Ben’s Thoughts on Resolutions and Goals

Neither Jerry nor I particularly believe in new year's resolutions. Resolutions rarely seem to work in practice. If a single application of willpower was all it took to make a change in our lives, we'd all do it every single time we noticed something not working as well as we'd like it to. "Goodness," we'd say. "I eat too many sugary foods. I think I'll stop." And then we would.

But life doesn't work that way, does it?

However, the idea of resolutions is wonderful. Both symbolically (a new year, a new beginning) and energetically (the winter solstice is energetically the moment of the yearly cycle's rebirth), the early days of winter are an excellent time to look ahead.

So in that spirit, we decided to write about goals to start the new year. Unlike a resolution, a goal, properly stated, offers us both a destination and a direction. It essentially creates a path, and then offers us a means to walk that path.

It's important that goals reflect the energy of the season. As Jerry noted, the winter solstice and the early days of winter, the short days and long nights, energetically harbinger a time of rest and reflection.

Of course, most of us do not live this way at all. In our culture, we generally treat every day as equivalent to every other day. We put out as much energy in the dead of winter as we do in high summer. Ever wonder why people tend to get sick in the winter? Getting out of sync with the energy of the season is a major factor.

So within this framework we can begin to talk about our goals for the winter. We'll speak specifically about our goals next week.

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