If you’re anything like me, chances are you make goals and resolutions regardless of the season. However, each new year can be a particularly good time to reflect on past behaviors and usher in a fresh start. Many typical new year’s resolutions revolve around fitness, professional achievement, and interpersonal goals. Yet perhaps a better place to focus on is the mind itself, the very core from which behaviors can be changed and new habits formed.
When’s the last time you’ve audited your own thoughts?
Thinking can be a lot like breathing and we may take for granted that the thought patterns we have are on autopilot. Ideas and notions, opinions and judgement, intentions and beliefs – all of these fall under the category of thoughts but they don’t all serve us in the best way. Before long, the thoughts that continue cycling through without a filter in place become habitual, perceived as true even, and start to shape who we are and how we interact with others. If we can’t manage our own thoughts, what hope do we have of accomplishing any worthwhile pursuit?
Vincit qui se vincit – He Conquers Who Conquers Himself
That’s why it’s important to take some time to evaluate your thought patterns and let go of what no longer enriches your life and that of others. One way to do so is by asking yourself basic questions about how you perceive yourself and the world around you. I’m of the firm belief that while we can often be a product of our environment growing up, we also shed certain skins and acquire others, sometimes without realizing it. Knowing why you think the way you do, why you act the way you do, can help reveal how you’ve changed in recent time and arm you with the tools needed to really be able to tackle goals head on.
While the list below is far from exhaustive, it can be used to start healthy introspection and lead to resolutions that dig deeper beneath the surface.
Some questions to ask yourself (and which have been on my mind):
- What is my inherent view of the world?
- What is my general view of my own life? (positive/negative? why?)
- Are the majority of my thoughts self-critical and/or critical of others?
- How often are my thoughts laced with gratitude?
- Do I feel safe? Am I usually anxious or on edge for some reason?
- Do I genuinely respect the people around me? (If not, why?)
- Do I somehow feel superior/inferior to the people around me?
- What opinions, judgments, and doubts routinely cycle through my mind about myself or others?
- How does my view of money affect my behaviors and how I view those more affluent/less affluent than me?
- Do I volunteer my time or give charitably to help others?
- How do I view those younger than me?
- How do I view the elderly? Do I spend time with the elderly?
- How do I view being alone with myself? Does it make me anxious? Is it something I enjoy?
- What do I enjoy doing?
- Am I comfortable in my own body?
- In what ways am I draining my own energy?
- Does the music I listen to and other media I consume reflect the values I want to portray or want to surround myself with?
- What am I afraid of?
- Do I live the kind of lifestyle I endorse?
- To what extent do I seek validation from others?
- Do I think for myself? Do I outsource the hard thinking to others?
- Do I act on my own convictions?
Your answer to these questions may lead to new goals you didn’t foresee or they may lead to no change at all. You may think there’s no need to adjust or perhaps you’ll find an area you neglected, or a new way you’d like to think about something. It all depends on your own paradigm and how honest you are.
See any questions that should be added or stick out as something relevant to your life? Comment below and I might explore it further in a future post!