“To thine own self be true.” – William Shakespeare
A new year is usually a time for new beginnings. It’s the time of year when the well-intentioned make New Year’s resolutions they end up breaking by February. Each year, I usually join a gym (or pledge to start going to the one at which I am already a member), join a dating website (or log back on to the one on which I am already a member), promise to finish my memoir (this deserves its own blog post; keep hope alive), lose 20 or 30 pounds (this number has now increased to 50 pounds), write “thank you” and “request” letters to God (a tradition I began with Granny; I still need to do this because Granny would be mad if I didn’t), and make a long list of other things I will start or stop doing (I can’t seem to find last year’s list). But, my track record is pathetic. I never met a New Year’s resolution I didn’t break.
This year, I made only one New Year’s resolution: to be honest with myself. To be honest about the people, behaviors, things and activities I like and dislike. To be honest about what’s important to me and about the things I couldn’t give two cents about. To be honest about how I want to be treated. To be honest about why I have or have not achieved certain things in my life. To be honest about my faults and flaws. To be honest about my strengths and blessings.
All other goals flow from our ability to first be honest with ourselves. How honest we are with others; the types of relationships we have and the integrity of those relationships; the goals we set and achieve; the type of life we lead; what we accept or refuse to tolerate in life; and the degree of harmony between what we feel and how we live – all of these are influenced by how honest we are with ourselves.
I’ve often been dishonest with myself for various reasons – because being honest meant hurting someone’s feelings or upsetting them; rocking the boat; or living below others’ expectations of me. But, I’m not living my best and most authentic life if my words and actions don’t match my feelings and thoughts. Being dishonest with oneself is also quite exhausting.
I got a head start on my honesty revolution by breaking up with one of my two gyms on New Year’s Eve (had to beat the automatic membership renewal clock). Yes, one of two gyms. Let’s be honest: in the past year, I have gone to the gym exactly two times – once to join and once to work out with a friend. Let’s be even more honest: I’m giving my gyms free money each month, I still haven’t dropped those 20, 30 or 50 pounds, and I have no intention of (or interest in) going regularly. Besides, walking my dog Buster counts as exercise. I resisted the gym manager’s attempts to convince me to keep my membership or at least freeze it until I become more motivated in the future. Honesty check: I haven’t been motivated to go to the gym since 2002, with a gym binge once or twice since then.
Being honest with myself just gave me an extra $100 in my bank account each month. Next up: cancelling my membership at Gym Number 2 (baby steps, folks).
Cheers to the honesty revolution! How will you start being more honest with yourself?