As a psychotherapist, I've never been a fan of making New Year's resolutions. It's a popular tradition and provides great fodder for conversation, but often, it merely serves to set us up for disappointment if we haven’t achieved true readiness. But how do we know if that time has arrived? Take a look at my fool proof method below:
- IF YOU DON'T WANT TO DO IT - DO IT
- IF YOU REALLY DON'T WANT TO DO IT - DON'T
As silly and simplistic as it may seem, there is great thought and client-tested analysis behind the formula. Generally speaking, change is hard. It triggers significant levels of fear, anxiety over unanswered questions and can render us incapable of moving forward if we don't develop a healthy internal dialogue of self motivation. Therefore if we "don't want to do it," it tells us that our fears and desire to flee from struggle are at the root of our uneasiness. As a result, we must encourage ourselves to push through, in order to reach our goals. However, if we "really don't want to do it," it tells us that there is a strong reason to wait and that message must be heeded.
If you aren't familiar with the process of "Gut Checking," it will be a vital first step before you attempt the formula above. Gut Checking is about quieting the noise (both literally and metaphorically), to create a space for self reflection. Through this process, we can tap into our instincts and gauge where we fall on the "do it or don't" continuum. If you are new to the process try the following:
- Take one, a few or several deep, slow, intentional breaths until you feel centered.
- Ask yourself how you feel about the issue you have been contemplating changing.
- Ask yourself if you feel ready to make a change.
The beauty of this process is that the "gut" or "instincts" never lie. We may not like what they have to say, but they are always there, gently guiding us towards our proper path. If you've tried the steps above and aren't truly getting your answer, you may have spent time over the years, ignoring your instincts and therefore the volume has been quieted. Keep practicing and over time, the volume will adjust and you will more easily glean your answer.
Whether you are contemplating a personal, spiritual or professional change, you must feel truly ready in order to bring your goals to fruition. Give yourself the best chance possible by making sure that you honor your personal time line and listen to your gut. That change that's waiting for you just over the horizon will thank you for it!
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