I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. They just feel like they have so much pressure on them. I understand that some people need or like the pressure but most of us don’t. Many people feel guilty, overwhelmed and unclear about them. According to statistics the 17th of January is the most common date to ditch new year’s resolutions and 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by February.
So how do you bring about change if you don’t have a new year resolution to motivate you? There are three things that help me and might be just what you need to hear right now and feel more sustainable for you.
1. RESET BUTTON
I know that I can hit a reset button at any time that I don’t like the direction my life is going in. This may not mean changing my circumstances but it may mean changing my mindset, my beliefs or my thought patterns. So many people describe a good year as one when good things happen. If bad things happen, then it was a bad year. Many people described 2016 as a bad year because bad things happened. How much more empowering and resourceful would it be to embrace all seasons of life and see the growth and learning that occurs whatever circumstances thrown at you? It might be challenging or difficult and require a different version of you but it is all part of the journey. It is empowering to know that I can impact the outcome by choosing how I respond to circumstances.
2. LIFE IS A JOURNEY
I look at life as a journey. I have travelled a lot and taken many groups overseas. In every trip, I have witnessed a consistent emotional journey. The start is generally uncertain, with travellers who are hesitant yet enthusiastic, excited and hopeful and mostly out of their comfort zone. In the middle section travellers start to miss what is familiar, they experience frustrations about the new place, have dreams about their old life, often they are in shock at how quickly time is passing and their confidence is increasing. The end is about being proud of all they have achieved, unsure about their old life, they are hesitant about leaving the new place, they feel more comfortable, hope and confidence returns. Viewing life like this helps me to relax into the stage of life I am in, to keep my expectations achievable, and to remember that no stage lasts forever so enjoy this stage for what it is or if it is tough, hang on for a little while longer, as it won’t last (I remember doing this when my girls were babies and we were sleep deprived or battling difficult behaviour). No storm can last forever.
3. EMBRACE CHALLENGES
Recognise that challenges, suffering or difficulties are a rewarding part of the journey. Learn how to embrace them and lean into them rather than run from them. This third tip is a combination of tips 1 and 2. Being able to re-frame how you view suffering and challenges and know deep in your heart it won’t last forever. When you accept that every year, season or journey will bring you challenges you don’t get as side swiped or surprised when they do. You prepare for difficult seasons and build skills and strategies throughout the year to assist you when they DO arise not IF they arise. You learn whatever it is that you need to learn from that challenge and stop putting the learnings off, which is what happens when you run every time a challenge hits. Choose your language and body language carefully, ensuring that it helps you accept the challenge and still have hope for the future. Imagine if you could shine in times of struggle and challenge rather than just survive? When you are in the thick of it and everything seems too hard and you don’t know how to keep going, remember that often the best views come after the hardest climb.
So, my dream for you is that 2017 is full of everything you need to grow and shape you more into the person you are. May it be full of adventures, love, giving, receiving, challenges, suffering, fun, gratitude, happiness, growth and learnings. May it be a year of tiny baby steps that each day take you closer to where you want to be. To me this seems a much calmer, achievable, resourceful and sustainable way of kicking goals. The Japanese have a perfect word for this, it is ‘kaizen’. Kaizen is the practice of continuous improvement. Ask yourself, what kaizen step you can take today that will take you closer to where you want to be? And then tomorrow, ask it again and the next day, again and again. Those times when you do take a step that takes you in a direction that you don’t want to go (and it happens to all of us), don’t beat yourself up about it, hit the reset button and when the clock strikes to begin the next hour, start again. Ask yourself that same question in that new hour.
If you want to learn how to take your life in the direction that you want it to rather than be susceptible to what life throws at you like a leaf in the wind, let’s organise a time to catch up and I can equip and inspire you to bring about the change you desire.
Love Lisa xx