As the year comes to a close, our thoughts naturally turn to hopes and dreams for the New Year. However, in my humble opinion, we’ve been going about this resolution thing all wrong.
Long lasting change rarely happens from a punitive place, yet that’s where most people come up with their goals for the New Year. “I really need to (fill in the blank)…” Exercise, eat better, call my parents regularly, spend less, save more, lose weight, etc.
Approaching it this way puts the focus on what you’re not doing right. If thoughts really do become things, it’s no wonder you’re screwed. Besides, who gets motivated from being beaten down? Not this girl.
Before even thinking about New Year plans, I like to first reflect on accomplishments from the past year.
Here are some examples from my 2012 list to give you an idea of what I mean:
- Taught a weekend workshop at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
- Spent a lot of time in nature
- Hired a virtual assistant
- Deepened some important friendships
- Reached out for more help and support than ever before
I recommend including no fewer than 10 successes. Taking stock of the treasures and lessons from the previous year helps me to see that I’ve accomplished a lot more than I often remember.
Instead of focusing on any resolutions yet to be fulfilled, I give myself this pat on the back. Everyone likes to be seen and acknowledged, right? Going back to the idea of our inner child, wouldn’t she be much more likely to join forces with me if I take the time to congratulate her and us?
After my “Hell, Yeah!” session, I then look forward to the New Year. But instead of resolutions, I make a list of new things I want to try. This list, unlike most resolutions – or the new euphemism: “intentions”- is positive and enticing.
Here are some examples from my New Adventures list for 2013 (again, shoot for 10):
- Zip lining
- Visit a Toastmasters meeting
- Hike at least one of New Hampshire’s 4,000-footers
- Take a cooking class
- Camp in the White Mountains
By making the exploration of things outside of my comfort zone my mission, I’m gently (and sometimes not so gently) living in my stretch zone. And as I’ve said before, that’s where the magic happens.
The more I visit my stretch zone, the more apt I am to make moves on any type of “resolution” I would’ve come up with. Stick with me here…
Because I feel plugged in and engaged in life by trying new and different things, I’m letting my inner little one have some fun, and, consequently, feel more confident. This keeps the two of us connected, and together, we can take on the world!
By making these fun plans, I’m inviting her to live out loud and not constantly reminding her of where I think she’s not good enough (which, by the way, is precisely what resolutions do). The bonus? She’s much more willing to play big with me in my business and life.
Instead of setting up all of these adult expectations and societal definitions of success, resolving to add more play into life is something she can get on board with. She then trusts me more, I have more fun, we both feel more confident, as a result my business flourishes, as do my relationships and my happiness. Sounds like a win-win-win-win to me!
Give it a go. I’d love to hear what some of your successes were in 2012. And what new things would you like to try in 2013? Let’s continue our conversation in the comments section below.