For anyone who’s new year’s resolution has become a distant memory, perhaps the issue is more to do with where you started from than, rather than where you were aiming to get to.
We talk a lot about resolutions at this time of year, as if we have to fix something within ourselves; a judging voice inside us, telling us we are not good enough. Such a starting point is hardly motivational and its not surprising that we find that our resolutions dissolve before the new year has begun. A cycle of negative self-talk only compounds our sense of failure and gives us the impression that we cannot stick to anything and have no will power.
Resolutions come from a world of lack, they are borne from a view that we are unhappy with ourselves and that there is something implicit within us to be fixed. Our thinking, when we are resolving on an issue looks something like this:
I need to lose weight – I am fat and ugly (or worse unloveable)
I need to go to the Gym more – I am lazy and becoming a slob
I need to read more books – I am out of touch and becoming boring.
When we set resolutions like these, we start from a place where something is lacking in our essential make up and only by showing dissatisfaction with our current position can we move to a more satisfying one. The negative self-talk that drives these resolutions is hardly motivating, which is why we can run out of steam very quickly when we set them.
Setting intentions has a much higher chance of success. When we become intentional we focus on a motivating goal and put our energy into achieving it, without the negative self-talk that accompanies resolutions.
When we feel passionate and motivated to achieve something, we feel an endless flow of energy to support us, because passion is the very fuel of life. Intentions still drive us to make big changes, without the dragging and judging voice that is behind resolutions.
There is a general rule here that we can apply to any changes we wish to make in life: if we start any change by being more supportive and encouraging to ourselves, we can cope with setbacks and challenges we experience along the way in a constructive way and stay on course to achieve our goals.
So, if you are starting with a goal in your life that you want to achieve and you are struggling to do so, here are some things that might help you along a different path.
- Start by thinking about what is really motivating you towards your goal. For example if it is about losing weight, what is the reason why your current weight and body shape needs to change.
- Take some time to reflect and go inward and really listen to the reasons behind your need. As the thoughts start to take shape, notice if any of them are negative. If they are, just let them go and continue to allow a more constructive understanding of the need to emerge.
- If you hear ‘I’m too fat.’ ‘Nobody will find me attractive looking like THIS’, notice the thoughts as they arise and rather than letting them take hold – just say inwardly notice it and then allow it to pass.
- As you allow the negative thoughts to dissipate, stay in a quiet reflective mode until you hear more encouraging thoughts arise.
- These might sound something like ‘My health is important and I want to support it.’ ‘I’ll be able to do more for myself/ my kids/ with my partner, if I am slimmer’. These are thoughts without judgement but with clarity and if you remain inwards you will notice a lighter feeling in your heart and perhaps a little buzz of excitement as a level of motivation comes behind the thoughts.
- Go with it. This is the path to intention. And if you develop it in yourself and believe in it, you will succeed.
- When you are clear about your intentions, write them down in a journal. When we write down our intent, it has a powerful multiplying affect in our mind, allowing us to feel the reality of a goal, through the process of articulating it and recording it. It will also be a line in the sand that you can use to review your progress.
So if you need to re-visit your fading new year resolutions, do it today, but in a more mindful and intentional way. Try out the approach above and do let me know how you get on by leaving some comments below or emailing me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want more ways to become intentional, you can find more details in ‘Coming Home to You’ A handbook for personal transformation, available on Amazon.com.
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