How does a person’s belief system drive New Year’s Resolutions? Most people do not dwell on the core of “what makes me tick.” For the majority of us, finding our “true” belief about any particular thought/reaction/wish is a jumbled task. Our mind wants to jump around and offer a lot of unsystematic information.
Focusing for longer than a minute on ONE sustained thought takes the steadied mind of a very practiced meditation master.
Einstein is quoted as having said that if he had one hour to save the world he would spend fifty-five minutes defining the problem and only five minutes finding the solution.
So how do I, the common person, go about defining my “problem?” How do I begin to find my way through my mind’s maze of derailments and prejudices? How the heck do I stay focused long enough to figure it out?
Here are two little exercises that might be of some help for those of us who have “monkey minds” when it comes to focusing. And, the labyrinth offers some clues as to our own internal mystery of “who am I, really.”
Number One: Determining (Ir) Rational Beliefs:
A) State Initial Belief or Feeling:
B) Then start writing down the following statements until you can go no further:
If this is true, what does it mean to me? Why would it be upsetting?
Here’s an example of how to use this little formula:
(From an adolescent) My belief is: I have to get through high school, even though I hate the classes.
If this is true, what does it mean to me? Why would it be upsetting? I don’t like school, except for being with my friends.
If this is true, what does it mean to me? Why would it be upsetting? If some of my friends quit school, I don’t know if I’ll keep going.
If this is true, what does it mean to me? Why would it be upsetting? If I don’t finish school I won’t be able to get a job, my parents will be mad at me.
If this true, what does it mean to me? Why would it be upsetting? I need to be able to get a job and I don’t want my parents mad at me.
If this is true, what does it mean to me? Why would it be upsetting? I need to go finish school even if some of my friends don’t. I have to do this for me, even though I don’t like high school.
If this is true, what does it mean to me? Why would it be upsetting? For who I want to be, I will finish school and get a good job.
As you can see, this adolescent goes from relying on friends to keep him in school, to looking at the belief that staying in an completing school is something that is meaningful to him. He is no longer dependent upon his friend’s actions to determine his own actions.
Number Two: Defining of Who I am by Who I am NOT:
List Three aspects of your core being that you are NOT:
Here’s an example:
- I am not a thief.
- I am not a pessimist.
- I am not one who seeks revenge.
Defining who we are NOT, often helps us understand our deeper held values of who we are and who we would like to aspire to. This little list can be quite powerful, in providing each person with their own scripted values to adhere to.
So perhaps, when thinking about and making New Year’s Resolutions, taking into account our basic, core values within our BELIEF System will help individual goals to go forward, beyond the month of January. Those 55 minutes of “problem solving” and 5 minutes of solution seem to be well worth the hour of effort.
Here’s to wishing you a Happy New Year, with increased knowledge of self and the ability to follow through with your Beliefs, set into actions.
Be gentle with yourself and those of us who aren’t perfect, yet.