The New Year and its associated 'goals' or 'resolutions' can be both a time to inspire and motivate change, or a time to unintentionally add stress and pressure to our already busy lives. Although we can create ‘resolutions’ for positive change at any time of the year, day, or even hour, doing so at the New Year can be symbolic and exactly what some people need to motivate themselves to get going. However, for others, it can add unnecessary pressure and set one up for disappointment and feelings of failure if the goals are not maintained straight away.
If you are someone who is already hard on yourself or you feel under a lot of pressure, or New Year's resolutions in the past have created change for only a few days or weeks before making you feel like you've failed if you skip a day/week/whatever in your goal, we invite you to consider doing things a different way...
Begin by sitting quietly for a moment and imagining what you‘d like to look and feel like at the end of 2021, in all areas of your life. Have a pen and paper ready to write down the ideas that come to mind.
Examples of areas to consider:
· Physical: health, fitness, wellbeing
· Mental: mind, learning, wisdom, mood
· Work: career, service, contribution
· Love: family, relationships, connection
· Social: community, fun, connection
· Financial: wealth, financial security, spending, saving
· Spiritual: practices, connection
Imagine yourself a year from now. Who do you want to be? How do you want to feel? Consider what habits or rituals you might have, what traits you might have developed. Be gentle and realistic, but also don't be afraid to dream! Continue writing down the ideas that come to mind.
These will become your ‘resolutions’, in the form of visualisations and positive manifestations. Studies show that visualisation or 'manifesting', creating mental images of the future, can help improve performance and change one's reality. Therefore, rather than making goals that you can 'achieve' or 'not achieve', these visualisations can serve as an inspiration and guide for your behaviour and choices throughout the year.
The key to successful visualisation is thinking as if it has already happened, that you have already achieved what you are wanting. To convert your ideas from the above exercise into clear visualisations, start each sentence with a definite, as follows:
"I have a physically fit and healthy body, resulting from regular movement."
"I enjoy learning and speaking Spanish."
"I am a great saver."
"I am a kind and loving person."
"I have a fulfilling job that I look forward to each day."
"I am calm and manage stress well as a result of my regular meditation practice."
James Clear, in his book Atomic Habits, writes about how successful habits begin with identity. You must first know who you want to become! This will then serve to guide your choices. By shifting your focus from the outcome e.g. "I will run 3 times per week", to the identity "I am fit, healthy, and love running", you can then take small steps that reinforce your identity, letting your identity drive your habits. You can of course then create specific goals to work at based upon this identity, if this is something that motivates you.
Above all, please remember that you are not a failure if you do not manage to achieve all you wish straight away. You are human. Keep your visualisations in mind and let them gently guide you as you make choices throughout the year. If you find yourself drifting away from this path, and this 'identity' you have written about, remind yourself of your 'why'. Why did you create these visualisations? Why do you wish to feel/be this way? Let this motivate you to continue moving forward, rather than any guilt or pressure.
If you would like further guidance with goal-setting, especially in the realm of health & wellbeing, our practitioners are experienced in helping their clients create and maintain long-lasting changes. Please feel free to get in touch.