Happy New Year!
When I reflect on the end of the year and why New Year’s Eve is so wildly celebrated, I believe in simple terms, that it’s merely an opportunity for us to grow.
I’ve been interested in growth my whole life so you might think that New Year’s resolutions would be one of my favorite things, right?
Wrong. They are not. I don’t think they work. Let me explain.
- I’m going to lose weight
- I’m going to make more money
- I want to stop my inner critic and feel better about me
- I want my relationship to be less conflictual and more fun
These all sound fine and dandy; however, if you make a resolution to lose weight, why are people usually not successful and drop the ‘goal’ somewhere in the month of January? I did a quick google search and found this:
43% of all people expect to fail before February, and almost one out of four quit within the first week of setting their New Year’s resolution. Most people quit before the end of January, and only 9% see their resolutions through until succession. 9% successfully keep their New Year’s resolutions.
Sorry to burst your bubble, but…
Making a ‘resolution’ does not work.
We can spend days, months, even years being aware that we are stuck with the same problem, that we want to make more money, or lose weight, which only leads to us spending lot of energy directed into staying stuck in the same problem.
Awareness alone does not work.
If you stay stuck for too long, you will likely become indifferent to it, letting go of that desire, want, goal – only to find yourself years later regretting what you wished you would have done twenty years ago.
Self-judgment and resistance don’t work.
Self-judgment just makes you feel crappier about yourself because that’s where you put your energy and that’s the only thing that grows – more self-judgment, more resistance, more feeling crappy.
Resolutions don’t work because they are too superficial and don’t get to the root of what motivates us.
Let me explain how I came to this conclusion.
Just like you, I found myself frustrated and feeling stuck in some of the same ways as last year (ugh) and it gave me some motivation to want to figure this thing out. Case in point…keep reading.
I knew I could just spend some time doing EMDR, I would find my way out…but I wasn’t quite sure what to work on. Things seemed heavy and foggy. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. The same state that most clients are in when they first come to me.
Therefore, I created a chart. Imagine 3 columns:
- What I don’t want or want less of.
- What I do want or want more of.
- What I’m willing to do to get the things I want and get rid of the things I don’t want.
Soon into this writing exercise the fogginess and heaviness began to lift, and I have to admit, it was a bit surprising how quickly things began to shift for me.
I found myself jotting down the emotional consequences (unpleasant emotions – pain) on the ‘I didn’t want’ list and the emotional rewards (pleasant emotions – pleasure) of what I do want is what helped lift the veil of fogginess. The energy began to shift when I realized how I felt about each item on my list.
The feelings of what I wanted and didn’t want began to be the focus. I didn’t want to feel stress. I wanted to feel free. I want to experience more joy, more fun, etc. When I allowed myself to mindfully notice my feelings, I almost immediately found more wisdom in creating my list of what I’m willing to do to get what I want. Already a tiny success worth celebrating.
We want to move away from pain and toward pleasure, right?
However, we stay stuck in our pain because we either ignore, self-medicate or superficially touch the pain, ever so slightly, with resistance and self-judgment. Thus, we end up marinating, wallowing and stuck in it.
Resolutions alone are often too abstract or overwhelming to really drive committed action. Knowing what your emotional connection to your goals and tasks are helps drive a sense of urgency and commitment to your goals.
Ask yourself ‘how I do I feel’ when I don’t accomplish something, and ‘how will I feel’ when I commit to something and accomplish it. What is your emotional connection to what you want more of in your life and to what you want less of?
- Allow yourself time to assess and identify, with acceptance and curiosity, and feel the pain of what you don’t want.
- Identify what you do want because of how it will make you feel. Focus your energy on how you will feel when you get, or accomplish, what you want.
- What are you willing to do? Productivity breeds motivation. I highly recommend starting small here though, celebrating each small success along the way.
Now that I have more clarity on where I’m stuck and where I want to go, I’ll be doing EMDR and guided meditations on myself to help solidify working through my fears, dismantling limiting beliefs and installing more helpful beliefs, finding my new level of bravery.
It’s a New Year – a year of growth, and I have places to go, people to see and things to accomplish.
Until next time.
Here’s to addressing emotions head on. They are often what drives us.
About the Author
Christy Maxey is a Coach, Author and Founder of the Maxx Method, a step-by-step framework for personal development. Her belief is that life is to be enjoyed and that too many people are needlessly suffering. Her mission is to build the world’s self-worth and emotional intelligence, one person at a time. When she’s not working with clients, writing books and creating courses, she’s probably hiking and enjoying nature, spending time with her friends, family and furry ones. She is the author of The Maxx Method: How to Love Yourself and Become Who You are Meant to Be and co-author of The Mindful Dating Journal, which are both on Amazon.