So the New Year is nearly here, the festive season is in full swing and in my case winter is upon us, giving us every available excuse to eat a bit more stodge, drink a few more glasses of red and nibble a bit more cheese!! Then the inevitable thoughts creep in…… Right in the new year I will loose weight, get fitter, eat more healthily, see more friends and family, find more ‘me’ time, get a better work life balance, stop drinking, etc.
We are not alone, in fact approximately 32% of Britons look to make a new years resolution along these lines but they only tend to last a matter of weeks. This may be due to a number of reasons but often demotivation sets in since the behavioural shift that is required to make these changes sustainable has not been rooted in. In many cases just the sheer mention of the word resolution or goal can turn people into shut down mode or a closed ear situation. So how can we manage our own expectations and progress forward embedding new behaviours and shifts in mindset?
First of all when considering a resolution/goal ask what am I really trying to achieve? For instance is it about loosing weight or is it bigger than that? Is there a bigger picture / vision for our year? Such as I want to lead a healthier lifestyle? Or is it even deeper, I want to feel more confident in myself? Once we have honestly asked ourselves, contemplated and identified the real reason/passion or desire behind our resolution then we are in a better position to make a sustainable plan.
In today’s every changing environment it can often be a no brainer to set strict resolutions for the whole year! Who knows what this New Year is going to bring, what changes will occur and what we need to adapt to. It’s really handy to be flexible but we want to keep positive and moving forward. To help me keep focus on my big picture vision I often try to set short to medium term goals. This allows me to make clear, measurable actions and offers me a much greater chance of success, without feeling overwhelmed.
We can set clear goals by looking at our longer term vision and breaking it down. Seriously, breaking it right down, into somewhat seemingly tiny steps!
Remember each step is towards your goal so it doesn’t matter how small.
A quick win that is quite fun to do alone or with friends is to gift ourselves 30/60 mins for a complete brain dump/mind map of all the thoughts/limitations/assumptions/that spring to mind. Don’t judge them or think about them, just write them down so you capture them. I find this really helpful when first starting to consider the ‘how’ of achieving my longer term vision. It’s a very freeing process and encourages mind creativity, it helps you see connections and patterns. I am also quite visual so I like also create a vision board. Just by collecting pictures, words, phrases that inspire, represent or enable you to visualise the longer term intention; grouping these on a poster and placing it somewhere that you notice everyday. Take a photo of it and place it as your screen saver, or phone home page! It’s always with you then, ticking over in the back of your mind.
The physical act of writing out your vision and then everything that springs to mind surrounding that vision is one of the most powerful beginnings of positive intention you can offer yourself.
Some questions I tend to ask:
– What are my quick wins?
– Where do I currently gain most of my energy?
– Where do I feel most positive?
– What are the 3/4 most important aspects of my long term vision?
– What order of priority would I place these in?
– What can I see right now as my sticking points/ barriers?
– What could I do to work through or around these?
– What am I grateful for right now?
The last point is crucial, what am I grateful for right now? Considering this affords us a chance to pause and reflect on where we are right now; what is really important to us; what is impacting us and making us ‘feel’ stuff positively and negatively. I know when I notice the seemingly small stuff, the everyday things, particularly within the natural environment, I realise that they are fundamental to me and offer me some level of balance.
Taking the opportunity to acknowledge where we are at this moment in time is important for our grounding. It’s from this moment on we are working on our positive vision. Identifying where we currently gain our energy or from whom we gain it from gives us a big clue as to where we could choose to spend more time. I try to avoid the negative, procrastinators this is an energy zapping environment. Lets show them how to do it! Surround yourself wherever possible with positivity.
Once we start observing where we gain our energy from and where it flows we can start to look to make creative changes. Consider this visualisation, imagine you have met an acquaintance you haven’t seen in 6 months, you have already made huge shifts and begun to achieve a lot of your vision, what would you be telling them? Visualise that conversation, where are you? What are you saying? What can you see? What can you hear? How are you feeling?
If that’s not your bag then write yourself a short letter, set it in the future but write it as though its already occurred.
For example: It is Dec 2017 and I have had a great 6/12 months because I have …..
Once you have written it, read it back and out loud, observe how you feel hearing it. Keep it for reference. Read it back in December 2017 and see how far you have come. I have just re-read a affirmation from the spring. Without seeking out or chasing, I am consistently amused by how much has ‘come true’ by seemingly unforced effort. Nothing to loose here really!
These two short, quick exercises embed our vision and give it roots. By gifting ourselves a few minutes to do this allows our vision to seep deeper into our subconscious. Just think why is it when you look to buy a new blue car that the same blue car suddenly appears everywhere on the road?
Embedding this positive intention even deeper gives us an even greater chance of success. Letting go of the attachment of how we are going to do it and just allowing ourselves the freeing sensation of what it would feel like having achieved our vision gives the mind a chance to open up more creatively and be more accepting.
When looking at acceptance, I remind my self to acknowledge that my longer term vision is a journey and that I am learning on the way, and that it is in these everyday learnings (positive and negative) that we ensure our vision is achieved, the harder days are where we tend to learn the most. By taking personal pride in achieving the small steps, appreciating that not everyone is brave enough to ‘try’ and every positive behaviour shift is to be congratulated.
This is where self love comes into play. We are responsible for us and our own growth, no one else can do this for us. No partner, no company, no manager. We are responsible for our reactions to situations and we have the power and the choice on how to be. It takes discipline to remember this, it’s a daily challenge of mine for sure, but knowing this affords me so much more control of my own journey.
Talking of journey’s this is new for me, I have not blogged before and I am way out of my comfort zone here!! It’s one of my personal shifts towards my long term vision and I welcome you all along with me, I am grateful to you that you read this far! Thank you.
So in summary Sustainable Resolutions benefit from:
- Honesty to oneself regarding the big picture vision/theme
- Short to medium term measureable goals which feed the vision
- Observation/reflection and self love pit stops!
- Identified and prioritized action steps
- Positive environment
- Bravery stripes
Happy to help partner you through this, feel free to contact me for a free discovery chat.
May your New Year surround you in positive vibes.