, I’d like to keep the character traits and virtues I’ve identified as important to my wellbeing top of mind as I make choices and take action in the new year. Specifically, these are creativity, curiosity, learning, spirituality (universal connection), and integrity/loyalty. I recognize if I lose sight of these virtues I spiral away from my core, while aligning my life around them I experience greater joy and contentment. The macro resolutions listed above, if embarked upon with the correct intentions, fuel the virtues that most build and strengthen my character.
Everett, accept my letter not as counsel, but simply as words of a man who has lived, and yet not lived wisely enough. Experience is our finest educator if we commit to unraveling the wisdom weaved within. Take it upon yourself to craft resolutions that carry personal meaning, that require action toward the virtues that speak to you, that shape your experiences. They will build your character. Your virtues must fit like a well tailored suit. They must conform to your uniqueness, how you are measured, complying to your movements. The individual elements come together to create the whole man. Wear it with confidence, alter as you mature.