New Year’s Resolutions are funny. I think most of us take on some sort of lifestyle change that we want to make, because the New Year seems like a new beginning. So it’s a good time to reset and refocus on establishing good habits and kicking out the bad. But they generally fail within two weeks of the start point, or quicker! So then you have a lot of self-help influencers telling you that New Year’s Resolutions are garbage, don’t do them because they’re going to fail. But what do they offer as a way to improve ourselves? A product that they are selling, or just a premium account to follow for more recycled advice?
This New Year, I encourage you to Resolve to continue your journey toward self-discovery. We started a few weeks ago with learning to breathe, and using that to learn focus. Then we moved on to witnessing our thoughts, and interdicting the negative thoughts that come up in our breathing practice. Now, after some increased skill in these practices, we’ll add another tool – that of ASKING QUESTIONS.
After completing a box breathing practice to slow down and quiet your mind, we’re going to ask ourselves some questions that will help create our personal vision of who we are, and where we are going.
Who am I? This is the most important question of all time. If you try to answer this question from your quick-thinking “monkey mind”, you will get weak answers. This is the seat of your ego, and asking your ego will generate responses of an outward nature. Answers such as I am 43 years old, a father, a CrossFitter, a Christian are all an aspect of you, but not the “real you.”
After you learn to connect with your Witness, asking the question “Who am I?” will generate absolute clarity on who you are and why you exist. Could there be any more important work for us to do in the world than figure this out?
To get more detail on your true self, just in case “Who am I” doesn’t do the trick right away, ask yourself these questions with a journal close by so you can jot down what comes up:
– What am I passionate about – what makes me feel most alive?
– What are my core values, or principles, that I stand by no matter what?
– Using the answers to the above as a base of understanding, what do I believe my purpose is in life?
In Unbeatable Mind training we call these questions the 3 P’s: Passion, Principles, and Purpose.
My own 3 P’s have evolved over the years and I review them each morning and go through this questioning exercise on a quarterly basis. As an example, here are my answers now:
My passions are Reading, Learning, Writing, Cooking, Teaching, Languages and Travel, Mental Toughness, Elite Warrior Cultures, Unlocking New Capabilities
My principles are Family, Laughter, Accelerated Growth, Physical Fitness, Mental Toughness, Emotional Control, Quiet Confidence
My purpose is to master myself daily through learning and tough challenges, so that I can serve others as a Warrior-Teacher
You can see that mental toughness permeated both my Passions and Principles, which informed me that my Purpose may have something to do with that. Reading, writing, and teaching to me are interconnected, and make me feel as though my true role in life now is as a teacher, and that what I have to teach may be related to my other passions and principles.
I find a tremendous amount of power and energy every morning from reviewing these lists which comprise my personal ethos, and use this to guide my daily plan of action. I also can tell by reviewing my ethos and my other daily tasks if there is something that seems out of alignment, and I examine that more and figure out if that is something I should not be doing.
If you’re following these practices on a daily basis, you will find some answers. Don’t worry if they don’t come right away, you can’t force or rush it. Just be open to what comes up. Part of the difficulty here is that who or what we think we are supposed to be has been conditioned by other people – most notably our parents – as well as the media and a lot of other influences. Another question you might ask is “who do other people think I am, or want me to be? Do I agree with them?” This is all up to you, and when you do find that kernel of truth and align your actions with it you will have so much clarity and peace of mind.
Please let me know if you’d like to dig into this further. We’re just cracking the surface here, and I can help you if you feel stuck and need some guidance on next steps.
Keep breathing, and keep practicing!