Let's Toss New Years Resolutions and Replace Them with A Willingness List

Let's Toss New Years Resolutions and Replace Them with A Willingness List

One of the key concepts in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is to give up avoiding our painful feelings and learn to embrace them, while learning to make decisions based on what we value. As I was working up a topic for the final Fox 4 Morning Show of 2019, I realized how New Years resolutions really get in the way of change. As I discuss in this interview, people are prone to make wishes rather than just be honest with themselves and say “I’d be willing to tolerate the discomfort making this change in my life is going to cause,” and admitting that they really aren’t willing to tolerate another change. The most important kind of willingness is acceptance of difficulty not like a stoic, head into the wind, never giving up, but as the Buddhist monk who says, “Pain in life is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

I suggest in this clip that we think of the the New Years resolution as a wish, like asking Santa for a gift on Christmas Day rather than deciding what we are willing to commit to doing, knowing the pain that goes along with doing even the most sensible, helpful, or healthy things. Think about it. If that weren’t the case, everyone would just get up in the morning, and spend the entire day doing the best things for them while ignoring all the bad ideas we come up with in or lives and then enact anyhow. And if that’s not the case for you, you have nothing left to change. Do a victory lap!

Happy 2020 to our readers, clients, staff, and community partners and supporters! And get to work in those willingness lists.

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