New Year Resolutions: Empowering or Undermining?
Yes, it’s that time of the year again. When the calendar reminds us of all the things we didn’t accomplish in the past 12 months and exerts its yearly guilt-trip on us to do better in the subsequent dozen about to head our way. The scales and our waistbands are now reminding us of our lack of self-control over the holiday season. Then there’s those credit card bills to show our lack of fiduciary restraint. Many of us will have attended get-togethers where relatives and friends we’ve not seen for a while share their glittering success stories while we may have little to contribute. They bought a new house following a promotion. You bought a new coffee table from IKEA having sold all that stuff you didn’t want anymore on eBay. Your cousin Caroline who has always been so competitive showed off her enormous engagement ring and spent the entire time talking up her fiancé who she makes sound like a combination of Johnny Depp and the head of the World Bank and all you have to brag about is a series of one-date wonders you met on Plenty of Fish. Not quite the same ring to it, has it?
The New Year rolls around and we resolve that we are going to do better – be better/thinner/richer/more successful and next year we’ll be the one with the success stories to share. Yet so many New Year’s Resolutions tank after just a few weeks despite our best intentions and that gym membership we splashed out on or that course on managing our money we signed up for or those self-help books we ordered from Amazon which come April we have yet to crack the spines of. Why?
First of all, many New Year’s Resolutions come from a place of not loving and accepting ourselves right now just as we are. They focus on what we feel is wrong with ourselves as opposed to what is right. What we focus on is what the universe reflects back at us. If you are saying ‘Oh my God! Look at how much weight I have gained. I’m disgusting. I can’t do up my jeans’ – all the universe hears are the words ‘weight gain’ and the fact you don’t feel good about yourself. At this point no matter what you do – join a gym, pour the wine down the sink and clear your fridge of fat and carbs – your subconscious is now focussed on nothing but the fact you’re saying you are a person who doesn’t like themselves and is not in control. Don’t be surprised when you come up with all kinds of excuses why you’re not going to the gym today or that you end up bingeing on the very things you told yourself you couldn’t eat any more – probably by the second week in January.
So, what can you do? Take the attitude that if you don’t make any resolutions you therefore can’t break them? I’m not advocating that either. I believe in goal-setting but for all the right reasons and in setting goals that empower us rather than undermine us. To help you I’ve prepared a little Resolution Checklist. As you start to think about what you really want to achieve in 2014, check those resolutions against it.
1: Is now the best time? Just because it’s a calendar New Year doesn’t mean you have to embark on a resolution or goal. The fact is, we can commit to a new way of living, being and thinking at any point during the coming year – not just on January 1 so don’t feel pressured to do so. This doesn’t say self-love – just the reverse.
2: Make a list. Include in your list not just what you would like to achieve in the coming year but what you are already committed to doing. Have you taken all this into consideration? Many people fail with their resolutions because they have just taken on too much at one time. Be realistic and don’t be afraid to prioritise your goals. Go for the one that excites you the most and once you have achieved that – move on to the next – and with a sense of accomplishment.
3: Look to your achievements in the past year. And then relate them back to your present resolution. This is all about making sure you are coming from a place of empowerment. Let’s say you want to budget your finances better and/or attract more money in 2014. Instead of saying things like ‘My credit cards are always maxed out/I live off my overdraft/I can’t afford the things I want so I have to get a handle on my finances’ – review all the sound financial decisions you made during the year. Remember that example I used at the start about selling stuff on eBay to buy something you REALLY wanted? Now some people might say this is small potatoes to someone buying their dream home. But if you are trying to build a better relationship with money and stick to a financial resolution then this would be a great example of how you managed to buy something you wanted without getting into debt. If you look back at the past 12 months chances are there are many little victories in a key area you can use when stating a resolution that empower you rather than undermine you such as ‘I am getting more and more adept at achieving my financial goals without getting into debt and I am continuing this process in 2014’.
Making our New Year’s Resolutions work for us is a key step to achieving what we all want for the New Year – happiness, prosperity, health and success.
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