01/22/2016 05:55 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Avoiding Enantiodromia and a Serious Loss of Money

Around the new year, instead of asking, "What do you do?" I'm asked about my resolutions and the conversation centers on the meaningful changes we all want to have in our lives.

What a beautiful time to experience such collective positive energy. It's palpable -- like a race car driver waiting for the green flag to start: one foot on the brake, the other revving the supercharged engine as the crowd grows wild.

What I've struggled with, however, is that I work so hard at achieving goals that the year passes by in the proverbial blink of an eye. You know what I mean?


That's when we can enter what Carl Jung calls enantiodromia, aka mid-life crisis. One day, says Jung, after many years of working so hard that keeping busy becomes habit, we lift our heads up from work and realize time has seemingly flown by. And then we go selling all our stuff and buying that Tiny Home we saw on that Netflix documentary or empty the bank account with a spiffy new object.

If what we do every day is work so hard that we lose sight of the present, then we're missing the whole point. So, how do we "soak up the marrow of life" without being too focused on an outcome?

Practice and Non-Attachment

Practice intentions which could lead to the yearly goals on a daily basis. If you intend to be more mindful, then set up a daily meditation practice, join a yoga studio, or find a new church or mindful mastermind group that builds you up to be a better person. If you intend to attract a positive cash flow in your life, then set up a daily practice towards building passive income, mastering a skill that would increase your hourly freelance cost, or delegate more tasks to automation or a team of assistants so you can focus on expanding your business.

Dig deep into your practice. Work to achieve mastery. Just don't get too caught up in it.

Be non-attached to the goal. If you have a goal to make "X" amount of money this year, Patanjali reminds us to not be so attached to that number that it causes you to act in a malevolent way towards another person and be less humble. If you have a goal to lose 25 pounds by summer time, don't get down on yourself if you lose 20.

Treat the means to the goal (each day) with just as much love and appreciation as the intended outcome. Goals can help us drive forward and live out the greatest version of ourselves only when we're not blinded by them.

Perhaps attachment to resolutions and goals comes from a source of emptiness, as if we need a goal to feel a sense of being. This makes sense too, considering the overwhelming amount of messages that we get through media that tell us that our lives are not complete without a new gadget, a slimmer waistline, or more money.

If we allow this type of messaging to control our feeling of well-being, we're attached to the outcome that a goal may bring and we've already lost the whole point of setting goals. The point of setting goals is to build us to be a better person so we can live out the greatest version of ourselves, or as Abraham Maslow would put it "living self-actualized."

Note to Self: Practice. Practice. Practice. Just be open to spontaneity.


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