Forget New Year resolutions ? Do this instead

Tuesday, January 01, 2019
I’m no fan of New Year resolutions, they are usually a knee jerk response to over- indulgence at Christmas. We can also endeavour to ‘resolve’ issues or challenges at any time of the year. However, as we move into 2017, we have an opportunity to connect with that sense of possibility and potential for the year ahead.

Goal-setting is the concept at the heart of all personal development work. We will use a range of phrases such as – ‘starting with the end in mind,’ ‘knowing your outcome,’ ‘forging a results-focussed mind-set,’ ‘launching a rocket of desire,’ and my favourite – ‘setting your intention.’ Many people struggle with the idea of goal-setting as pondering that powerful question ‘what do I want?’ brings to the surface limiting beliefs concerning worthiness. Others can be quite expert on setting short-term goals, such as their daily ‘to do’ list, but rarely contemplate the bigger picture of their life trajectory.

As a coach, I’m constantly refining my goal-setting questions and frameworks. A personal favourite is wrapped around the acronym PEACE. Not only it is an insightful and practical framework, it spells out what deep down most of us are seeking.

My invitation to you is to grab a pen and paper, a glass of something chilled, or a mug of something warm and give yourself the gift of reflecting upon the questions that follow.

What do you want to Preserve?

When we appreciate everything that is working well in our lives, our energy is aligned for achieving, for taking inspired action and for allowing more good fortune to flow to us. All spiritual teachers reference cultivating an attitude of gratitude and it’s also a central principle when it comes to the Law of Attraction.

  • How can I celebrate all that is great in my life?
  • What am I grateful for right now?
  • What do I want to preserve and nurture in my life? 

What do you want to Eliminate?

To create something new in our lives, or devote more time and energy to a new pursuit, we have to create the space for it. We have to say goodbye to something that is not working to say hello to something fresh and more exciting.

In a business context, we use the term ‘working smarter,’ that is, identifying what you are no longer going to do and to stop doing it. We can also ‘work smarter’ when it comes to personal life! Before we can more forward we have to drop what is holding us back. This may be a relationship that is not working, despite our best efforts, or a behavioural or thinking habit that is beyond its sell-by date. We identify the dead horse that we simply have to stop flogging!

  • What is no longer working in my life?
  • Where have I compromised too much?
  • How could my life be simpler?
  • What do I need to let go of?

What should I simply Accept?

There are times when we are faced with issues or challenges that cannot be resolved or removed. In the short-term at least the only solution is acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up; it’s about making peace with ‘what is.’

There is tremendous power in acceptance. Most stress arises because we argue with reality. Our expectation is for something other than ‘what is.’ In a spiritual context we could use the word surrender. As the late Wayne Dyer said ‘I can choose peace at any time.’ You don’t need to fight an unwinnable battle.

  • What/ Who do I need to accept?
  • Am I willing to continue to invest my time, energy, even well-being into resolving an unresolvable issue?
  • Who do I need to forgive?
  • Where can I choose peace, instead of trying to prove I’m right?
  • What is a certain situation asking of me that I’m still withholding?

What do I want to Create in my life?

Traditional goal-setting focuses on this one – creation – identifying the achievements, things, results or experiences you want to bring into your life. At its essence, creation and manifestation starts by brainstorming that most powerful question – what do I want?

The mind-set is here is one of curiosity and being open to receiving (just like a child writing a letter to Santa!) We should not let the ‘how’ prevent us from dreaming the ‘what.’

The question- ‘what do I want?’ is big and broad and it can make sense to break it down for each aspect of our lives. For example, what do I want in the context of my career/work? What do I want in terms of my relationships, health, finances etc.?

What Emotions do I want to experience more frequently or more deeply?

As humans we are emotional beings. We are experiencing emotions all the time. Behind every goal, every desired outcome (and indeed behaviour) is a request to feel more of a positive emotion. So we can cut to the chase and ask – what are the emotions I would like to experience more of? (joy, excitement, love, fun.) When you identify the emotions you want to connect with more frequently, you can then hone in on specific questions. For example,

  • How can I experience more joy?
  • What can I do to have more excitement in my life?
  • Where can I display more courage?
  • How can I connect with a sense of peace on an even deeper level?

We all seek to satisfy our individual definitions of success. We also crave a sense of fulfilment. The clue is in the word – I want to be ‘filled-full,’ overflowing with well-being, positivity, joy and love, the full embodiment of the highest expression of myself.

Ultimately, you are the expert on being you. If you are seeking new insights, new solutions to old problems you start by asking new questions. Hopefully the above questions will be keys, helping you to unlock your inner wisdom so you can continue your journey towards the fullest expression of yourself.

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