Happy New Year! Even though the only thing that happens from December 31 to January 1 is that we go to bed and wake up to a new day, just like the other 364 days, for many there’s a different energy to it. And so, many of us (myself included) may become reflective and choose to engage in some form of New Year’s goals, New Year’s intentions, or New Year’s resolutions.
The bummer is that studies show that New Year’s resolutions have about a 92% failure rate. And, 66% of that failed 92% end up in the tank in the first month! There are a few reasons for this:
- The goals we set are usually unachievable.
- The goals we set are usually a lot about what we think we SHOULD be doing, instead of about what we WANT to be doing.
- The goals we focus on have the least power to change our lives.
Can you imagine if you interviewed a business coach, or a basketball coach, and they told you that their methodology failed 92% of the time? “WHAAATT!??” Exactly. That coach would never get hired. Yet we keep engaging with the same massively flawed process every January, thinking it will bring more joy, prosperity, and satisfaction to our lives. And THEN we feel lousy about ourSELVES when our resolutions aren’t realized.
Let’s hit the re-set button.
Last week, I offered up a few simple questions that you could ask yourself if you were interested in getting the juices rolling for New Year’s Intentions that could actually have the power to improve your life experience (and isn’t that what we’re all really after?!?):
Set The Stage
- What did I do, create, or experience in 2016 that I feel really awesome about?
- Which mistakes that I made this past year offer me a goldmine of learning?
- What am I willing to release or re-hab? Meaning: what…beliefs, items, relationships, choices, ways of responding, etc…am I willing to let go of, or re-engage with in a new way, that don’t serve me anymore? What am I holding on to that’s actually holding me back?
That last question is a reaaalllly important one. It can seem counterintuitive, but the best way to make room for new awesomeness in your life is to pay attention to what needs to be let go. If you want a new couch, but your living room is still taken up with the old couch…well…you kinda need to make room for the new couch by letting go of the old one. Our lives are similar to that. Sometimes we cling on to things that have long since stopped working for us. Humans are funny. We’re more comfortable with something that’s known and kinda lousy, than something new and unknown.
Select Your Main Focus Area(s)
As you ponder what helped you feel like a rock star in 2016, which mistakes offered awesome learning, and what you want to let go of, there are several main focus areas that your New Year’s intentions can work to improve:
- Home & Possessions
Be Specific Where It Counts
People will often make resolutions like “lose weight” (self), “earn a promotion” (career), or “save more money” (finances). First off, none of those resolutions are specific enough to get traction. “Lose 20 pounds in 3 months” or “become Managing Director of Awesomeness at a kick-ass non-profit” or “save $500 a month” are specific. And, because they’re specific, this allows us to create habits (where the real magic happens) to work toward those intentions.
Note there’s a nuance here. “Practice meditation every day” is specific, but you’re likely better off with a slightly broader intention of “create a daily stress management practice.” This way, if meditation turns out to not be your thing, you can have the flexibility to try other things like yoga, exercise, or deep breathing to bring your intention to life. Notice that each of the 3 specific examples I gave above have a multitude of ways they could be accomplished!
Don’t Overlook the “Squishy” Area
In addition to most resolutions not being specific enough, a focus area that often doesn’t get much attention is relationships. Folks, THIS is what usually lends to a really awesome life experience, or a really lousy one. It’s the company we keep, and then how mindfully we’re tending those relationships. Gobs of people want to lose weight, but if they have a difficult relationship with a child, spouse, or business partner, will weighing 10 pounds less really bring them the joy & satisfaction they’re craving? Likely not.
“Laurie Warren, how on earth do you make a New Years intention about relationships?! That sounds squishy to me.”
I know that can seem elusive, but really it’s just like anything else. “I will connect with my brother twice a month.” “I’ll do a non-technology activity with each of my kids once a week.” “I’ll stop using language that belittles my partner, and if I DO use it, I will point it out, own it, and apologize.” No need to over-commit. Pick ONE relationship that you want to improve & strengthen and then make small, manageable, consistent moves to make that happen. Once it becomes habit, you can focus your creative energy on a new relationship intention.
Be Clear About Your Almighty WHY
Finally, WHY you want to do something is monstrously important. Whatever you commit to, be incredibly clear about WHY it matters to you AND what you’re willing to put up with to make it happen. Your intention must be aligned with your values, and have deep personal meaning for you in a way that you connect with it on an emotional level. If your intention doesn’t come with a big, burning WHY, you’ll find it in the toilet bowl along with the others in the 96% failure rate.
- Celebrate what you loved, and felt proud of, in 2016.
- Reap the benefit of “lessons learned,” where mistakes led to Wisdom.
- Discover what needs to be let go.
- If you want to create intentions, choose the focus areas that’ll create the most joy, prosperity, and satisfaction.
- Be clear about WHY you’re choosing an intention.
- Be specific and decide which habits will support your intentions.
- Be realistic and consistent, and be KIND & GENTLE with yourself as you move toward growth & JOY.
Here are some tips that work for me and many of my clients:
- Keep your intention list small.
- Only allow things that truly matter to you on to your list (not things you “should” do).
- Allow plenty of room for the creative and surprising forces of life to decide HOW things will happen.
Wishing you health, love, joy & abundance in 2017 and beyond!
Create Vibrant Health: BodyMindSpirit®
With love & joy,