As we move into the first quarter of 2015, we may revisit our New Year's Resolutions.
Are we still committed 100 percent? 50 percent? 25 percent? Or have all our efforts to improve and love ourselves completely fallen by the wayside?
If you are in the latter camp, the first thing to do is be gentle with yourself and not fly into a fit of blame and shame. According to StatisticBrain, of the 45 percent of people who usually make New Year Resolutions, only 8 percent are actually successful at achieving them.
What many do not realize is there are 'stories' that are playing out in the background of our lives that we may or may not be conscious of that are sabotaging our efforts way before we make those resolutions.
Here are 4 main reasons why New Year Resolutions may be doomed from the start.
Resolutions vs Intentions
Resolutions by their very nature, are based in a 'problem solving' consciousness. This means there are things in our lives that need 'fixing' because they are broken, bad or wrong. This mindset not only perpetuates guilt, shame, and scarcity, but also forces us to do something we really don't want to do. And as we know, focusing on what we don’t want, gives us more of that very thing. This ego driven, external striving behavior will sometimes reap short lived rewards but in the end leaves us riddled with feelings of disappointment, defeat and ashamed.
Intentions on the other hand, focus less on the destination (goal/resolution) and more on the journey itself. They inspire us to reinvent ourselves from the inside out and are based on moment to moment living. Our mantra then shifts from 'What can I get done?' to 'What will bring me joy?' You see, setting an intention for the joy that will come out of its accomplishment is much more freeing and empowering than pressuring and forcing ourselves to do a 'should' activity. For example, instead of saying 'I'm going to lose 50 pounds this year', reframe it as an intention by saying 'What would it be like to lead a healthier lifestyle and care for my body more consciously?'
It's no secret that most people are afraid of attempting some great feat only to have their efforts crash and burn before them. Feelings of guilt, shame and humiliation rise to the surface and one's self esteem can take a huge hit. There may also be concerns around ridicule, and losing face with others.
Being successful (Fear of Success) on the other hand can bring up fears around how one's life may change once they achieve what they set out to do ( unknown territory). Being more visible than they're accustomed to, thereby leaving them more open to public criticism and judgment. Losing their circle of close friends and family because they may not fit into their new life or that they may demand more from them. Even concerns around how their relationship with their partner might shift because of succeeding.
We 'Should' on Ourselves
How many times have we caught ourselves saying things like ' I should be doing this' or " I shouldn't have done that'. ‘ Should’ is one of those words that is powered by 'How others say we are to live our lives', which means there is no You in this equation because you have chosen to conduct your life based on the opinions of others. So when we make our New Year Resolutions rooted in this mindset, is it any wonder that we fail at following through? These choices are not an accurate representation of who we are; therefore, we are not whole heartedly invested in them as we don't have a solid, deep seated 'Why" backing them up. In essence, we are living someone else's resolution, not our own.
Lack of Support
Any great endeavor in life is rarely accomplished solo. New Year resolutions are no different. Many of us attempt to go at our goals and dreams alone, only to find ourselves running out of steam soon after leaving the starting gate. It's near impossible to be all things and in all places by yourself.
The flip side to this coin is having what I like to refer to as 'Crabs in the Bucket Support'. Those are the people in your circle who deep down inside don't want you to change or succeed because this means they will have to look at their own lives and make changes that they aren't ready or willing to make. So to keep things 'safe and comfortable' for themselves, they may say things to you like 'Well you've tried and failed before, what makes you think you'll succeed now?' or 'That's gonna be really hard and a lot of work. I don't want to see you get hurt and disappointed when you fail again', and the list goes on. Having this type of support system in your life is not only counterproductive, but outright toxic.
A healthy, solid support system includes people who are open and honest with you. They want to see you win and will do whatever they can to set you up for success. They are there to support you through thick and thin and not pass judgment on you for the choices you make, or bring up stuff from the past. They also act as an excellent source of accountability to keep you on track, moving forward and have your best interests at heart.
We may not be aware that these 'success stranglers' are playing a role in our overall moment to moment decisions and outcomes. And until we wake up from this trance, we will be resigned to repeat the same pattern over.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to gain clarity:
- Is (fill in the blank) what I really desire to do or is this someone else's?
- How will my life change once I achieve this goal?
- What are my beliefs around success?
- Is this a goal that is still valid for me?
- Have I asked for support or do I believe I can do this by myself?
- Who are the five main people I surround myself with consistently? Do I look up to them? Do they inspire me to be a greater version of myself? Do they have my best interest at heart?
- If you do have a healthy support network in place, are you clear on the type of support you need and has it been communicated to others? ( For example: an accountability partner(s), what that dynamic looks like and what it will provide for you)
- What mindset do I need to embrace in order to reach my desired outcomes? Am I willing to make that change?
The truth is, you don't have to wait until 'next January 1st', or 'next Monday' or 'next week' or 'next whatever' to get back in the saddle.
There's no better time than the present. Forgive and love yourself for where you are right now and know that there will be ups and downs in your journey.
Gillian Joseph is a Sex and Intimacy Coach on a mission to empower Men,Women and Couples to create healthy relationships with Self and Others through her Sex Positive message. To learn more about her or to schedule a Complimentary session: Evolving Path