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Are You “Over” Your New Year’s Resolutions? Try Doing This Instead

What to do when the willpower wears off and the "New Year, New You!" mantra gets old

Photo by Andrea Davis on Unplash
Photo by Andrea Davis on Unplash

According to U.S. News & World Report, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions is about 80%, and most of us throw in the towel by mid-February.

Willpower and the “New Year, New You!” mantras don’t seem to sustain us. We need to connect with something deeper.

What can we do instead of making New Year’s Resolutions?

How Do You Want to Feel?

Six years ago, I was in a bookstore in an eclectic neighborhood in Baltimore and was drawn to the cover of one of the books. I started reading the first few pages and was intrigued.

Instead of making an uninspired (and, often overwhelming) “to do” list at the turn of each new year, the author suggested we identify how we want to FEEL. From there, get curious about what you’d have to do to feel that way and do those things more often.

The process of doing this is what Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map, calls declaring our “core desired feelings.” Instead of setting arbitrary goals that are logically based (what you think you “should” do) try setting heart-centered intentions (what your soul yearns to do).

Consider how you’d answer this question:

At the start of each year, I spend some time thinking about how I want to FEEL in the year ahead. 

Once we get clear on how we want to feel, we can spend our time and energy being intentional about how to generate those feelings, as we craft an inspired vision for how we want our lives to be.

I’ve been doing this exercise for the past six years and have been pleasantly surprised by how impactful this practice has been. It’s amazing how much clarity going through this process has brought me and the thousands of other people who have done the same each year.

For 2020, here are my core desired feelings and intentions:

1) I am rooted in HOPE. 

Hope is a feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen. Hope reflects belief, confidence, faith, promises fulfilled, and a joyful anticipation. Hope is what I want to name a daughter one day.

When I think about being rooted in hope, I think of being deeply and firmly grounded – that hope is the posture from which I make decisions and respond to opportunities.

As a self-employed business woman, it can be easy to let overwhelm get the best of me. The very nature of having your own business requires you to be a bit of a risk taker, to bet on yourself and to be okay with a degree of uncertainty. If I lose hope in myself and my ability to do the work I’m called to do, it’ll negatively affect every area of my life. I’ll show up smaller, more fearful, guarded and paranoid.

Being rooted in hope reminds me to trust the plan and path for my life. It reminds me to believe that a power beyond my own ability is with me and within me, guiding me to what is best for me in my business. A posture of hope encourages me to have confidence that is what is meant for me will not pass by me. When I feel doubt start to creep in, I can remind myself that I have the promise of HOPE to hold on to for strength, courage and perseverance.

Reflect: How would your life change if it were rooted in a posture of HOPE?

Photo by Ron Smith on Unsplash

2) I offer myself and others GRACE.

This.is.HARD.

It’s really hard.

I’ve always been a high achiever and don’t have a whole lot of patience with myself when it comes to moving forward and what I accomplish in a given day. I can mentally beat myself up when I apply for a speaking or training opportunity and am not selected. I can give myself a hard time for what I have not yet done that I “should” have finished (or started) by now. I can be a fault-finder and can become the greatest impediment to my own success.

Sometimes it’s hard to offer compassion, kindness and patience to others, especially when they break promises, don’t follow through, or act in ways that annoy or frustrate us. We call people in our lives who test our compassion, kindness and grace “EGRs” – “Extra Grace Required.”

I know I’m not the only one who struggles to fill my mind with an attitude of grace-giving, but I know how much fuller and happier my life is when I do.

Grace reflects a sense of compassion, goodness, generosity, kindness, love and tenderness. I love that word – tenderness – it reflects a caring concern for the wellbeing of and a certain softness toward other people and ourselves. When I offer myself and others grace, I don’t get so frazzled. I’m able to stay level-headed. I don’t give away my power and energy as a result of impatience, frustration, bitterness or resentment.

That’s why I’m committing to giving (and receiving) grace this year.

Reflect: How would your life change if you offered yourself and others GRACE?

Photo by Greg Weaver on Unsplash

3) I am RADIANT.

love this word.

My friend, Rex Miller, walked me through an exercise almost three years ago called the “Intentional Difference” and as a result of that multi-hour, deep dive life interview process, we arrived at “radiant” as my intentional difference or the quality that makes me stand out.

The word, “radiant,” has been on my list of core desired feelings for six years.

To be RADIANT is to be bright and bold, to send out light, to shine or glow brightly, to be beaming, brilliant, and gleaming. When I’m at my best, I radiate a positive, life-giving, inviting energy into the world that people can feel.

I feel radiant when I’m speaking, teaching, presenting and singing. I feel radiant when I’m sharing my story – all of it, not just the positive parts. I feel radiant when I’m dancing, wearing a brightly colored outfit, traveling with my husband, spending time with my nieces and nephews, or being in community with people who energize me. I’m also radiant when I eat nourishing foods that make my skin glow and my body feel energized. That’s my primary motivation for eating the way that I do.

When I find myself shrinking or operating from a scarcity mindset, I am being the opposite of radiant. I am dimming my own light instead of spreading and sharing it. I know I’m not the only one who does that. Too many of us dim our own lights to appease others or because we fear it.

In her book, A Return to Love, Marianne Williamson writes one of my favorite passages about what radiance looks like:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Let those words inspire and empower you as you enter a new year. 

All of us where made to shine.

Reflect: What would your life look like this year if you gave yourself permission to shine?

Photo by Thomas Kinto on Unsplash

Your Core Desired Feelings

Now, it’s your turn…

  1. Ask yourself how you want to feel in 2020. If you need help with ideas, click here.
  2. Decide what you’ll do to generate those feelings. What do you do or can you do to make yourself feel that way? Refer to my lists above for some ideas.
  3. If you want to create one of the cool word picture images like the one you see above, download the free Word Swag app here. If you do, tag me on LinkedIn as Rachel Druckenmiller or at @UnmutedLife on Instagram! I’d love to see what you create.

Here’s to a hope-filled, grace-FULL, radiant new year!

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