Perhaps you’re feeling overwhelmed, already, by what you said you would do when you set your resolutions; you wonder what the heck you were thinking – it must have been the midnight champagne.
Maybe you’re feeling annoyed with yourself because you didn’t set any goals and you feel even more stuck in a rut while everyone else seems all energized and zingy!
I’m going to let you in on a little secret… resolutions don’t work.
The Failure of Resolutions
Here’s the thing. Research shows that of the 45% of people who set resolutions, only 8% actually manage to meet the stated goals of their resolutions.
Why is this?
Well, in my humble opinion (and experience), resolutions don’t work because of the energy with which we tend to craft them. Resolutions are often set with a draconian mind-set with an eye towards all the areas where we fall short and need fixing.
Most resolutions are decided when we’re feeling fat and bloated from the holidays. We come down on ourselves like a hammer: “I will run 3 times a week on the treadmill for an hour!” Forgetting the essential fact we hate to run. We let the post-partum effect of the holiday blues take over; we wallow in regret and recrimination: “This year I get out of debt!” Not realizing this nebulous declaration will not stay our hand at the sale rack.
When we skip a day of running, which we will, or when we succumb to the 50% off sale sign we will hate ourselves for being weak and failing to stay strong and determined. Resolution broken. Failure.
These ill-planned resolutions leave a bad taste in our mouths, and really there is no call for that; the word ‘resolution’ is a lovely and powerful word. It has the potential to be satisfying, like fine chocolate.
A resolution, after all, is to determine a course of action. It requires resolve; the decisive mental state achieved by having a firmness of purpose.
Six Essential Steps for Staying the Course
Over time I’ve come to find there are six essential steps to help guide us towards our sense of purpose, determining the course of action, and devising ways to stay determined. And they are:
- Set intentions, first, to spark creative power
- Do a little dreaming and get clear on what you (really) want
- Get committed and stay resolute
- Devise stay-the-course strategies and habits
- Adopt a willpower mind-set (embrace fear)
- Adopt a willpower mind-set (embrace self-care)
Over the course of the next five weeks, I will discuss in greater detail each of these essential steps. And, today, I’ll begin by touching on the idea of setting intentions.
Setting Intentions: The Source of Our Creative Power
Resolutions are great; they simply need a little sparkling light, some laughter, some dreaming. They need the distance from the holiday blues and stretchy pants to truly spark our creativity and sense of purpose.
For resolutions be successful, they need the energy of intentions, which function like wind in a sail, or the current easily gliding your canoe downstream.
“Intention is the starting point of every dream” to quote Deepak Chopra. “It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love. Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention.”
Intentions are seeds from which our keen sense of purpose takes root, and grows, and flowers; they beautifully AIM and FUEL our resolutions.
An intention is the dream fueling your purpose; it is the big “Why” underpinning what you will be up to this year.
Think of an intention as your theme or rallying cry. Let it be the thought, the phrase, the focus you can come back to on a daily basis; a mantra you say time and again to remind you of what you’ve set out to do.
Intentions (and resolutions) Begin with Dreaming
Here’s the thing. While January 1st is a beautiful demarcation line on the calendar, it doesn’t mean you have to rush headlong into anything. What if, instead, you gave yourself permission to use January to develop your plan for the next eleven months?
What if you give yourself the luxury of some thought…the gift of exploring the deep desires of your heart before requiring yourself to be practical.
So, go ahead, give yourself permission to spend some heart-centered time focused on what it is you truly want for your life.
Shameless plug alert: An opportunity to spend heart-centered time with yourself (in the company of like-minded women) is available on Saturday, January 17th. I’m leading a workshop which will take you easily through these six essential steps in laying out your plan for 2015. I’d love for you to join us! For more details: CLICK HERE
Here are some questions to begin the conversation with yourself:
Visualize yourself at a time in the future when you are living your ideal life. How would that look? How will it feel? What does it sound like?
What kind of relationships do you want in your ideal life? What would your family, friends, marriage, or single life look like?
Imagine you are in your ideal home environment. What would be just right for you?
What would make you ideal job significant or fulfilling to you?
If you had a year to live, what would be the most important to you to do and be in that time?
What accomplishment or legacy would have ultimate significance for you?
What experiences do you want to have in your lifetime?
What do you want to learn? What skills do you want to master?
What do you want to build or create in your lifetime, just for the joy of it?
What do you love or enjoy doing? What would it be like to have more of this in your life?
If you dreamed in terms of your potential instead of your current capabilities, what would be possible for you?
And…most of all…HAVE FUN! Get playful. Be dreamy.