It's January and the "New Year, New You" phrase is again well overused but will this year different?
Well, it's 2012 and the catch phrase "New Year, New You" is definitely once again well overused and way under committed to. It happens every year: every January everyone sets resolutions, goals, intentions, aspirations, hopes—insert whatever word resonates with you—but it is the unified time in which you and the rest of the world decide to refresh, renew or rewrite themselves. I know I've done it, and I'm pretty sure you have as well said something along the lines of, "This is the year I'm going to lose the last 10 pounds!" or "This is the year I'm going back to school!" or "This is the year I'm going to ..."
So what is different about this year? What if you didn't set any resolutions or intentions this year? What if you just embraced each day and looked for an opportunity each day to move beyond where you were yesterday and you boldly took action each and every day to bring you closer to feeling you've not wasted one moment of the day worrying about tomorrow or fretting about yesterday? Sounds great, but is it realistic? And in actuality, the goals and intentions are about shifting your perspective.
How do you set goals while not setting goals? Not setting resolutions or goals is actually setting a goal in and of itself. Take a moment to look at what it means for you to be in the "new year." I see it happening around me all the time. People are beginning to step up and step out, allowing their inner light and inner selves to shine through; they're not just losing weight but changing positions and careers. The big difference I'm noticing in people is they are gaining the courage to look inside and make what defines them a priority, making decisions that their health is a priority the same as spending quality time with children and loved one is. People, it seems, are not so afraid of what others might think if they put themselves first. They have made the connection that when they are stronger, healthier and happier, they become a better father to their children, are better employees, and are better spouses.
Overall your personal wellness improves; as a result, so too do your relationships, your financial wellness, your spiritual wellness, etc. And again, your health continues to improve. Your cycle of positive influence begins to gain momentum.
Unfortunately (and yes, there is an "unfortunately" side to this positivity), the trickle down or ripple effect that your positive influence has on those around you is affected. When you make dramatic changes in your life, it can trigger in others fear and resentment; further, it may challenge their self-esteem and self-worth. You need to remind yourself it is not your responsibility to fix or change anyone else, but you need to be living consciously regarding how your actions impact those around you.
The one trigger that is most common in the ripple effect is an emotional one. As you become stronger, those around you may feel emotionally challenged—which can lead them into an emotional crisis. Your relationship with these individuals can be affected both positively and negatively, especially in a partnership (marriage or otherwise).
If your pattern in the past was setting goals and not achieving them, then your partner has created his or her emotional response pattern to alleviate disappointment and frustration when you come up short in your goal achievements. Your partner has also created a communication pattern to outwardly be supporting you but inwardly adopting the mindset of "Yep, new year, new goal, and no new you … again."
As you begin to achieve your goals, your partner is challenged since he/she isn't sure how to handle the change; this challenge is what triggers that person's emotional crisis because your partner is caught off guard and not sure how to respond. On the one hand, your partner is your biggest cheerleader and is extremely proud of you; on the other, the partner is beginning to question his/her own self.
At this point your partner's inner voice will begin the chatter of "Whoa, what about me? Now that you are all this and made these changes, where do I fit in? I only know you as 'that,' and now you are 'this.' Hey, how come I can't do this or that? And what about me!!!" This inner dialogue can lead to frustration, increased stress level, breakdown in communication, and even resentment and anger—all of which are triggers to challenging your partnership and relationship.
So how do you continue with your new goal achievement pattern and success while not triggering the fear, resentment and frustration with the ones you love? Your solution is communication, communication, communication. You need to be consciously aware of how other people's behaviors, attitudes and interactions with you begin to change. To do that you need to be aware: consciously aware. As you begin to notice people pulling back, or if their communication styles take on a more passive-aggressive nature with you, recognize that these are cues for you to beef up your communication with them.
It is important to remember when sharing with your partner that you're not only telling that person how much you value him/her while also providing acknowledgment and reassurance. You must also maintain value for yourself and remember that this communication environment is a place of non-judgment. The triggers that may be happening for both of you may have roots that go back before your time together; as a result, more individual work will need to be done. Our reactions to other people are personal to us, and their reactions to us are personal to them; you cannot make it about you.
I thought it would be helpful to work through an exercise using the I.C.E.™ methodology with you regarding change and transition and allowing yourself to truly achieve goals this year while being consciously aware of others allowing them to feel empowered by your changes.
The first step is always Identify, or identifying (that is the "I") the main emotion being triggered. For you, internally in the example you are going to lose 25 pounds; you are 4–5 weeks into your commitment and one-third of the way to your weight loss goal when you notice your partner is beginning to pull back whenever you bring up with subject of your goal regarding weight loss or your partner's responses during these discussions are short, "snarky" and tinged with a "whatever" attitude.
This is your sign that you need to increase your communication with your partner. With these types of interactions there will be a dual emotional triggers occurring: one with you and one with your partner. You need to identify which emotion is being triggered for you, and you need to try to identify one or two emotions that potentially are being triggered for your partner such as doubt, worry, resentment or discouragement. Remember you can't identify for your partner, but you need to be able to have an understanding before talking to him/her about what might be going on emotionally with all your changes.
In this example we’ll use the emotion of fear as what's being triggered. Your fear may be about making right versus wrong decisions. Your partner's “worry” may be that he/she is not worthy of you anymore or is being left behind; alternately, your partner's “resentment” might be that how is it you have the time to take care of yourself and he/she doesn’t.
The next step in I.C.E™ methodology is Connect, or connecting (the "C") the emotion you identified (in this example, fear for you) with the core value being challenged. For example's purposes, let’s make the connection that your fear is challenging your self-worth. Your self-worth might be all of sudden your increasing your self-value, resulting in better decisions that prioritize yourself first. As a result, these decisions are empowering you to choose better foods, get to the gym, etc. The reason you see results is because these decisions are in alignment with your core value, which ultimately reinforces your self-worth and value of self.
Meanwhile your partner, the trigger of resentment can challenge their self-worth as well. They are beginning to question their own self-worth since they are not prioritizing themselves or making decisions that support their worth or value, which creates a negative flow of thoughts and decision-making from a place of fear. As a result, the passive-aggressive tendencies may become more obvious.
Now you’ve made the connection for yourself that your emotion being triggered is fear and your core value being challenged is self-worth; you’ve explored that the potential emotion for your partner is resentment and that his/her core-value being challenged may be self-worth.
The final step in the I.C.E. ™ methodology is to execute (the “E”) an action to make a correction or adjustment. Remember, this is all about communication, so your action is going to be one of enhancing communication with your partner while also enhancing the relationship you have with yourself. The obvious action is to step out of your comfort zone and opening up a discussion with your partner that addresses his/her importance and worth while also honoring your own worth.
Until next time, embrace your inner wisdom.
To your success!
Coach Karen K
Life Coach and Business Coach Karen Kleinwort is the founder Therapy in Transition and is a Certified Professional Coach specializing in the integration of her clients' mind, body and spirit into her Personal Empowerment Coaching practice. For more information, visit www.coachkarenk.com, www.therapyintransition.org or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.