Wisdom//

New Year’s Resolutions

What you can learn from the butterfly about setting effective goals

Image: Noah Silliman | Unsplash.com

Before you make your resolution this New Year, I want you to be like a butterfly.

Yes, it’s time for New Year’s resolutions again. Or, perhaps more accurately, it’s that time when most of us start brain-bashing ourselves for the promises we didn’t keep last year, and when we start formulating a new list of obligations and expectations for 2017.

Resolutions can be powerful tools for positive change; they help us clarify our desires and set firm, mental intentions. But sadly, for most of us, the concept of New Year’s promises has become less about positive intentions and more about societal expectation, self-admonishment and inauthentic goal setting.

Really. Think about it. These days most New Year’s Resolutions start with an inner-monologue that goes something like “I am so <insert self-criticism here> and I really should be more <insert quality you, or the people around you, believe you currently lack>”.


And that’s the trouble with most resolutions … and the reason so many fail. We have become a society where doing what you ‘should’ is more important than doing what you ‘want’. And, trust me. What you ‘should’ do, or be, or have, or believe has nothing to do with your authentic needs, your natural skills and drivers or your inherent personal strength.

Which brings me to our butterfly. The monarch butterfly to be specific.

Nature is full of incredible examples of endurance, resilience and overcoming the odds to reach a distant goal. For example, every year the monarch butterfly flies on its delicate wings from the cool climes of Canada to the tropical forests of Central America — a distance of more than 7500 kilometers.

Doesn’t it make you wonder? If a tiny, fragile butterfly can endure a grueling 7500km journey each year, then surely you can lose 5kg … or learn to run 15km … or declutter your cupboards … or learn German … or, well, you get the picture.

But the big difference between most of us and the butterfly … and it is a BIG difference … is the source of the inspiration behind this commitment. Do you think butterfly undertakes this journey because she thinks she ‘should’? Hell, no. Does she compare herself to the other butterflies and believe she will be less of an insect if she doesn’t complete the task. No way. Is she pressured to take flight because it’s just the way things are done and she would be ostracized if she doesn’t partake. Surely, no.

Each year, monarch butterflies are able to fly further than most of us would ever drive in a single journey, and they do it because of a natural, instinctive and inescapable desire to do so. They fly because they want to. They fly because they cannot see life any other way.

And that same natural, instinctive and inescapable desire resides inside of you. For something; for many things; for whatever will bring you an incredible sense of well-being, accomplishment and natural affinity with life.


The New Year offers us all a great opportunity to get clear about what we ‘want’ for ourselves. Do you believe you should lose 5kg because it’s an appealing number on your bathroom scales … or do you want to eat more nutritionally because you’d love to feel more energized? Do you believe you should join a gym … or do you want to honor your body with regular movement and exercise and revel in the good mood and lightness of thought it offers you? Do you think you should study because you are concerned others will judge your current education status, or do you want to spend that time in self-reflection and healing so that you can enjoy more forgiveness, mindfulness and self-acceptance?

This year, if you use the word ‘should’ when describing the reasons behind your New Year’s resolution, then you can bet that you are creating a commitment for yourself that is based on obligation and expectation. When you do something because you ‘should’ there is an inherent resistance to the situation; you are inviting in struggle, resentment and ultimate disappointment.

In contrast, when you commit to something because you want to, you are fully aligned with the decision: body, mind and soul. You will have the determination you need, the energy you require and the willpower to see it through — because it will come from a source of unlimited, authentic desire. This kind of desire can make anything happen.

Just ask the butterfly.


Originally published at kimforresterwellness.blogspot.com


Kim Forrester is an award-winning author, educator and intuitive consultant with over 15 years’ experience as a professional intuitive and spiritual teacher. She combines cutting edge science with traditional spirituality to offer the latest understandings of psi, consciousness and holistic well being. Find out more at www.kimforrester.net

Originally published at medium.com

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