What have you got to lose?… most people don’t continue past January anyway. Why put yourself through that and feel worse in the end because you feel you’ve failed? That feeling of failure can be worse than staying ‘un-changed’. Shame and Guilt weighs you down. But confidence lifts you up.
So let’s go for gaining confidence this year.
Are you with me?
Almost all of us think of making changes in January for the coming year. But making those changes stick isn’t as simple as buying a new work out machine, gym membership, Nicorette or new marketing plan. True change requires more than that.
It’s not that goals or resolutions are a mistake. Making a resolution can build confidence and be an empowering choice. But it must be done the right way.
How to make those changes stick?… Don’t do what you’ve always done!
What usually happens is you decide something isn’t right, enough or too much in your life and so you want to change it. If you’ve been down the resolution path before you know what I’m talking about. I’m too fat, out of shape, broke, shy or addicted to cigarettes etc. It’s possibly the same thing every year. Stop. Do something different this year.
To do that let’s look at the resolution or goal from another angle. Underneath the specific change you want to make is the experience or feeling that you believe goes with it. THAT’S the key.
Making change stick
From my experience and my client’s making the change stick has more to do with ‘wanting’ the feeling that comes with the change.
If you read my recent post Hidden Life Rules you’ll remember I talked about changing one word to make an impact on your experience. Same with goals or resolutions. When we ‘want’ the change we’re saying we ‘get’ to do it rather than we ‘should’ or ‘have to’ change.
Losing weight/getting into shape, for example, is usually thought of as a ‘should’ or ‘have to’ but telling yourself you ‘should’ triggers your inner rebellious teenager and your defense system. The mind hears it like a demand ‘do it or else’. And worse, it implies ‘you’re not good enough/OK as you are’ and really that never feels very good. So feeling resistant and inadequate you would go about motivating yourself into change for your goal. Not a recipe for cheerful success stories.
So here’s another possibility…
You realize you’re tired of being tired and decide getting into better shape is what you’re wanting. Is researching the best diets and workouts the next step? Nope. You want to find out the underlying reason you want to get into better shape…. And that is How it will make you Feel.
I wrote another post about this you can read it here Your Goal for Happiness, Peace and Success .
But basically, how you feel is the one thing you have control over. You can’t control the basic make up of your body, the availability and timing of the gym or class, the situations or even weather that can come up to spoil your plans etc. But what you do have is control over are your emotions. More than you may think. It just takes getting clarity about your wants, goals and values.
Here’s an example
Gor a long time a client had been saying he wanted to lose weight and eat healthier, but it wasn’t happening. It was clear that his defenses were getting in his way. Because when we really want something, like to see someone or a certain food (not mentioning chocolate) we do it. No excuses or no reminders needed. So I said to him, ‘Try this, Every time you think or say I should eat better or go to the gym replace that thought with no I don’t want to go to the gym or eat better.”
I know it sounds counter intuitive but, the truth is, it bypasses the resistance and defense.
I saw my client a month later and he’d already lost weight and was feeling better. It worked for him because without the resistant thoughts and excuses that come up he realized that he really did want to and the energy and motivation flowed from there.
An added bonus to making the changes this way is you feel confident and sure of your own choices. What have you got to lose?
Life is filled with ups and downs… who do you want to be through them all?
You can choose to be the ‘happy with yourself and pursuing your goals’ person or the ‘not good enough, frustrated and tired of trying to make yourself achieve a goal’ person.
Some Questions to Reflect on as you approach 2018
- What do you want?
- How do you want to feel?
- How are you using your gifts in the world?
- Where are you stuck?
- What do you need to let go of?
- What are your accomplishments and happy experiences from 2017?
- What did you learn from your mistakes and accomplishments?
- Is there anything you can ask for help for?
- What experiences and feelings would you like to have more of in 2018?
Who can you share all of this with?
Give yourself an hour or so to reflect on the answers and give yourself a feeling goal for next year. Better yet do this with a friend and then share your findings and goals. Every time you express a goal you grow that experience inside you and it becomes a truth rather than just a desire.
Liz Coleman, RTC, is a Registered Therapeutic Counsellor based in Surrey, BC. She specializes in anxiety, anger, insecurity, and relationship problems. If you have any questions about this article or would like to schedule an appointment, please call Ms. Coleman at (604) 809-8947 or use the convenient form on her Contact page.