Evolutions Not Resolutions

The Frank Gehry-designed Google office in Venice, California. 

The Frank Gehry-designed Google office in Venice, California. 

Evolution (Webster’s): noun

(secondary definition) a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena



By this time of year, more likely than not, the shape of the New Year has already taken form in your life.


It probably looks a lot like it did last year.


Unless of course you have undertaken some hearty resolutions in 2016.


Then perhaps you are busy working out, eating vegan, meditating daily, starting your own company, volunteering, saving money, having fabulous sex and being on top of all of your email accounts.


No? Not really?


Yeah. Me, neither.


And that’s why years ago I gave up entirely on the whole idea of New Year’s Resolutions.


By this time of year – late January – I was back to my old ways, beating myself up because, once again, I had failed to live up to the promise of the earnestly made and sincerely hoped for resolutions.


All the guilt, blame and shame couldn’t get me to the gym when it was freezing outside or to reply to all correspondence in an efficient and orderly fashion.


Touch each piece of paper only once!

Reply immediately to all email correspondence in the order received!

File all bills and paperwork chronologically and pay upon receipt!


And when I looked up from my own messy pile of paper and electronic flotsam and jetsam, I noticed something else:


Most other people I know and admire don’t make - or keep - New Year’s Resolutions either.


So what gives?


Why do some people achieve and maintain a level of mastery and fulfillment in their lives, while others loll about wanting and resolving to make this the year that our dreams come true but never actually achieving it?


I am convinced that the difference between those that do and those that don’t has to do with who and what they are identifying with in each moment.


If I see myself as a small, separate little ego-based entity, it is hard to get traction on achieving goals. I might make plans, spreadsheets, to-do lists. But if I am identifying with the isolated “I” – and the scared, anxious and frightened states of being associated with it – it is almost impossible to create long-term sustainable change.


But when I begin to reflect on who and what I am being in relation to an experience, and how that being is manifesting in the world, all of a sudden the small, sustainable actions required to transform a life become not only doable, but meaningful, joyful and often fun.


One of the more interesting definitions of evolution touches on this inter-related nature of all phenomenon (what the Buddhists call dependent arisings or emptiness).


Think about it.


If you want to, say, write a book in 2016, you can think about wanting to say something to the world, and finally proving to your high school classmates that you are worthy, valuable and special and let your ego drive you to wake up at 4 am to write before going to a job you hate.


Or you can think about who you want to evolve into being in your life – perhaps a thought-leader or someone who has an impact on the world – and allow that state of being to pull you forward in your vision as you acknowledge the impact your own personal evolution has on the inter-related nature of all phenomena.


When you consider and reflect on who you want to evolve into in the coming months and years, something special happens. You fully harness the power not just of doing in the world – something most of us are pretty good at – but also fully maximizing who you are being, as the highest expression of your own potential.


And when you do that, not only do you begin to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions, but you also evolve into the man or woman you were always meant to be.


Want to explore New Year’s Evolutions even more in the coming year? Join me Friday, January 29th at the Google office in Venice for this community event and get started being the change you wish to see in your own life in 2016.