The thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they always seem to feel a little more like a burden than a joy don’t they? As the clock ticks down from midnight, there’s a rush to commit to a meaningful switch in behaviour promising us life-changing benefits. Greater happiness, improved health, significant weight loss, increased prosperity, more tranquillity…inner peace…..and with the resolution comes the belief that if we say it out loud we somehow make it more sustainable, more believable, more achievable…..within our grasp.
My own experience of making a resolution is that it very quickly becomes a layer of guilt that wraps itself around my conscious thoughts, getting heavier, and feeling more like failure, the closer I get to breaking it. And it is only a matter of time before I seem to break it.
I stopped making resolutions some time ago. I realised that, instead of searching for an elusive, elegant, single sentence articulating what I wanted to stop doing, I was better off deciding what I wanted more of in my life, and to start to move towards those goals positively. The subtle difference appears to be that resolutions are largely commitments to move away from things that aren’t working for us…..stop spending money we can’t afford….stop over-eating …..stop smoking ….stop procrastinating and just get on with it…..stop…stop….stop.
When I altered my focus from stopping things I didn’t want in my life anymore, to starting things I did want, I found myself to be more positively motivated towards what I wanted.
It’s an interesting perspective, and one that Rhonda Byrne explores very eloquently in ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Secret-The Power’ (Simon & Schuster).
Rhonda talks about moving our conscious thoughts away from negativity and towards positivity:
“If you give more than 50 percent positive thoughts and feelings instead of negative, you have reached a tipping point. Even if you just give 51 percent good thoughts and good feelings, you have tipped the scales in your life!”
The theory behind Rhonda’s powerfully effective philosophy for getting what you want in your life, is the belief that when you emit signals of positivity about what you wish for in your life, you receive back not just what you asked for, but even more. Positive thoughts attract positive thoughts – everything is magnetic energy. When something positive comes back to you, it magnetically attracts more positivity on its journey back to you.
Can you recall a time when you consciously thought that something was going to go wrong, and it did? Rapidly followed by a sequence of more negative experiences? The same principle applies – if you send out negative energy, you get negative energy back, which attracts more negative energy as it travels back to you.
So, why is how we frame things in our minds so important to enabling us to be motivated to achieve the goals we wish for?
In NLP, when a practitioner works with a client on their motivational strategies, a key aspect of enabling the client to be more consistently motivated to achieve the goals they want, is to understand how they are motivated.
There are two forms of motivation: away from, and towards. The direction of our energy is central to how consistently we work towards achieving our goals, and how disciplined we are about them.
An example of ‘away from’ motivation might be “I don’t want to submit my report late”. The direction of motivation here is to move away from missing a deadline. This source of motivation results in pulling out all the stops at the 11th hour to get the report done. We might achieve the goal, though we use far more energy and effort using this approach.
A far more effective source of motivation might be “I want to produce a quality, in-depth report with time to reflect on it and make sure it is a polished product”. The direction of motivation here is to move towards producing a quality piece of work.
Both sources of motivation achieve the goal. Which approach is likely, over time, to be more draining, to use more energy, feel more like a burden, more likely to cause anxious thoughts, to potentially result in not hitting the deadline? Which approach sounds like an obstacle in your path? And ultimately, may result in inconsistent performance or failure to achieve the goal?
When we set our goals in positive terms, we are motivating ourselves towards achieving what we want.
Reflect on the resolutions you may have set for yourself on New Year’s Eve. How many of them are about stopping something old? How many about starting something new?
Think about how you have framed them in your conscious mind? When you say the words to yourself do you feel a sense of happiness, a sense of joy, a sense of delight that when you have achieved the goal you will be in a happier, more joyful, delightful place?
And finally, when you think about your resolutions, have you chosen them to make a difference for you, starting today?
“One day of good feelings not only changes your day, it changes your tomorrow, and your life! Provided you maintain your good feelings and you go to sleep feeling good, you begin the next day with a momentum of good feelings….. your good feelings continue to multiply…and so it continues day after day, and your life gets better and better”. ‘ The Secret-The Power’ (Simon & Schuster).
It is your thoughts today that count. These thoughts will shape the decisions and actions you take today. They will influence your thoughts tomorrow – and your actions and decisions tomorrow. Make them count. Give yourself all the drive and energy you need to maintain your motivation to achieve the goals you want. Make them positive.
“Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don’t rent them out to tomorrow”. Jerry Spinelli ‘The Secret-The Power’ (Simon & Schuster)
If you would like help setting goals…and achieving them…stop smoking…lose weight…change career direction….get rid of a limiting phobia……or simply to have more happiness in your life….call Potentia for an informal chat about your hopes and needs and start your journey towards getting what you want in your life.
Happy New Day!