How to set new years resolutions that work is a question I’m regularly asked by clients frustrated they haven’t followed through on their new year goals. This year I’m using a new approach that is much more likely to lead to success. Why? Because it turns the normal process on its head and reduces the constriction and expectations surrounding typical new years’ resolutions.
How Does This New Approach to New Years’ Resolutions Work?
There are three secrets in the sauce:
Secret One: Focus on what worked for you in 2019
Often when we’re setting new years’ resolutions – be it for our weight, health, finances, business or career or relationships – we’re looking critically at what didn’t work. This means we’re more focused on what is wrong with a situation versus what is right. Too much time spent hauling ourselves over the coals means we have little chance of discovering what worked well so we can do it again.
I learnt the power of ‘focusing on what works’ from one of my gorgeous art teachers. She told me when I was feeling stuck and overwhelmed on a canvas – not sure what to do next – to focus on what was working on the canvas rather than what wasn’t.
Even if the area that was working was just one small inch square that was the best place to start.
The same applies for our lives – if we spend more time reviewing what did work in 2019 we move our focus into the positive and can learn valuable lessons that we can apply for the coming year.
I did my 2019 review this week and found some vital clues that will set me up for an even more enjoyable, abundant and successful 2020.
Secret Two: Take the pressure off – only set intentions for what matters most to you
2020, as the start of a decade, offers a fresh clean slate for not only this year but the coming 10 years. It really is one of those major milestone years on the calendar. The problem with these sorts of milestone years is that they bring incredible expectations. This is the year we’re meant to “do it all” and deal with all of our past mistakes all at once. Talk about ramping up the pressure!
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your life. In 2019 I found when I focused on what mattered most to me everything else fell into place.
So let’s take the pressure off – this year focus on one or two things that matter the most to you. What is closest to your heart?
Secret Three : Reframe Your Resolution As An Intention Not a “Do or Die” Goal
This is also about taking the pressure off and opening ourselves up to the infinite possibilities of an intention rather than a deadline-driven goal.
Now I am a reformed Type-A perfectionist with a tendency to anxiety so I know this secret might be causing a little hyperventilation out there. The fact is that when we put the pressure on ourselves to achieve to a high-level goal, by a given deadline, we can exhaust ourselves, suck the fun out of the whole experience and miss ALOT of valuable inspiration along the way.
This is why we need to reframe our tightly held goals as more general intentions.
How to Reframe a Goal as an Intention
So what do I mean by reframing a goal as an intention? In a nutshell I mean loosening the heck up and allowing inspiration in.
What does this mean in practice? The best way to explain is with an experience I had this year.
In 2019 I realised I wanted to uplevel my health and wellbeing by improving the oxygenation in my brain. I knew from my time as a runner that the oxygen I received while running was extremely beneficial to my mental and general health. (Due to some neck issues I can no longer run.) I was already feeling good but looking for a new edge within myself. And I felt that more oxygen would do it.
So instead of slavishly setting a goal and pursuing it relentlessly, I set the general, yet clear, intention to oxygenate my body to improve my general wellbeing. The only criteria for the intention was the new activity needed to be a little more low impact than running and something I could work into my daily routine. I wasn’t sure how it would happen but I was open to any ideas.
In short I put my intention clearly out to the universe … and then I left it alone. I trusted an answer would come in good time and I did not fixate or focus on it.
Not long after my friend Julie mentioned she’d gone back to Kundalini Yoga and sent me a YouTube link.
I opened that link and after a few more clicks I found a short kundalini lymphatic drainage routine that takes about 10 minutes to do.
It was brilliant and within days I was hooked. Not only was this new routine delivering me oxygen, but it was also an easy add-on to my morning routine. And it provided a major bonus … superb drainage for my lymph system (one of the hardest to address systems in the body). It was a complete bonus as a detoxifier.
Then within two months bonus #2 happened – this simple routine cleared me of quite severe hormonal headaches.
The difference in this approach was the level of ease and the outstanding results that it delivered.
I’ll be using this exact same approach in 2020 in all areas of my life.
Why Not Try This New Approach?
So if you’re in the market to make some changes in 2020 but you don’t want the frustration, pressure or overwhelm of a typical new year resolution I encourage you to give this new low-fuss, low stress and high-success approach a go. Please share with me in the comments! I’d love to hear your experiences.