Considering making some changes here at the end of one year and the start of a brand spanking new one? Gonna lose weight? Stick to your budget? Change jobs? Travel to Bali? Find yourself that elusive soul mate?
Sure every year you make resolutions; but this year, by golly, you’re really gonna do it.
Well, all I’m gonna say is, “Ya gotta wanna.”
How many times have you found yourself in late December writing down the New Year’s Resolution to Get Into Better Shape, and by February you find yourself couch potato sluggish — not going to the gym you paid for, or even using those getting-dusty weights in the back of the closet?
My guess? You didn’t really wanna get into shape.
Because if you did really wanna, you woulda.
The sneaky sabotage comes into play when we say one thing yet do another. We say we want to pay off our credit card debt yet we continually splurge on something we “deserve”, or that makes us “feel better”. Result? We end the year with two additional credit cards, and everything maxed out.
And we feel like a failure.
Which is, of course, why we didn’t pay off the credit card in the first place.
When you feel like a failure, you create opportunities to remind yourself that you are, indeed, a failure. What does a failure do? Why, fail! So, you fail to pay your bills on time — and the nastygrams from your creditors reinforce your idea about yourself… that you’re a loser. You fail to eat healthy food and moderately exercise, and what happens? Why, you gain weight, lose muscle tone and feel… bleah. But isn’t that how a failure is supposed to feel?
To turn this around, there is only one thing you can do. And you gotta wanna. You gotta wanna move from failure to success. Really, really wanna. Ready?
Take out a piece of paper. Oh, and a pen. Or pencil. Or fat crayon. Something handy. OK. List the following categories and leave enough space between them to write four or five things under each. The categories are: Career; Money; Health; Physical Environment (your living conditions); Family/Friends; Significant Other/Romance; Personal Growth (continuing education, spiritual growth, etc.); and, Fun & Recreation.
Focus on what you did, rather than what you didn’t. That’s a switch, huh?
When you’re finished, look at your list of accomplishments for the year. Any patterns? Anything interesting? What’s that tell you about your year?
This was a tough year for a client of mine, Susan. A year ago, she lost her senior executive position due to an industry shake-up. Then both parents got ill, and she became their legal custodian. She arranged for their care, took responsibility for finances, coordinated with the extended family. A full-time job — while she was looking for a full-time job. In the last three months, her father died and her sister unexpectedly died — and her mother remains ill.
In the last year, she rekindled friendships. She moved to her dream city. She put lovely things into her new home. She made smart financial decisions. She exercised. She traveled. She continued to expand her professional network. She sought support when she needed it. She took care of herself.
Although Susan might say, “2007 was a lost year”, her list would indicate that she actually made some important steps. Sure, she did what she had to. But the things she really, really wanted to do? She got those done, too.
When you shift your thoughts from “look at what a mess I am” to “look at what I’ve done”, you shift your perspective from perpetual loser to resilient achiever. Even if your achievements are small, they are still yours.
“Michele”, you say.”What’s the point? I only made accomplishments in areas that really don’t matter. I still don’t have (a partner, a great job, a million dollars).” I, in my most wise Yoda-like way will ask, “Why are you afraid of leaving Loserville and moving into Successville? What’s keeping you from claiming all of your power and accomplishments? What benefit do you get from believing that what you do doesn’t matter?”
Getting rid of your negative beliefs about yourself is the key to making progress on any New Year’s resolutions you may make. Shifting from a sense of limitation and lack to an awareness of opportunities and abundance completely changes your life. Things become more effortless, you become happier. Believe me, it can be done and you can get there.
But ya really gotta wanna.