How to make the best resolutions and create that life you long for.
Stop making big, crazy stressful goals and start making a change to your life one step at time.
Why do we think it’s effective to create massive, overwhelming goals for ourselves for the entire year? In this blog I explore another way of creating heart-based goals that will help you change your life for good.
If you are making a resolution at this time of year, or just planning out your goals and dreams for 2019 then this could be the blog you’ve been waiting for! Think about these resolutions or goals in a new way and open up new possibilities.
I’m a fan of making a start. Just taking that small step forward. Showing up and saying yes. So let’s try to think about our goals and resolutions like that, a series of small steps that snowball into a bigger picture.
It’s a big deal to make a small start
Think about your resolution or dream as a Greek temple, visualise the four strong pillars that hold it up at each corner. These are the four pillars of resolution; Choice, Purpose, Momentum and Loving Goals.
Pillar 1 - Choice
Your dreams, resolutions and plans are yours, no-one else’s. So you need to start by choosing them wisely. If you can hear your internal voice saying ‘I should’ or ‘I must’ or ‘They think I should’ or ‘I always have’ then ring that alarm bell! These are hot words and nearly always relate to the stories you tell yourself or the baggage you believe from others. They aren’t your true choices, just things you have told yourself you must do.
Choosing creates freedom - a freedom to follow your heart and aim for what you truly want in your life. Creating that freedom means making room for yourself in your own life. That could be a whole range of things from the emotional to the practical.
Making room for yourself will mean saying no. Often to yourself. If you find it hard to say no then practice, remember we are going one step at a time here! Although we have a huge capacity our resources are not infinite. You will need your time, energy, passion, commitment, body, mind and spirit to accomplish the dreams you have - and that means keeping some of that back for yourself.
Choose the easy way to do things. Not easy goals necessarily, but ways to make the process as smooth as possible. Reach out for support, learn new skills, give yourself time.
Pillar 2 - Purpose
Ensuring you have a sense of purpose for this resolution that’s based in your values is the only way to make it succeed. Finding meaning or purpose in your new life goals will be the thing that makes them happen. Viktor E Frankl in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ came to the conclusion that it is the freedom to choose and the purpose you find in your own life, when all else is stripped away, that gives you a sense of having lived.
Consider your personal values. If they are floating around in your head then take the time to write them down, meditate on them or discuss them. Work them out, they are your yellow brick road to an authentic life. If you choose a resolution or dream that is in opposition to your values then it is unlikely to succeed. Values drive your motivation and you want bunches of that to make it happen, right?
You can play the long game here too. Purpose and meaning is often part of a larger plan. Sometimes breaking your resolution down into smaller parts that snowball into creating a bigger picture can feel weird. You wouldn’t necessarily choose some of the smaller goals on their own, but as part of a greater picture then it works.
Pillar 3 - Momentum
Don’t paralyse yourself with over the top goals, just take it one step at a time. We’ve all succumbed to this one, wanting something so bad that we set ourselves the goals of creating it right then and there. It’s a bit like perfectionism it catches you in the headlights, it stops you moving forward and it becomes overwhelming.
Making a small start can be the scariest part! The steps you take once you are underway can seem more natural and flowing, but that first step or two? Wowzers… they can really be tough. It could be an inner action you need to take - a commitment inside yourself, making space, saying no, or it could be an outer, more practical action. But whatever it is make it a small step. I can’t say this enough,
Make your first step so small it feels easy
Once you are underway you have momentum, which breeds more action, easiness breeds more confidence and accomplishment (no matter how small) breeds self-belief. Taking a small step in the right direction will ultimately create much more traction that trying to take a giant leap.
Smaller steps create more sense of journey too. A values journey through life is not linear, there will be all sorts of alternatives along the way. You could rush from point A to Z at 70mph down the motorway, no rest breaks, no scenery, no radio playing, or, you could take the scenic route, stop for a few picnics, call in and see your friends, sing along to the music… They both reach the same destination.
Your life doesn’t start once you reach your goal. You life is happening right now in this very moment
Allow yourself to enjoy the journey. Don’t miss out on those collaborations, alternatives, ideas and unexpected detours, that’s where the fun is!
Pillar 4 - Loving Goals
Shift your context around goal setting - create them from the heart and see the magic happen. Goal setting can be very rational and linear but that’s not what we’re trying to create here is it? I’m all for setting timelines, resources, commitments and the rest but they shouldn’t be the driving force behind what you’re creating. Your desires and dreams should be.
Jess Lee at The Spark Effect is a neuroscience and mindset coach, she has come up with a wonderful, alternative way of setting loving, heart-based, kind goals. Her method allows us to enjoy the process, to tune in to our intuition and celebrate our own achievements. Here it is - SPARK.
S - Specific. What do I really want, truly? Why do I want this? This is all about your values, purpose and choices.
P - Problem. What challenges might I face? Will these be from others or (quite likely) from my own head?
A - Action. What actions can I take to overcome them? Create an easy path for yourself with plan B’s, support and skills before you even face your challenges!
R - Reflect. Reflect on the process, on what you have achieved, what’s held you back, where you did really well. Learn from it.
K - Kindness. Celebrate whatever you have achieved. Remember the first few steps can seem the hardest! What was I really good at? Where has it taken me on the path to my dream? Keep thinking of that big picture.
Dream big but start small
Create your life plan or resolution in a positive environment. Set intentions from a place of understanding your values and purpose in life. Break them down and keep moving forwards. Celebrate how far you’ve come.
I’d love to hear all about your dreams, please reach out or leave a comment on the blog.