Posts Tagged ‘Metamorphosis’

metamorphosisThe start of each year is when we hear much about resolutions and goals for the new year.  I’ve shared with you my goals for 2013 categorized by body, mind and spirit.  I’m sure you’ve had conversations with others about your goals and/or theirs.

Some have an aversion to the word “resolution” and clearly state that they don’t make resolutions.  I’ve never quite understood the aversion to doing so unless they are operating from a wildly different definition of “resolution” that I am.  It just means to resolve or determine to do something, so why the aversion?  Many will just use the word “goal” instead.  Some will use them interchangeably.

I heard one person on the radio this week describe a resolution as that which is the broad objective that then must be broken down into various goals.  His example was having a resolution to be the best dad possible, with a goal of spending quality one-on-one time daily with his children.

Frankly, it matters not to me which word you use – resolution, goal or something else.  That really isn’t important.  The point of the whole thought process and consequent actions is to get something done, to accomplish something, to make a positive change, etc.

We hear a lot at the beginning of the year related to fitness goals.  We see fitness center memberships and activity soar early in the year, only to typically trail off to previous levels of activity within a couple of months.  You won’t have to search Google very long to find articles about how to keep your New Year’s resolutions, how to reach your goals, or how difficult some find it to do so.

It seems we lull ourselves into thinking that just because the clock struck midnight on January 1 to ring in the new year, we are somehow magically and instantly a different person than we were the previous year (or the previous day).  It’s as though we say, “Yesterday, I didn’t have the resolve to eat right, exercise more, spend more time with family, read more, give more, etc., but now that the calendar says it’s 2013, I am a new person!”

I don’t think it’s quite that easy or instantaneous.  The change of a calendar doesn’t guarantee a change in you or your resolve to do something.

If we are to keep our resolutions and reach our goals – especially ones that have escaped us year after year in the past – then something else has to change.  Something inside us has to change.  Otherwise, after a few weeks of energy and enthusiasm the old self will just take back its presumed rightful place in the driver’s seat and take us down that same ol’ path we’ve traveled way too many times before.

To come back to the radio guy’s distinction between a resolution and a goal, I think he’s on to something.  In his example, if he really does want to be a better dad, then surely there is nothing that can easily erase that desire.  It is a core principle that he wants to live out in meaningful ways.  For the person who knows his/her health habits are detrimental long term, is there a real, heart-felt desire to be healthy and take care of one’s body for the benefit such health will bring for yourself as well as others?  If so, and that desire is central to how you see yourself as a person with a purpose, then why would you allow anything to stop you from taking action toward success?

Many reading this may have a hard time understanding how people don’t make and reach goals.  Some who are very task oriented just find it natural to set such goals, carve them up into little bite-sized pieces and tackle them until done.  I happen to be in that crowd more often than not.

Others, for whatever reason, tend to struggle with such efforts.  Perhaps they rely more on how they feel at the moment than on keeping the bigger picture in mind.  “Oh, I’m tired.  I think I’ll skip the gym today.”  Then one day skipped becomes two, then three, and the habit dies.  “I know I shouldn’t eat this pint of ice cream, but I’ve had a really hard day and I deserve it.”  That won’t end well, either, after several “deserved” breaks from the stated goal show up on the scale.

My point is simply this – more than the calendar must change if you are to make significant improvements in your life this year.  Those changes are largely internal, but can certainly be accompanied by helpful external, environmental changes that you find motivating and beneficial.  External changes alone won’t change who you are at your core and won’t overcome an inner voice that gets louder and stronger and fights against the changes that you say you want.

Even if many of your goals relate to external things that can be counted, measured, weighed or timed, make sure you begin the change from the inside where it counts the most.  I can’t tell you exactly what that should be, since I am not you, but you probably have a good idea, yourself.

Metamorphosis happens from the inside out.

Most of us are familiar with the metamorphosis that transforms a caterpillar into a butterfly. The transformation is frequently used as a metaphor for other such transformations, not limited to actual biological changes.

The thought comes to mind because of what my wife and I now experience regarding a kitchen remodel underway. Since Thursday and for a large part of the next three weeks, the contractors have blocked off all access to our dining room and kitchen from that floor of the house. To get to those rooms or to the basement, we have to go in the back door of the house. We are thankful the weather isn’t too bad this winter, because we have to go outside and around the house just to move between rooms we frequent.

This is an obvious inconvenience for the next three weeks as that area of our house goes through the most significant metamorphosis it has experienced in its 70 years. But the inconvenience will be forgotten and replaced with joy when the barriers come down and we start using our new kitchen and dining areas.

Metamorphoses can be just as disruptive but for the better in other areas of daily life. Changing from familiar business processes we are comfortable with to better ones always meets with resistance because many people just don’t like change. Having a willingness to face the risk of uncertainty in relationships in order to get to a deeper level is a frightening thing, but can pay off forever in the end. Being open to constructive criticism from others in order to mature is never pleasant in the moment, but appreciated after the fact.

According to the Wikipedia entry on metamorphosis, it is “usually accompanied by a change of habitat or behavior.” In the case of our kitchen, that is quite literally true – we await the change in habitat. But in more significant, internal matters, the transformation should result in behaviors changed for the better.

What form of metamorphosis do you need internally or in your environment? Are you willing to undergo the challenge of a season in order to wind up at a better place? Leap year lesson #50 is Metamorphosis is radical and wonderful.