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#32: How to (Finally) Make a New Year Resolution that Lasts

I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.

– Carl Jung

I love the energy surrounding New Years because it open up the possibility for a lot of people to make change in their life.

We know that most people don’t continue on with their New Year resolution, and the reason for that is that they haven’t worked on chancing their inner identity. They may want to exercise, but they’re still inside the person who doesn’t exercise. They may want to work less, but they’re still a workaholic at heart.

Then there’s the people who generate energy from an intense desire who make the change, and they make it last past the first few weeks of the new year.

The good news is, we can learn to generate that intense desire to make the changes that are most important to us.

In this podcast I’m going to walk you through this thought process to create a resolution that sticks this year and generate that intense desire you actually need to create the results you want. I’m also going to share with you a tool that will help you with this after you’ve listened to this episode.

RESOURCES

Get my favorite 99 Mantras to melt stress and boost your drive ~ PDF and free audio training

Visualization Roadmap

Read more…partial transcript

I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung

I want to talk to the lawyers listening (reading this). 

I want you to take a deep breath, hold it at the top. Open your mouth and release it.

Feel that release throughout your body. Imagine if you could clear out your 2018 and make way for a 2019 full of ease and let go of the overwhelm. As lawyers we pick up habits and loosen boundaries to devote ourselves to our work. The problem is, some of these habits and released boundaries are detrimental to the work we’re trying to do and the important relationships around us.

Okay, let’s talk resolutions.

At its fundamentals it’s goal setting. We’re resolving that we’ll do something differently than we did last year.

Goal setting is an art. It takes practice because to do it right requires getting in touch with yourself and seeing where there’s resistance. 

To make a goal worthwhile, it must be a bit scary. Our brain tells us, “Um, wouldn’t you rather sit in your comfy chair with hot tea and watch TV?” My response: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Usually it comes from a place of, “I should DO X because it’s good for me.”
We’re going to do something differently this year. We’re going to do an exercise to help us work backwards.

Keep an open mind on this. Our brain will resist this because it’s so different from how we’ve been taught to muscle through things.

Muscling through may’ve got us to where we are, but it’s not going to help us get where we want to go.

If you’re thinking about making change in your life, then you know that our thinking got us here, so it makes sense that we must change our thinking to get us moving in a different direction.

You’ll want to listen to this podcast more than once. I’ve also included a free tool that walks through the steps I’m outlining here called the Visualization Roadmap. 

First, let’s discover what you want to work on this year. 

You may know exactly what you want to do differently. Or you may want to brainstorm.

If you don’t know, then think about this statement: “Our outside world reflects our inside world.” Is there something you see regularly that you’re tired of seeing.

I looked up one morning and saw clutter in my kitchen, and I noticed I have cluttered areas in my house. On my desk, on my dresser, in my bathroom. I realized that this outside clutter makes me feel anxious inside. It’s a type of inside clutter. I don’t have time to feel anxious. That is not something I need more of in my life.

What do you see in your outside world that may be impacting you internally?

What are your values? We don’t follow through on our goals when they’re not aligned with our values. What do we value in our life? 

Write them out.

  • Not create stacks of papers – don’t leave things undone. 
  • Exercise more to feel good
  • Focus on my health

Second, visualize the result.

Be specific.

In my example, I'm focussing on creating more mental space by creating more physical space.

My home and office are clean of stacks of papers. Everything has a place. I eliminate things that I don’t use. My counters and desk are clean and clear. When I see clutter, I make the time to handle it.

Third, what do you feel when you have the desired result?

Why is this important? We’re not taught to feel. If anything, we’re taught to ignore feelings because they get in the way.

We’re taught to muscle through our feelings to get the job done. I experienced the problem with this first hand. It creates a low level anxiety in our body that is unhealthy. It lets adrenaline run our actions and infuse our body. A little stress can help create growth, but chronic stress is detrimental to our bodies.

Scientific American reported in 2010:

“[C]hronic stress can increase the risk of diseases such as depression, heart disease and even cancer. Studies have shown that stress might promote cancer indirectly by weakening the immune system's anti-tumor defense or by encouraging new tumor-feeding blood vessels to form…stress hormones, such as adrenaline, can directly support tumor growth and spread.”

Deciding how we want to feel is important if we want to maintain control of our results.

Let’s get back to my example. A clear counter and free space make me feel light, relaxed, calm. (Remember, positive statements. I’m not saying, “I want to clear my counter.” I’m making a statement as if it’s already done. This is how I feel when it’s already done.

Fourth, what actions must I take to create the result I want?

Continuing with my example:

When I receive mail, I clear it out immediately.My desk is cleared daily.My inbox is in order of priority.I take action on my email deliberately by making time that works for me and clearing it weekly. (It may also mean hiring someone to delegate tasks or getting a subscription to make your life easier.)

Fifth, what repeated statement clicks with me to tell myself daily or when I need a reminder of the identity I’m creating?

For example, someone said stacks of papers represent decisions deferred, and that really clicked for me.

  • TIP: Positive statement not negative. For example, “I’m healthy” versus “I don’t get sick.” We want our brain to pay attention to the healthy part of the equation and not the sick part of it.
  • My outside world represents my inside world. I’m decisive and eliminate the unnecessary from my life.

You can get ideas for these statements in my free PDF 99 mantras that you can get in the New Years' Resolution Toolbox above or you can grab one from a book you’re reading that clicks for you.

When I repeat these statements to myself, I feel how I will feel when I’ve incorporated it.

I walk you through these steps in the Visualization Roadmap that I’ve also included above.

This podcast gave you a LOT of training, and it’s one that you’ll benefit from hearing over and over. It’s easy to passively consume content, but it’s another thing to be actively in the material. 

I hope you have a wonderful day, and I’ll talk to you next week!

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Thanks so much for listening. 

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