The Middle Ground

The creative way to enriching your relationship.

Can-do Spirit for the New Year!

Can-do Spirit for the New Year!

Q: What can make this year's resolutions more potent than ones not kept in the past?

stretching body and spirit
stretching body and spirit
google

A: Much more important than specific resolutions is the dimension of resolve behind them. So what's missing behind the resolve that allows resolutions to fall away?

How can we muster the courage to follow through and overcome the discomforts of the change process?

Whether you want to be a better communicator or leave off being a procrastinator. Whether it's losing weight or getting your heart into shape by a certain date. It could be you want to meet that someone for whom you long; or perhaps you need to bite the bullet and get rid of Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong.

Resolutions are guidelines that prompt you to hold fast, so that your goals turn into a series of manageable objectives. A resolution can serve as a jump-starter and also as a momentum-builder!

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Key Point; Success in achieving a goal is not an event. It's a process. Connect with the process: that's the key to achieving your goal(s).

Learning is the key: Success is about learning to succeed; that's what success is -- learning. And in following the learning curve to the pot at the end of the rainbow one must stand in awe of the arc - otherwise known as the learning curve. That's right, the arc of the rainbow, the one with all the colors you'll ever need, is your learning curve.

journal writing
journal writing
google

And all that brilliance, all the beauty, paradoxically, is about accepting the inevitability of learning from mistakes. Mistakes in all areas, including your relationship with your partner.

There's no way to pretty this up. Learning is messy because new learning has to be integrated into what has been known previously. And that causes the structure, or perspective, that you've already developed in understanding what you know to be reconfigured. For example, if you think you know you can't keep your resolution, you are going to have to unlearn that or - more to the point - teach yourself that the previous learning was inaccurate. Because you can do it!

Succeeding puts a lot of neurons to work. They had their place within your neural networks and now they've got to fit in differently. Oh bother. New learning puts old learning in a new context and the ways in which all the information is reconfigured is part of a process that is creative.

Learning opens you up to the unknown. It gives new meaning to ideas/ perspectives/ feelings you felt you were secure in knowing. There comes an instant in all learning processes - read transformation processes - in which nothing can be taken for granted. Everything feels new and is subject to reinterpretation. To paraphrase Bob Dylan, "You were so much older then, you're younger than that now."

New learning changes things in subtle ways sometimes, more radical ways at others. Reconfiguration entails internal flexibility. You look for something in your mind and it's not in the exact spot it once was - this game of neuronal musical chairs is an integral part of the learning process.

Trying to do without flexibility in learning is like viewing the rainbow minus one or another color-family. It's no longer the rainbow but only a part of the rainbow; it's a truncated learning process.

A learning process in which some of the most significant learning moments are culled from mistakes along the way validates the process as authentic; mistakes are the watermark of the real thing.

The To-Do: Take the list of your resolutions, or if you haven't made resolutions but want to work on your goals, write them down. Think of each goal and jot down the process that you associate with it. If you can't imagine the process the possibility that you will achieve this goal is going to be much more difficult than otherwise.

Food for Thought:  Learning from mistakes, earned wisdom, is part of what can make the difference between a shaky and a secure attachment bond.  

working on a plan
working on a plan
google

Remember, love and good feelings are plentiful yet elusive; I'll be around to help you locate and develop them in the Middle Ground.

 

Marty Babits is Co-Director of Family and Couples Treatment Service, a division of the Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City.

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