“When the student is ready the teacher will appear,” is a common phrase adapted from an ancient Buddhist Proverb. In cartoons gurus sit static perched atop mountains, visited by devotees who have braved the mountain hoping to receive a pearl of wisdom that will instantaneously enlighten and transform their life. In reality, I think, most sage advice comes to us casually and we don’t even notice or appreciate the proffered wisdom. (For more than 25 years my husband has been muttering, “If only I’d listened to my mother!”)
Last January I had the opportunity to appear on Star101.3’s Morning Show with Brianne Young and John Meaney to talk about the upcoming Bartender’s Ball (by the way mark your calendars for this year’s Ball on February 12, 2011). During the breaks we began talking about the New Year’s resolutions made about 3 weeks earlier and how so many people ‘fail’ at their resolutions within just weeks of the ambitious January 1st proclamation. John offered an alternative approach to resolutions. Decide what you want to change… but don’t actually start work on the resolution right away. Pick a date in the future, e.g., June 1st when you’ll actually begin the resolution. In the meantime totally devote yourself to preparing for this important change, and:
· Think about why you’re doing it.
· Think about how success will feel.
· Think about each little step you’ll take toward your goal.
· Think about the challenges and obstacles.
· Think about how if that obstacle cropped up today you’d find a way to still keep with the goal.
· Think about what you’ll do if you slip on the path.
· Truly consider if you really honestly want to work on this goal and if you’re not truly committed to working on the goal give yourself permission not to-- no one’s perfect! If you are still invested in this goal then make a commitment to yourself to be successful… and like a tri-athlete in training prepare yourself for the challenge and for the successful completion…
but don’t actually start ‘doing’ the goal until your selected date.
I hadn’t thought much about John’s words until the New Year approached again, when I reflected that perhaps I had stumbled upon a wise man on the mountain without realizing it. So this year, no last minute resolutions on December 31st (and no guilt on January 16th when I’ve already slipped irretrievably). I’m going to choose one change that will really make a difference in my life and 'try it on' until, say March 1st-- that’s my chosen start date.
And in my mind I’ll now forever envision John atop a mountain, enswathed in windswept robes, imparting wisdom through a large studio microphone, punctuated by the music of his amiable laugh. Stay tuned for part 2 in my next blog while I share his New Year’s resolution wisdom about failure-- ahem, “redefining success”.