Monday, December 31, 2007

Resolutions for Type 6, and My Resolutions, But Not in That Order

Here are my resolutions for the upcoming year:

1. Clean countertops twice a week. Take dishes out of dishwasher when they are done, and then put clean dishes in, or wash dishes by hand. Keep inside of sink clean. Watch tv from couch, and put away air mattress (in the interest of decreasing clutter.) Take out trash once a week or more often. Take unread magazines to work. Continue getting rid of unnecessary objects. Organize kitchen cabinets. Check oil twice a month. Write these goals (e.g. clean the countertops on Wednesday) in Franklin Planner. Get new pages for Franklin Planner.

2. Don't eat candy. Make one large, healthy food dish each weekend (that I am in town.) Keep weight at current level or lower. If weight gets to a certain line on the scale, ratchet it back.

As you can see from the specific nature of the above two resolutions, I don't believe in just saying "lose weight" or "clean the house more," but in focusing on how specifically I can accomplish it. I have also purchased some great smelling Method products to help me enjoy the cleaning.

3. See Kathy more often. Put in Franklin Planner.

4. Be more responsible about giving gifts. Put in Franklin Planner.

5. Ask the doctor about my sleepiness. Get a mammogram this year. Put making these appointments in Franklin Planner. Start drinking a little less coffee. Drink decaf every other cup, or switch to tea. More exercise might help with the sleepiness.

6. Take the time to blow-dry hair with round brush.

Here are some other things I intend to do, that for one reason or another are not exactly resolutions:

1. Paint finger- and toenails. Watch seasons 2-4 of The Wire. Take books back to the library so I can start getting books out again. Consider getting a cell phone. These aren't resolutions; more of a to-do list.

2. Continue my studies and blogging. Teach Enneagram class. Continue current dating practices (i.e., Willing to go out; Willing to tell someone to take a hike, Not being attached to a particular outcome; Being happy to be alone.) Continuing current good practices is important, but clearly doesn't fall under the rubric of resolutions.

3. There are a couple work-related changes that are being made. These aren't resolutions because they've already been planned for some time.

4. Undoubtably I will flirt with various physical exercise regimens throughout the year. This is not a resolution because I do not have a particular plan in mind.

OK, now let's turn to Riso and Hudson, and see what they have to say for 6's. Will it be cleaning the countertops?

1. Learn to be more present to your anxiety, to explore it, and to come to terms with it. Work creatively with your tensions without turning to excessive amounts of alcohol or other drugs to allay them. In fact, if you are present and breathing fully, anxiety can be energizing, a kind of tonic that can help make you more productive and aware of what you are doing.

2. You tend to get edgy or testy when you are upset or angry, and you can even turn on others and blame them for things you have done or brought on yourself. Be aware of your pessimism: it results in dark moods and negative thought patterns that you tend to project on reality.

3. Sixes tend to overreact when they are under stress and feeling anxious. Learn to identify what makes you overreact. Also realize that almost none of the things you have feared so much has actually come true.

4. Even if things are as bad as you think, your fearful thoughts weaken you and your ability to change things for the better. You can't always manage external events, but you can manage your own thoughts.

5. Work on becoming more trusting. There are doubtless several people in your life you can turn to who care about you and who are trustworthy. If not, go out of your way to find someone trustworthy, and allow yourself to get close to that person.

6. Others probably think better of you than you realize, and few people are really out to get you. In fact, your fears tell you more about your attitudes toward others than they indicate about others' attitudes toward you.

7. You are highly responsible in many areas, but you can be afraid of accepting responsibility for mistakes. You may fear others will jump down your throat, but most people respect those who take responsibility for their actions, especially if they have made a mistake.

8. You want to feel secure, but this will never be possible unless you are secure with yourself. You need to focus on becoming more self-affirming -- developing a realistic belief in yourself and your own abilities. A good way to do this is by getting more grounded in your body and allowing your fretting mind to become more quiet. When this happens, you will naturally feel more confident and supported by life.

9. Examine your attitudes toward authority. Do you reflexively rebel and resist authority? Do you seek it out, hiding behind an "I was only following orders" attitude? For most Sixes, issues with authority are highly charged. The greater your awareness is of your unconscious attitudes in this department, the more you will be able to recognize the authority of your own inner wisdom.

10. Be fair with others and tell them what is on your mind, lest you appear indecisive or defensive. Any of the alternatives cause conflicts and tensions in your relationships.

11. Most of your issues have to do with finding reliable sources of guidance and support outside of yourself. It is good to remember that many of these sources can be useful up to a point, but none of them can provide the kind of unwavering stability and unerring wisdom you want. Only your true nature can give you a deep sense of solidity and capacity in the world, because only the spontaneous intelligence of your own soul can respond to each unique situation freshly. So be grateful for the many sources of support in your life, but lean on them less. You have within you everything you need to move through life with dignity and grace.

