Do You Do Resolutions?

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It’s that time of year when we are expected to make New Year’s Resolutions. Inevitably what is intended to be an objective self-evaluation, propelling positive movements forward, is either capitalized on by businesses taking advantage of your flaws or an exercise in futility.  

When someone asks what are my New Year’s resolutions, my response is…

“I don’t believe in them.”

This is not to say that resolutions don’t exist, but what resolutions have evolved into are not something I support or practice in my life. I don’t find beneficial any kind of practice that makes you feel like you are not enough or like a failure when you misstep. Goals are great but not at the cost of self-esteem and self-confidence. Our culture sets unreasonably high expectations and offers no support for life’s inevitable set-backs, wobbles or pauses. Aside from that, I also find making life changing decisions based on a man-made calendar and only once a year a bit short-sighted.

What I do support is the concept of evaluating where you are emotionally, physically and spiritually and creating intentions based on where you want to go and who you want to be. I believe in doing this on a more regular basis in line with moon cycles or seasons. These influences are much more closely related to our natural rhythms and are far more affective for personal growth than January 1st.   

Instead of making New Year’s Resolutions I suggest trying more effective and positive approaches:

1.       Word of the year: Select a word that inspires, supports, and guides you to accomplish anything and everything you want. For example, WILD is a word that reminds you to be true to your unrestricted nature, to play, approach life with a sense of freedom and abandon, to live fully outside the box. Or GRACE is a great word for approaching life with more ease and forgiveness and less control and judgement. JOY, BLISS, BRAVE, COURAGE, and my word for 2018 ADVENTURE are just a few possibilities. The most important aspect of the word is that it motivates YOU.

Word of the Year examples. Write out your word of the year in a creative or artistic way and place it where you will see it often.

Word of the Year examples. Write out your word of the year in a creative or artistic way and place it where you will see it often.

2.       Intentions: Throw out lofty resolutions and set timelines. Daunting year-long “to-do” lists are uninspiring and rarely achieved which can create some major self-trust issues. Instead opt for realistic intentions attainable in small steps in a reasonable amount of time. This creates forward movement that once achieved builds self-trust and encourages and propels you to keep going. Start with one intention, break it into small steps, and give yourself twice as long as you think it should take to achieve. Give yourself permission to be human. It’s okay to stumble, pause, or stop as long as you start again. This practice sets you up for success rather than failure.

3.       Alternative Timelines: Ditch the Gregorian calendar and try moon cycles or seasons as your timeline. There is plenty of information available online regarding the significance and symbolism of each moon cycle and season. These meanings can help you determine the best time of year to achieve certain goals which can boost your success rate considerably. It is also very important to follow and not fight your own personal rhythm. When you listen to and honor your own emotional, physical, and spiritual rhythms you work with your natural energies making accomplishments smoother and easier.

4.      Achievements versus Tasks: Change your perspective from ticking off tasks to celebrating achievements. Decorate or find a vase, bowl, or jar and keep it in a place of importance. Each time you accomplish something big or small, have an amazing day, receive a compliment, or anything good happens write it down and place it in the vase, bowl or jar. At the end of the year (or anytime you like) read all your achievements and happy memories and revel in the joy and positivity.  

Here is the Awesomeness vase I made for myself a couple of years ago.

Here is the Awesomeness vase I made for myself a couple of years ago.

How do you feel about resolutions?

Do you have alternative goal setting practices that work for you?