So, a New Year has arrived again and everyone or almost everyone puts in place a list of resolutions he or she would like to address in the next 12 months. Maybe it concerns weight or spending, or eating, or a job search or relationships, whatever the focus, it's not the resolution that is difficult to come up with, it's the maintaining it. I find resolutions very interesting, because really, we can start them at anytime of the year, but for some reason, the New Year gives us a reason to begin again. The holidays are behind us and a brand new year awaits our energy and ideas.
I've chosen not to write resolutions anymore. I write the year's past accomplishments, and I begin a new journal. I can't say enough about the power and process of a creative journal, but I will try.
I began keeping a journal, which I called a diary, at a very young age. Mostly, I wrote what I did that day, and what I was going to do the next day. And maybe a few notes about my friends. But, I didn't go into my deep thoughts and feelings or ideas about my life. I saved that for later. My mother kept a daily journal, and I am sure she is the reason I've chosen to keep a journal today. I'm not sure where or when the first diary/journal was written, but I'm sure Anne Frank might have had something to do with the concept, or maybe not.
Why do I keep a journal? I keep a creative journal, because it is an outlet for me. It is a place to create, reflect, vent, make sense out of my life, explore, draw, and meditate. Lately, I've been drawing mandalas in my journal that reflect the mood I'm in that day. I draw images of problems I'm trying to figure out or relationships that baffle me. I write when I'm feeling good and when my mood drops. I write to get things off my chest and to process my feelings.
Back to the New Year's resolutions and how we can journal our way through our process. So, you've decided to stop eating sugar this year and on Valentine's Day all you see are dark chocolates every where you look. You remind yourself you're not eating sugar, but you also remind yourself dark chocolate has lots of antioxidants in them...But you've made this promise to yourself or, should I say, resolution. Then you think, one chocolate is not going to kill me. I have a feeling breaking the resolution promise begins with one sneaky chocolate and then another and before long we've given up the resolution. Maybe if we had written about that first temping dark morsel, we'd be able to make sense out of our need to give into it. maybe if we journal about the thoughts that were driving us to just have one, we could process what was actually happening when we decided to give in. Not that having that one chocolate is a bad thing, but the question becomes, now where do we go with the promise we made to ourselves? I'm suggesting that our journals can be used to process the trials and tribulations of resolution keeping. We can collage in our journal the resolution process. On one side what the resolution is and on the other side what gets in the way of following through with it.
It is not whether or not we keep our resolutions, but rather understanding why we made them and what gets in the way of maintaining them. Here, on the blank pages of our journal, we can reflect on whether it is truly a behavior change we want to make or just a passing idea. Whatever, our journal can provide us with an outlet to make sense of why we can or cannot keep our resolution promise and actually be a support system for us. I do suggestion keeping track of your successes as well as your challenges with maintaining your New Year's resolutions.
May you be the change you'd like to see.