Wow, I'm really not feeling most of 'em. I trust others; I take responsibility for my mistakes. Becoming aware of projection and knowing what situations make me overreact are good ideas. I think that meditation (and other forms of spirituality) is the subtext for some of these (having read Riso/Hudson and met Hudson) and I am trying it, but I classify it under "continuing Enneagram studies" rather than an actual resolution.

But let's look at my actual resolutions. Two of them are, I think, related to 6 issues. I wonder sometimes why at my age I have not developed better cleaning habits. I have started to think it is related to the "you can't make me" theme of type 6, and it's pretty obviously related to type 6 dependency issues (i.e. I shouldn't have to do this for myself.) Also, the gift-giving: I have anxiety about gift-giving... I worry what if the person doesn't like it, and then it's a waste of money? (I have a 6-ish terror of wasting money sometimes.) Also, sometimes I worry that my gift won't be good enough for the other person. I also have a similar anxiety about receiving gifts... possibly even more anxiety, because if you don't like a gift you might have to pretend you do, and I hate to have to pretend. I have memories dating back to age 5 in which I got gifts I didn't like and felt sick about it. This Christmas I was feeling anxiety during the gift exchange, mainly about receiving them, because all my gifts this year were surprises. (I ended up liking them all -- luckily! They were great, actually.) So right there during the gift exchange, I did something Riso and Hudson suggest -- observe your reactions rather than "get on the train." And what I observed was something I've read in various places (including, I think, The Wisdom of the Enneagram) that one will observe, that right below the fear was sadness.

Another important aspect of resolutions is accountability; I will keep you updated on how I do. And yet another aspect is starting back when you inevitably fail (if, for example, you eat candy!)


Cindi said...

Um, I have a gift for you. It's just a little gift, and none too suprising. I hope you like it, but you don't have to pretend. Just say: Cindi, this sucks, and then I will give you cash. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Mary Beth,

I have a confession. I've been really looking forward to your "boring" resolutions. Thank you.

I like the resolutions that ya'll use. I make them all of the time. I just say "goals" instead of resolutions. I instantly think of the "I will lose weight this year" resolutions that people say time and time again when I hear the
r-word. Maybe I'll make my official list tomorrow instead of storing them all in my head.


Mary Beth said...

Hi Amy. I can't believe someone was looking forward to my "boring" resolutions. Did you find them boring?

I forgot to add one: organize the kitchen cabinets.

I will tell the story of the best New Year's Resolution I ever made and why it was good.

I have a life-long habit of reading books, but not so much watching tv. One year I noticed that although I almost never watched tv -- it never even crossed my mind to watch it -- that when I did, I was usually happy. So I made a long list of resolutions, all things to "do more" of, one of which was watch more tv. This was for the year 2000.

Well, a whole lot of good happened to me in 2000, including me doing a lot of the things on the list, and I became a whole lot happier, not because of the list per se. But I didn't watch more tv. Then at the end of the year, the second-most exciting television of my life came on -- the election of 2000! (It is edged out by the combo of Sesame Street/Electric Company, which taught me letters, to read, etc.) I watched the election every waking moment when I was not at work, and after the election was finally decided by the Supreme Court, there would have been a void in my life had I not continued with tv. Then I got a Tivo for Christmas. I have been really pleased to have tv into my life.

The reason this was a good resolution is it was watch more tv. For most people, that would be like saying eat more donuts -- not hard. I feel like a lot of times people make their resolutions too hard. Usually it's lose weight and exercise. My recommendation is that one should choose some fun resolutions like watch more tv.

Amy said...

I did not find your resolutions to be boring, actually. I find them practical and a reminder of some things I should do myself (e.g., check my oil. ummm.). They are specific, which is always great for goal writing. When working with clients, I teach them to write "SMART" goals- specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. You write along those lines so yea!

If you want to see boring, perhaps you should read my 3 page blog on my progress with owning less things/being less cluttered ( lol. Or not. That would be a long, boring read.

I hope you get good results from your doctor about your sleepiness. Two doctors told me I just work too much. The third, like 3 years later, noticed that my potassium level was freakishly low. I feel better now that it's within a normal range but like you, I'm thinking that more exercise might make it better. I'm also counting on water. Plus, it hasn't been normal long so maybe my body is just catching up. I want to have as much energy as a 4 year old, dang it.

Cindi said...

Hey Amy,
I checked out your blog. It seems like a great way to keep yourself focused on and accountable about your goals. I write my resolutions in the same notebook every year and that way I always look and see what did and did not get accomplished year to year. I saw that one of your goals is about learning to swim better. That's one of mine, too. Despite my love for the water, I'm not too comfortable in it.

Amy said...


How alarming that you aren't a better swimmer! That was a scary picture of you "almost drowning." When I think of water, I think of a scene in A Bug's Life. There's a light. The bug is attracted to the light so he flies closer and closer. He reaches the light and... it shocks him. I've almost drowned twice. I should work on this issue.

One of my friends got me to join 43things. Now, she rarely uses it. Oh well. It turns out that I enjoy it.