To this point, I have tried to bring research to the process of creating a structure for the process of setting resolutions and succeeding. But now, the real countdown to the end of 2015 has begun. Today, on the first day of the last working week of the year, you are probably about ready to start seriously tackling creating your New Year resolutions. This whole week we will take real, daily steps leading to the point when you create your one (or two) specific goals. In this post I am going to ask you to trust me and stick with this series this week, even if it seems abstract and somewhat less tangible than my previous posts. So, while the process may seem strange here and for the next couple of entries, it is really effective and based on genuine research. But to succeed you may have to suspend your judgment temporarily.
One of the things that we all tend to do in our human attempt to transform our lives is to fix those areas we perceive as problems. I hear the chorus of “DUH” coming at me. But wait. Up to now, in all of your attempts to fix problems, if you look back critically, you are likely to find that it didn’t work. The things we complain about, out loud or just in our heads, tend to persist. “I am too fat”, “I need more money”, “S/He is a jerk”, “The team is lazy”, “Business is a grind” and so forth. And year in and year out, while we work on these problems, inevitably we end up lamenting the same or similar complaints. In fact, the very normal human proclivity for identifying problems and approaching them as something to be solved is a very ineffective way to make genuine and lasting change. This has been shown through numerous business and sociological studies, both short and long-term, as well as through FMREs, which show how the brain functions in response to different stimuli.
In fact, our brains are not terribly adept at morphing or adopting new thought patterns as a reaction to “trouble-shooting”. They are better at gaining excitement from ideas, positive stimuli (like images, smells and sounds) and expectations. So let’s start this year a bit differently. Instead of beginning by looking at what in your life or business is broken and then resolving to fix it, try something else. Take the opportunity of the days before the end of 2015 to let you mind free and to dream of a quality or possibility for your life, body, business or relationship what is extraordinary. Don’t resist by carping on “realism”. But keep it in the realm of quality and possibility rather than magic — so no lottery winning, miraculous cures or fairy dust. But even without wizardry, you can brainstorm tons of transformative qualities that you truly dream of having in your life.
For example, instead of starting from a complaint you have about too little money, what quality would life have if money were not a concern? Would you feel free? Or would you feel generous? Or liberated? Or philanthropic? What more would that add to life?
If you are struggling with weight, leave that outside of this exercise. Instead, what possibility or notion of your body comes to mind if you freely create a new body in your thoughts? Are you energetic? Active? Flexible? Stylish? Sexy? Use those qualities to craft a vision of yourself. That vision isn’t a “fat-loss” project, it’s a vision of you in your body as imagined free of restraint.
Give yourself a few days to just write down and collect these extraordinary qualities and possibilities for the life you want to create in 2016. Don’t worry if you feel daunted by them or believe they are unrealistic, and keep clear of comparatives like “less stressed” or “more calm”. Instead, use declarative descriptions like “relaxed”, “attuned”, “loving”, “excited”, “cared for”, “energized”, or “satisfaction” — whatever emerges as you sit, here, in your current life, body and business, and dream of a fully realized future. Make a list. Keep the list and ponder it for a few days. Edit if you want.
In the next entry I will start to bring us back to the research behind succeeding in resolution-keeping. And we will take that list and begin to craft a couple of amazing resolutions that will bring a whole new energy and enthusiasm to the resolutions process, and lay the foundation for an amazing 2016!
For a free consult to learn how coaching might make this your best year yet, contact me.