You can almost feel it in the brisk January air: a wealth of potential energy, the strings of thousands of bows pulled taut before their arrows release. Resolutions abound as many sit poised, buzzing with ambition, ready and eager to make this year their best yet. It’s a hopeful time and one I love being part of. It’s also ripe for disappointment.
Too many of us put all our strength into the pull, all our concentration into the aim without first getting to the substance of the target itself.
What do you want?
The answers are common: “to lose weight,” “to eat better,” “to make more money,” “to get better sleep”…
Why do you want it?
Unless you’re sitting quietly outside as you contemplate the reasons for your goals, there should be no crickets as a result of this question. You need to ask yourself why. You need to get to the bottom of your goals. If you don’t, you run the risk of simply chasing a white rabbit, the capture of which is ultimate disappointment.
What is it about losing weight that you are truly after, for instance? Perhaps you want to look different, perhaps you want to feel different, perhaps you want to live longer, perhaps something different entirely. Which is it?
Answer that. Then keep going. If you answered that you want to look different, okay, then why? What will looking different change for you?
If you dig deep enough, if you keep asking the why, I guarantee you’ll see that what you’re ultimately looking for is happiness and the avoidance of suffering.
So then check your target. What did you see, what did you hear, what did you read that sparked your desire to take aim at your particular target, that made you believe this was the path there, the path to more happiness or less suffering?
Perhaps you saw some celebrity in some article (no doubt nipped, tucked, and Photoshopped but perhaps also legitimately healthy), and you got some glimpse into what you suppose is that celebrity’s happiness. They were, of course, smiling broadly or looking marvelous. Something in you said “I want that. I want that look. I want that happiness.”
But why? PSA: celebrities are not immune to suffering, depression, even suicide. You can be as thin as Lucy Gordon, as spunky as Amy Winehouse, as immensely creative as Chester Bennington, as rich and robust as Robin Williams, but it is no golden ticket to what you’re really, truly after. The human condition is much more complex than that.
So pull back the arrow, do. Muster all your strength for taking a new direction and making the world better. Take aim. Just pull back the curtain first and make sure you know what you’re aiming at and why. When you hit that goal, make it count.
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