Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Alternative To New Year's Resolutions

You probably saw Coach Ty’s post on how he was successful with New Year’s Resolutions.  By creating goals he was really able to make a lot of his dreams come true which is great and I for one am really excited to see some of the things he’s accomplished!  

As Ty mentioned, some people make New Year’s Resolutions and some people do not.  I personally do not. 

Throughout my life and career I have always been pushed by others to make goals.  In most cases focusing on goals for me has not resulted in success, especially the kind of success that others wanted me to have.  Isn’t the success I envision for myself most important though?  I have found that people find success in life via different pathways.  Many who are successful in corporate environments or mainstream culture, for example, are that way because they thrive on having structure and analyzing their behavior to identify whether it falls in line with social norms.  These environments are where goals (and in-turn New Year’s Resolutions) are most common and often most effective.

But not everyone identifies with that mindset.  If your motiv8tion is historically driven more by emotion and intuition connected to a sense of personal identity, you may find that the mentality you experience from goal-setting can be counterproductive to accomplishing what you want out of life.   

I used to make New Year’s Resolutions all the time then, one year I thought, “Why are you choosing now to make a change in your life that you haven’t chosen to make the other 364 days of the year?”  If I had the mindset to change something about my life right now in the moment why did I need to start in The New Year?  Why not START NOW?  I was always connecting a future action to a future date, meaning I wasn’t really ready to change.  New Year’s Resolutions were my way of trying to connect a lack of action to an outward factor that I had no control over.  I didn’t get something done over the past year or several years that I “needed” to so I decided that things will be different NEXT year.  But, everything GREAT I’ve ever done in life started by me JUMPING and making a decision right then and there to do it, not waiting for a sign or a meaningful time to start.  I immersed myself in the experience of doing it.  The time to start is NOW, even if it’s a tiny step just start doing the work!

New Year’s Resolutions are all about goals usually.  But goals often focus on what you don’t have.  Live life thinking that your worth is always in accomplishing the next goal and you never truly value your current state of existence.  I used to have a burning desire to have an attractive body, have people admire (or be jealous of) me, have accomplishments to brag about, have a high-paying job, have a brand new, custom-built house, have 3 cars in the garage, have nice clothes and jewelry.  Want to know what happened once I finally obtained those things?  MISERY…because someone else always had something better, because by focusing on what I didn’t have there was always a NEW thing I didn’t have but mostly because I never valued the process that it took to get there.  Instead I just made new goals for “more”.  I was never present.  See the trend there?

What about making New Year’s Resolutions TRULY made me happy?  My goals, much like others’, often focused on improving some part of myself that wasn’t a strength for me, which meant I was never focused on using my strengths to better my life.  I can tell you from my first hand experience that a life lived doing what society expects you to in order to be “successful” is a one-way ticket to UNhappiness.  I’ve lived that life…it was awful.  Goals give us the impression that what we have today isn’t “enough”.  We have to achieve more, we have to obtain more, we have to earn more.  Why can’t we give ourselves the respect to know that what we experience today can give us all the joy we desire!?

Check out the most common regrets after a long life.  Making sure these are never on my list is my basis for success in life, not whether I achieved a New Year’s Resolution:

Which brings me to my final point about New Year’s Resolutions.  What is your reason for making them in the first place?  Are you choosing to make a change that other people define a successful person by?  Or are you choosing to make them because it fits your values as a person and helps you follow your passion?  It should feel right to you, that gut feeling (your intuition) should tell you what’s best for you rather than analyzing your life to create a goal which may be arbitrary to developing into your best self. If you truly know your values and what you WANT out of life, you shouldn’t need a New Year’s Resolution to do the things you feel you “NEED” to do.  It doesn’t take resolutions or even goals for me to evaluate whether my actions fit into my vision of life.  That’s the beauty of knowing who you are!  Every time I’m pushed by others or by social pressure to make a goal I ask myself, “Does this fit with my vision for what I WANT out of life?”  If the answer is “no” there is nothing in this world that will make me accomplish that goal.  So, I don’t waste my time on it!

Steps to creating success for 2017 without using New Year's Resolutions:

1. Start NOW, there's no better time!  You're either ready or your not!
2. Identify your strengths and place attention on developing them rather than weaknesses.
3. Determine who you want to be, define values that support that person and constantly evaluate your behavior against them.

I have a confession to make:  I have been unhappy for much of 2016.  That unhappiness stems from constantly placing pressure on myself to create something that doesn’t exist in this current moment.  I have made goals for myself personally and for my business, telling myself that what exists now isn’t enough.  BUT, the reason I’ve made decisions for the past 5 years to live my “dream life” wasn’t to make a bunch of money or to be the “biggest” or the “best”, it was to share my wisdom to help other people that I know are struggling with the same life that I used to live.  I have allowed a constant life of “lack” to drag me down into a pit of despair over what I don’t have, not what I DO have that’s right in front of me today.  I have been so focused on making goals that it caused me to drop out of a race for the first time in my life, that it led me astray in prioritizing my business over my family and friends, that it removed my passion for the values I hold dear in my life in pursuit of a vision of “success”.

Unhappiness caused by focusing on what I lack or am not good at isn’t success to me.  It’s failure!  And if I truly want change in my life, the time is NOW, not in The New Year! J

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