Fight or Flight? Moving Past Our Fears

The new year is right around the corner and with January 2018 comes the dreaded new year resolutions.

Actually, I love new year’s resolutions.  But I also hate them.

They have this amazing ability to amplify where I suck at life.

Hear me out.  Resolutions are generally a trap because they are often vague and unattainable.  Take the famous “Lose weight” – what does that even mean?  If I lose 1 pound does it count?  If I don’t gain weight does that count?  And if I lose 5 pounds in January am I done?  As you can see…there’s nothing substantial about the resolution and without substance, it becomes this vague feeling that we are lacking or failing.

January resolutions are akin to a house full of “stuff” except our stuff is mental.  Reflection on resolutions fills our minds and calendars with fluff and distraction.

So what do we do instead?

We face our fears…

Close your eyes.  See yourself celebrating 12/31/2018 – what are you celebrating?

Now ask yourself “Why?”

Why are you celebrating?  What emotional tie-in or response are you feeling?

And now…How?  What steps do you need to take to make that resolution a reality?

Resolutions killed by fear.

Philosopher Matshona Dhliwayo once observed that “overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most.” And, Anais Nin wrote that “life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

In other words? Want to be set free from fear?  Then punch fear in the face.

But this… THIS is where most resolutions die – they die because they are afraid to live.

On Becoming a Writer

My 2018 resolution is a continuation of 2017.  At some point last spring I decided to write a book.  At the onset, for some absurd reason, I thought it would be easy. Ha ha ha.

I spent the summer and fall realizing just how hard it will be/is to make a dream a reality.

Part of my journey this year has been facing two of my deep-seated fears – firstmost, that I am not good enough.  And secondly, I’m not creative enough to be a writer.  The fears are intertwined with each other – and they both come down to “simply not enough.”

So while on one hand, zero progress was made on “a book” this year, on the other hand, I’ve grown tremendously as a writer and I have more clarity on what I actually want to accomplish.

In the spring, the resolution/goal was vague and technically I failed- at least as of today.  But the emotional tie-in for 2018 will be “because I want to face my fear.”  I want to accomplish something that scares me to death.  I don’t want to be afraid that I’m not enough any longer.

Morning Papers

I want the same things for you.  I’ve discovered The Artist’s Way this past month and I feel like I’ve met a kindred spirit.  While the book is geared towards artists, Julia Cameron insists that ALL OF US are creative beings and one of her exercises is what she calls Morning Papers.  EVERY single morning you get up and write 3 pages (yikes) of free flow thoughts.  It doesn’t matter what you write.  It doesn’t matter how neat or sloppy.  It doesn’t have to be the next American novel.  Just get thoughts on paper.

My challenge for you this week is to face your fearon paper.  Use the Morning Papers exercise and spend time writing everything that comes to mind.  And yes, do it every day for a week.  The discipline will be good for you.

AND then, do ONE thing—however small—that scares you.

You won’t die – I promise.

Finding yourself saying no way?
What we often resist is what we need the most.

Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.
– Ingrid Bengis

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Donna Matthews

Donna is a passionate soul eager to help others clear the chaos from their minds, souls, and homes with keep it simple, real life, productivity and organizational solutions.