I lost 10 pounds and now my life is perfect … said nobody ever!
Well it’s that time of the year again. The “New Year, New You” advertisements will be flooding our media. Let’s talk about that….
It kind of goes like this doesn’t it… You have a couple too many cocktails. You make a bold public declaration to go to the gym every day, lose weight and end up looking like ______ (fill in the blank with the celebrity of your choice).
So far so good! You are the perfect example of dedication and discipline! Day 7, you haven’t missed a workout yet. Day 12, you are still going strong. Day 15 hits and it’s “hair wash day.” Who wants to ruin a perfectly good blow out? Not me. It's fine though. You can just go to the gym twice tomorrow and it still counts. Day 16 arrives and the cat throws up a hairball. Class starts in 15 minutes. What’s a girl to do? Well the hairball certainly can’t wait. It’s over! Day 17, cue the self loathing and shame.
Now, I’m being silly of course. However, this New Year’s resolution time is very often a time of self judgment. I do not mean to suggest that we should never try to improve. I, for one, am a self improvement junkie. However, I do want to take a look at why so many of us fail when it comes to New Year’s resolutions.
What about the old you?
I think it all begins with this “new you” attitude. What if you resolved to love the old you? Can each and every one of us improve? Of course we can. However, it may serve us better if we learn to improve from a place of love and acceptance versus a place of guilt and shame.
Do resolutions always have to be punitive?
So often these New Year’s resolutions involve taking away something that brings us joy.
I remember one year I had decided to make a resolution to dance more. That was it! I felt deep down in my heart that I work hard enough and always strive to do my best. Why then should I deprive myself of a single thing? I thought I had beaten the system. For a while I did just that. I danced a little more. However, just like every year in the past, that resolution also failed. How could that be? Let’s take a look…
Have you identified that which is truly important to YOU? Is it possible to connect with the process versus the result?
If you continue to set intentions that never manifest, is it possible that the ideals that you are seeking are not necessarily in alignment with what is truly most important to you? Maybe take this year to really tune into the subtle aspects of what you are feeling throughout the day, week or month. Resolve to make this the year that you discover what truly makes you feel whole. Break experiences down into their component parts a little more and really examine them. When you are feeling joy, what in particular is bringing you that feeling? When you are feeling upset or angry, exactly what is contributing to that reaction? Look for subtle commonalities or themes in your life and put that information to work. Then, if or when you feel it is time to make a change, it will truly be coming from your own heart versus a societal ideal.
Won’t be satisfied until you are a great success? This time of year just makes you feel like nothing ever goes your way?
Can you understand that if you seek to live a life that is healthier, fuller, more successful or more joyous you must accept that certain principles will need to be embraced in order to achieve the life you desire? Health, wealth, love, success and joy all come from a place of gratitude. Our primary expression of this love and gratitude is self love and acceptance. Maybe choose to really examine the manner in which you think about yourself or talk about yourself? Can you bring some awareness to the stories that you are telling yourself as they are likely the first thing that is blocking you from receiving the life that you desire?
Can you wrap your head around the concept that joy precedes success, not the other way around? This may be an idea that you are in agreement with but have not yet internalized. Perhaps you still believe that after you achieve your goal, you will be happy. If either one of these scenarios describes your thought process, I’d like to suggest you read, The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. Here you will find countless examples of the power of joy and gratitude. You will see how a positive mindset actually affects your reality. You will be presented with research that demonstrates how the formula of, “hard work results in success and success equals happiness” is actually backwards.
So what are you going to resolve to achieve this year?
I personally would love to hear us all say, “This year I resolve to investigate. This year I resolve to learn more about myself. This year I let go of a specific result in favor of accepting what I am meant to receive. This year, I trust that I am the right path for me right now.”
I’d like to share two books that may help get you started on your journey.
The first book is How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t: 14 Habits that Are Holding You Back from Happiness by Andrea Owen #ad https://amzn.to/3Erq9PG . Admittedly, I purchased this book because I’m a sucker for a book that has a swear word in the title. Something about that really cracks me up. Upon reading it, I was pleasantly surprised. This book exceeded my expectations. It is light, funny and chock full of pearls of wisdom!
The second book is the one mentioned above. The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor #ad https://amzn.to/30P2gUb . For those of you who like to read books that are more based in science, you will find this one filled with fascinating research on how one’s mindset is a key factor in success.
Wishing you all joy in the New Year!