The New Year is upon us, and while every day is an opportunity to start over again, there’s something about the new year that gives us hope, a feeling of freedom, a fresh start and a clean slate. It’s an occasion to reflect back on the past year, and plan for the new. And we love anything new: a new job, a new relationship, a new home, a new location, a new hairstyle! There’s potential in the new. So here we are, on the brink of 2019, with a golden opportunity to partake in the ever popular New Year’s Resolution.
A resolution is a decision; it’s an intention to do something, change something, acquire something, or work towards some goal in the hopes that our lives will be better or improved once we do. I’m all for goals and looking towards the future. I’ve started many a New Year with high hopes, and detailed plans on how to go about accomplishing my true desires. The problem, for me anyway, has always been that I lose motivation. I might start out strong, but then I fall into the same rut. That’s why a lot of people don’t make resolutions; they only feel worse in February when they blow it.
A habit can be hard to break, and we need to form a new habit to take its place. It’s great to have an end goal in mind, but the power is in the present moment. I’m suggesting that we rewrite our script, scene by scene. There’s more to a story than just the ending.
Let’s take a look at some common resolutions:
Get in shape
Get a new job
Make more money
Save more money
Spend more time with family and friends
Learn to (fill in the blank)
The reason that we want something is not always for the reason we may think. Basically, we all just want to feel good. We do things and want things because on some level, we believe it will make us feel better. And perhaps it does, if only for a moment.
I want to add a new element to the mix…your feelings and emotions! When we’re making these resolutions, chances are we’re not feeling so great about our health, our appearance, our finances, or our relationships. Look where you’re at right now. What are you feeling? It’s probably that “not so good” feeling that is spurring your resolution. And whatever feeling that is, there’s a story attached to it that justifies the feeling…and an excuse that perpetuates it.
So now let’s take a look at your New Year’s Resolutions. What’s your motivation? Next to each one, write down why it’s on your list. Close your eyes and imagine what it will be like when you’ve achieved your goal. How will it make you feel? Really feel it. Let that feeling infuse your being.
Some possible feeling outcomes may look like this:
Lose weight: feel attractive, confident
Get in shape: feel stronger, more energized
Get a new job: feel appreciated, fulfilled and purposeful
Make more money: feel abundant, prosperous
Save more money: feel safe and secure
Quit smoking: feel healthy and free
Spend more time with family and friends: feel love and connection
Get organized: feel calm, centered and in control
Learn to (fill in the blank): feel adventurous, inspired
If we drill down, my guess is that at the end of each rainbow, your pot of gold is some form of happiness. Everything we want is an attempt to make us feel better. We need to identify the feeling that we want and bring it into our lives now…not six months from now or by next December. Now. That is what will motivate you to move forward.
And while New Years gives us a surge of energy and some inspiration to get started, we need more than that to keep it going. Rewriting your script isn’t a one time deal, it’s a process. We need to rewrite our script every single day. You need to have a goal and a plan in mind, but remember it’s the feeling that you really want. When you wake up in the morning and you think about your goal, think about the feeling that you want to feel.
Our thoughts and feelings work together to construct our reality. To change our reality, we need to change our thoughts, our feelings, or both. Pay attention to what you’re feeling and the story that’s attached. And when you have those “not so good” feelings, acknowledge them and say “Oh, that’s so last year!” Or as Ariana Grande would say, “Thank U, Next”.
Challenge for the week: Rewrite your script!
If you’re happy with your life, great! If you are satisfied with your relationships, wonderful! If you love your job, amazing! But if not…let’s rewrite your script, scene by scene!
You have to love where you’re at now, and start to cultivate the feelings you want, because what you want are the feelings. We need to learn to foster those feelings first…then the goals will fall in place. And take baby steps: acknowledge how you want to feel, check in with your body sensations, mind your thoughts, build habits.
Develop the habit of feeling the way you want to feel first. Narrow it down to one word, the overarching feeling, emotion or mood you’re going for. Try it on for size, see how it feels. Because your thoughts and feelings are so closely related, sometimes all you need to do is think of that word and the feeling will follow. You’re rewiring your brain and creating a new neural pathway.
Close your eyes and take some slow, deep breaths. Think of the word, the name of the emotion that you want to feel. Silently recite your word as a mantra on each exhale, and as you do, let the feeling wash over you:
“Abundant. Abundant. Abundant…” Let it sink into your being. You are abundant.
“Confident. Confident. Confident…” Let it sink into your being. You are confident.
“Joyful. Joyful. Joyful…” Let it sink into your being. You are joyful.
It’s the lemon effect. When I say “lemon”, or better yet, “sour lemon”…your mouth probably waters just a bit. The same thing will happen when you internalize your chosen emotions. And a helpful hint: try expanding your emotional vocabulary. Look for words that you may not usually use to describe how you want to feel, like fruitful, delightful, audacious, vibrant, vivacious. Take advantage of this “new” word to create a new emotional state.
We tend to overlook our accomplishments, overlook the good, and take things for granted. And for survival purposes, we are wired to seek out problems. Unfortunately these days, the thoughts we have are more of a problem than our actual problems, and we tend to focus on the negative.
Keep track of all the good feels! Keep a journal where you write down all the pleasant, happy, inspiring, uplifting moments in your day…no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. I suggest writing them down throughout the day, as you may not remember them all at the end of the day. Then you can review them. I started this myself recently, and I must say, it’s opened my eyes. There are so many moments throughout the day that I do feel happiness, peace and inspiration, even if they are fleeting. Writing them down helps to capture those moments:
A smile from a stranger
Hitting all the green lights on the way to work
Your dreaded meeting has been canceled
Having some down time to sip your tea
Reading a good book
Getting a call from an old friend
Picking the right checkout line at the grocery store
Eating homemade Christmas cookies
The more you acknowledge these moments and write them down, the more of them you will have.
Don’t wait for your goal to be your beautiful, confident, abundant, loving, joyful self…be YOU now!
Wishing you a very Happy New Year! Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.