At the beginning of each year, many people make New Year’s Resolutions – some choose to, some feel pressured to. Which camp do you fall into?

In and of themselves, there’s nothing wrong with resolutions. They can be a great motivator to changing one’s life in so many ways. In January the gyms are full of people who have decided to “take control of their weight and health”, the pubs and clubs are less full because people are opting for a “more healthy lifestyle”, and so on. Will it last? For some people it will be just the thing they needed to give them the impetus to take more control of their lives and direction. For many, it’s just another rod to beat themselves up with if they fail to continue with this “new regime” for longer than a few weeks at best.

So why do we do it? Resolutions at the beginning of the year I mean? Well it’s a new year, so a new start. It’s a good time to let go of the old and start something fresh. A clean slate (as it were). What we tend to forget, though, is that every single moment is new! Every single moment brings with it new opportunities to do something differently. We do not have to wait for another 365 days to pass before we choose to do some things differently. Oooh – now there’s a powerful word “Choose”! Feel the difference between these two phrases:

- Have to
- Choose to

“Having” to do something means that we are not in control of it. It can also mean that we are doing something to please or prove something to other people. Think about weightloss – are you losing weight to feel good about yourself and to feel healthy or are you doing it to please others and make them think better of you? What about giving up smoking? Are you giving it up because of your health and perhaps to save money, or are you doing it to make other people more accepting of you? What about giving up drinking? Indeed, giving up anything. What is the rational and motivation behind it?

Further, when you make your resolutions – are you doing them from a place of feeling great about starting something new, or are you doing them because you feel forced and/or will feel bad if you don’t at least “give it a go”?

You see our motivation and feelings behind why we do things are predictors of whether we will actually succeed. The Ego is also a bit of a rebel (actually it can be quite a lot of a rebel at times!) and so it often goes out of its way to make us fail when it feels it’s being forced into doing something rather than feeling in control.

Now, thinking about resolutions, they’re often about “Giving something up” or “taking something on”. What about continuing to do what worked really well for you last year? Momentary pause for gasp of realisation! Think about it. Not everything you did last year was a complete failure – in fact I’m willing to bet the most of it wasn’t! So if it worked really well last year, and made you feel good, why not resolve to continue doing it this year? Things change of course, but not everything needs to change at the same time. It’s all about balance and self realisation.

Resolutions can be so disempowering and pressuring if they’re not adopted from a place of choice and feeling good. The best way to decide what you’d like to achieve, accomplish, undertake, or experience is to begin by feeling good about where you are right now. THEN you can think about what else would make you feel great from experiencing or achieving throughout the year.

So. You can choose to choose, or you can choose to feel forced. It’s entirely up to you. Remember, choosing to do something is empowering and gives you freedom. Having to do something creates a big stick to sit there waiting for you to fail. Enjoy your choosing!

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Comment by Alun Jones on January 5, 2011 at 2:52am

Thanks for your contribution, Panagiotis.  Congratulations too on letting go of all the weight :)  I know these things can be challenging at first, and it's so worth it in the end.  I agree completely - don't spread the energy too widely. Small changes in a couple of significant areas can have much more of an effect than trying to make lots of changes in lots of areas. You're more likely to succeed with focused effort too.

 

I also agree that everything is not all about success or failure - further, I don't really believe in failure, just different outcomes.  Life is one long journey of experiences that help us grow and, just because we set out with one destination in mind, it doesn't mean we have to finish up there.

 

Wishing you continued success and upliftment in 2011 and beyond!

Blessings

Alun

Comment by Panagiotis on January 3, 2011 at 4:54am

A year a go i made a choice and stuck by it right through. I made a choice because i had become hugely overweight. I knew it would not be easy and i knew it would take a lot of time and lots of effort and most of all patience. I look at my progress now and i look back to where i started a year ago and i can tell you there’s a huge difference. Did i know i was going to pull through and continue? NO i did NOT. My choice was based on a fifty, fifty mix of HAVE TO, CHOOSE TO. One part of me knew i HAD to no matter what and the other part of me chose a BETTER WAY OF LIVING............ The important thing about resolutions is not to spread your energy to widely. The other most important thing is to know yourself and to know that time takes care of its self. I think one of the things that eventually derails a resolution is the sheer time it takes for goals to be realized. Setting unrealistic targets and looking for quick fixes ends

resolutions very quickly. That stick you're talking about....... well its going to have to wait a long, long time for me i.e. : - ) Obviously what you're saying makes sense. For years i have been victim to the same thing, starting out strong and ending dismally a month later when i realize i cannot cope with the added activities. At least now i know my self well enough ( from past examples) to know when NOT to succumb to outrageous new years resolution pitfalls. However I think that no matter how unrealistic new years resolutions may be, They are well worth pursuing. Not everything is about success or failure.

Wishing you a healthy happy new year.

 

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