In the weeks leading up to and after each New Year, we talk a lot of Bull, things like, "This is my year," and "I'm finally going to start a gym routine," and "I will get a better job, woman, and / or life" - you fill in the blanks.
So you have your Resolutions. So what do you think is going to happen? In an age of immediate gratification, it would follow that you look to outside things, people and places to validate you to be happier, fit, richer, or more likable. Wouldn't it be cool if on December 31 you stated what you wanted and on January 01 it just happened that way? Oh baby, that would be like your favorite sauce on the meat at the barbecue. Well, that’s what your culture or conditioning will tell you is how you should expect it to happen: It’s like you are making an online mail order purchase and having UPS put it on your doorstep in less than 24 hours.
Yet by just stepping back and looking at that whole idea of Resolution Fulfillment. . . . Well, it does not seem to work that way. You see, our expectation of how it is supposed to work are more in keeping with how we are wired rather than what generally happens. So looking at your habits and / or conditioning, are you really geared up for success?
In considering making resolutions you may want to start with an inventory of your internal thoughts, feelings, and conversations on getting what you want before we speak one more word about moving towards desired improvement.
Not playing with a conscious deck could be the reason why resolutions evaporate before the end of January. People seem to slip into routines of an automatic coma about living life. A coma from conscious direction, and when something goes wrong, well, they will say, “that’s just how life is.” Your inner critic (sometimes referred to as a conscience) - call it whatever, but at some point, this creep then creeps in and says, “You failed before. Why even bother?" or “It didn’t happen, and, therefore, you’ve failed, again,” and we believe the bullshit. The inner critic says stuff like – “Hey, no one’s helping, they don’t like me because. . . .”, and "Bad things will happen if I try things a different way."
Even though you set the goal or got that gym membership, you can fall into your habitual coma and eventually go back to Computer Gaming, or Netflix marathons, and pizza with beer binges, because it is seemingly easier. But what if you told that internal critic to piss off? What if you stopped listening or changed the conversation entirely? What if you could state your intentions better and have a backup plan for when this inner asshole feels the need to tell you that you suck at life?
Fortunately, all of this is possible if you are willing to do more than just saying what you want and then not doing it. An example of this kind of change would entail you saying you want a better body and then not going straight back to the loving embrace of your couch and beer; instead, you become conscious of diet and do exercise.
I say let’s do something different. I suggest putting down that slice of pizza and going to your keyboard to type this out. But even better is getting a journal, paper, and pen, and write this down:
“Intentions Are Better Than Resolutions.”
Got that? Good - now, moving on. Below are three steps for you to consider and get busy with. I call it a three step recipe for “Doing It Right In 2016.”
1. I suggest a recall of the last year, doing an inventory and review – shine a spotlight on last year’s resolutions - your goals, purpose, desires. In reviewing the year, what did you do those last six months to accomplish any of it? Rate your performance. This could include finally achieving a goal you'd been working toward, etc., finding a way to laugh when things got hard, or recognizing an accomplishment you helped another achieve that you are proud of. Was there something that was an eye opener for you, where you took a different approach than you usually would? Did that turn out for the better or worse? Would you use that same strategy next time?
In this list, there could be disappointments; if so keep them limited to only three to five from the past year. Look at anything that you wish would've gone better - whether you had control over it or not. Really think about how you could have approached the situation in a different way or perhaps handled the outcome more constructively. Disappointment is not all bad as long as you learn from it.
Now reviewing last year should give you the knowledge of whether you're all talk, half-assing it, or have been fooling yourself. It is a good idea from time to time to take a look at your list, decide - Are these the things you really want as drivers for your life? Is there something you want to add or subtract from this list? Is there some goal on that list that didn't seem to fit? If the goal does not meet your expectation, ask yourself why and, if it's a "distraction" from the things you really feel strongly about, take action on it, chuck it out, or find someone who can mentor you to the desired result.
2. In setting your intention, be realistic. Do not make it so unattainable that you set yourself up for failure. If you're unsure of your goals or feeling not up to the challenge of all of them, then pick just three to begin.
Grab that journal now and in it you will write your intentions, one page for each intention, for each one will need its own page. Include on each page a sentence that starts with the phrase - "I intend to _______. And I am worthy of this."
Now on the flip side of each intention page, at the bottom of the page, I want you to write something that may seem like a lot of mumbo jumbo, but go with it, because it is something that can help finalize your intention for you. It could be as simple as saying – ". . . and so it is"; ". . . amen"; or ". . .it is done," etc. - you get the idea.
Here is where intentions are vastly different and way better than resolutions: Ask yourself how it would feel to be, do, or have this result, this new body, a better income. Not how do you feel in six months, but how does it feel right now? Act as if time doesn't exist and it's only here and now.
Put passion into it when you write it, and really feel the words when you finalize it. There is power in having written them in a journal. You have created a reference for yourself. You then can go back at times and remind yourself of how far you've come.
3. Now forget it. Yup, put that journal away. On a shelf, in a desk - if on a computer, then file it under “stuff I’m not going to obsess over or worry about.” I know I said to keep them, but you do not need to re-read these every day to know that you want this. Focus instead on the conscious challenges that then will present themselves in order for you to obtain your goal, and also focus on your sense of capability. If or when you hear that doubtful voice of your critic, let the negativity come into your thoughts. Now take a breath and ask yourself, are you not more than this crap, more than this nonsense? Be ready, like a prize fighter, to now jab, punch back, and take that right hook with the big guns of conscious intention.
When your inner critic crops up to call you “a lazy fat ass, always been one and always will be,” now you can push back in the chambers of your mind with - "Even though I have struggled with fear and destructive behavior in the past, I am living a Self-directed integrated lifestyle that is healthy now."
If that critic of doubt tells you that you cannot be successful and your ideas are garbage, reply, "My identity is now reframed and focused on being successful and fulfilled."
I am fortunate that with the help of my Teacher and Mentors I came to the revelation that what holds us in a state of stuck-ness or under-achievement, is worry, impatience, fear and distrust. Yes and usually of our self, a mis-seeing of who we are and our potential.
So the intention is to consciously release worry, to be patient and forgiving with ourselves as with others (because we're not perfect), to lean into fear (with courage and a sense of humor), and to trust our ability to achieve (because we are often what stands in our own way). It only makes sense that we will come to know that we are so much more and can accomplish so much more.
When the statistics show that over 90 percent of New Year Resolutions fail, it's hard to imagine why anyone would bother. So . . . don’t. I am urging you to try something a little different, to re-frame your resolutions into conscious intentions. To write down a "Year in Review" - essentially a blueprint of how your past year has worked out: the good things, the rough spots you worked through, the growth that occurred in both yourself and your interactions with your world - to get clarity about what you’d like to work on next.
A "Year in Review" gives me perspective and a solid dose of realism, especially when I feel like not much has happened or when I'm not especially encouraged about my progress during the past twelve months. The problem is that if you don't take the time to sit down and really analyze how things have worked in the past, you're bound to repeat many of your same mistakes. We humans can have a short memory and a long sense of optimism.
So if you're like me and would like to really get a sense of what works for you and what doesn't, try these three steps to get you started, drop me a line, and let’s talk.
Get to it - know that you can make it the Best of Years.
Aloha . . . .