“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.” -Mary Anne Radmacher

I never had babies that slept. My second child was awake every night for two years. I was so exhausted by the time the third and fourth babies arrived that as soon as they hit their six month birthday, where I esteemed them safe to sleep through the night alone, I delivered them to their crib and bid them goodnight. The question was not up for discussion, there was no negotiation to be had, there was not a shred of doubt in me about our collective need for sleep and they knew it. Even little babies know a mother’s resolve and don’t argue it. This was a hard won lesson that I earned over 600 sleepless nights of trying to convince myself that my son didn’t really need me to sleep.

Finding unquestioning resolve is the rocket fuel for life changes. It is usually hard won, as was my determination for sleeping through the night. It is deeply motivated by a drive that goes deeper than desire. Unwavering resolve not only moves us from internal dissonance to consonance, like it does in musical compositions, the intention creates an inner harmony with how we want to live.

I used to teach goal setting skills to a bunch of entitled phone company employees who were dissatisfied with their work but unwilling to give up the benefits for a life they really wanted. Many people approach goal setting this way and it is no wonder that most New Year’s resolutions die early. Embracing change of any kind is an inside job and requires a willingness to give up something that the discarded behavior provided.

I missed the idea of having the baby in bed with me when I first moved him into his crib, but I knew that I would lose it if I kept not sleeping. The trade was easy. It seems like most of the things we want to trade – losing weight or quitting smoking or drinking should be a no brainer. Many bad habits that we say we want to let go of have significant payoffs and sometimes our identity is deeply connected to the habits.

This year when I started the positivity quest, I knew that finding a positive relationship to my life was the only choice I had to make. I had spent 48 years discovering all the ways that my negative belief systems kept me from achieving what I most wanted and kept me safe from the feared disasters I long associated with happiness. The resolve was easy and although the work has been long, I am so grateful for the courage I had to start it.

Start with an intention that has no doubt and see how far it will take you when you let it lead you.