Here we are again – it’s a new year and lots of us have made a new year’s resolution. Or maybe even a few! Most of you might know that almost 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by February. That is not a great outcome. One must ask – why is that? Could it be that we are approaching the whole thing of introducing change into our lives wrong?
I say yes.
The problem with resolutions
The problem with resolutions is that they are rooted in shame.
Of course, we are not necessarily aware of it. But think about it.
We have spent a year where we might have eaten a lot and put on a few kilos. Instead of going to the gym three times a week we stopped after a month and never went back.
Or maybe we started that new course for learning a new skill but it fizzled out and we never finished what we were set out to do.
How does that make us feel?
Not great. We feel embarrassed, ashamed and like a failure. So this year, it will all be different! This time, we will stick to the resolutions, no matter what. We will show our lazy selves who’s boss.
The intentions are good. They always are and that is awesome.
But we are not addressing what is really going on – how we truly feel about ourselves.
We know that we are all supposed to be happy and excited because a new year started and everyone tells us to make the most out of it and grab it by the balls and make shit happen.
This over excitement isn’t healthy for everyone. For some, it makes us feel like we never amount to anything. As a result, shame settles in and we feel like such a failure.
The way we look at ourselves
Shame is a tricky bitch. It covers itself up so we are not even aware that we are actually feeling shame. And when we realise it is shame, we are feeling even worse. Shame equals failure. Instead of actually examining that we swear to ourselves that we will do so much better in the New Year.
Therefore, our New Year’s resolution comes from a place of pain not happiness. We feel the shame and while we mean well on the surface with our new resolutions, we are really punishing ourselves with them.
For example, you want to lose weight because you ate so much last year and oh my gosh, just look at yourself! How terrible.
While the notion of living healthy is awesome what we are really doing is berating ourselves for having been so indulgent and lacked discipline.
That’s the setup for another round of failed resolutions right there.
We look at ourselves negatively instead of positively. We are unforgiving with ourselves instead of kind and gentle.
So how about we turn this thing around?
Let’s start the New Year with a question.
It is always a good idea to reflect on our time when a year ends. If we do so lovingly and with kindness then real growth occurs.
So far, we have been judging ourselves harshly because we ‘failed’ to lose weight or gain a promotion or go to the gym. As a result, we started the New Year in a negative headspace.
Wanting to change and better ourselves is always welcome as long as we do so in a healthy and sustainable way. Feeling disappointed and angry with ourselves is neither of that.
What we should ask ourselves
That is where asking a question for the New Year comes in.
Think about what you liked about the year just gone.
What were the highlights?
How did they make you feel?
Write it down and reflect on it. How many times have you felt really good about yourselves and happy and proud and content?
Did you enjoy that?
So your question for the New Year could be – what can I do to give myself more of those positive and uplifting moments?
You might wonder what you should do if you have had a really shitty year. We all get them. Life is just peachy like that. It’s ok though.
Think about what you want to feel for the New Year ahead. What small changes can you make to feel better, more positive and settled? How can you implement them amidst your challenges?
Of course, you can also ask broader questions such as what is it that I want to learn this year? Where do I want my focus to be – job? Home? Health? And why on that area?
We can succeed at our own pace
Asking a question instead of a resolution allows us to start the year without this expectation that we must succeed.
Asking a question allows to seek for an answer – however long that may take.
When we ask a question we take the pressure of ourselves that we must deliver at all cost. Instead, we allow ourselves to take a step back, relax and be in the moment. Our mindset for the year becomes open, more settled and happier.
We CAN find an answer but we DON’T have to.
Asking a question is inviting us to go looking for an answer and seeing where the journey will take us. We are flexible to explore.
When we set a resolution, we set ourselves on to a stubborn path that doesn’t allow us to do things differently.
So let’s ask ourselves a question instead this year. See where it takes you. You might be pleasantly surprised.