Be careful what you wish for
The concept of making new year’s resolutions can be traced back to the Babylonians some 4,000 years ago. In those days, promises were made to Gods. Nowadays, resolutions are made in an attempt to improve our own lives in some way. It’s common to draw up a list of things we resolve to do in the year ahead, maybe to eat less or exercise more. It’s also just as common for these resolutions to have been broken or forgotten about come January 2nd.
If you’re one of the many who makes resolutions that fail to last, how can you ensure your 2022 resolutions buck the trend and become resolutions you stick to?
The end of a year is a great time to take stock at what’s passed during the previous twelve months. An opportunity to reflect on those things you’ve done well, but also to consider those situations in which you wish you’d acted or said something differently. It’s a chance to generate awareness of your actions. To stop and take stock. It’s also a chance to spend time considering what you want to happen in the coming year.
These moments spent reflecting and looking forward reveal remarkable human qualities that set us apart from the rest of life on earth. Hopefully, all of us will have the chance to reflect on things we’re proud of, satisfied with, encouraged by. Inevitably, it will also be a time to learn from our mistakes, develop as human beings, and vow to do better next year.
However, as mentioned earlier, the problem with many new year’s resolutions is not making them but keeping them. While it may be easy to say the problem lies with us as human beings, in many cases, the problem actually lies with the types of resolutions we’re making.
Looking at the most common resolutions people tend to make, it’s clear that many are wishes. “I wish I was in a loving relationship.” “I wish I could win the lottery.” When you wish for something, you surrender a large degree of power to invisible forces beyond your control. After all, who is going to grant these wishes, assuming you don’t have a genie in a bottle to call on?
If you’re motivated to make resolutions that stick, try to focus on tangible goals rather than far-fetched fantasies. Ask yourself exactly how your life will be better if what you’re wishing for comes true (most resolutions center around achieving greater satisfaction in our lives). The following tips can help you to ensure the resolutions you make aren’t wild wishes, but rather
ones you are more likely to keep:
Take time to think about what you want.
Don’t just make resolutions in the heat of the moment – give real consideration to what you can do in the new year to enhance your wellbeing in a sustainable way. For example, if you want to meet someone, joining a dance club or taking cookery lessons is a great way to engage in a hobby or learn a new skill while also meeting new people. And, of course, you can join a dating
Turn your wish into an intention
Wishes are flimsy, ethereal, and intangible, whereas intentions are more definite. If your new year’s resolution is something like: “I want to meet someone new this year,” that doesn’t give you anything specific to work toward to meet that goal. However, if you were to make a resolution that says something like, “I want to meet someone who shares my love for dancing”
that’s much more specific and actionable.
Don’t just default to standard resolutions like giving up a bad habit or wanting to start a relationship, even though they are important ones. Fire-up your creativity with your choices. Consider what is important to you, what matters to you and turn it into an intention. Then think about something specific you can do that’s new and will open up possibilities that will increase the likelihood that you will manifest your intention.
Taking the dance example – ask yourself what kind of dancing suits you best? It could be salsa, ballroom, disco. Then imagine what it would take to find the right dance class for you. Try to picture yourself participating in lessons each week, encountering a variety of people, and what it will feel like to dance with the person that you will connect with. If the prospect stirs feelings of excitement, you’re likely on the right track to choosing a resolution you’ll keep.
Resolutions don’t happen by themselves – you need to make them happen. And choosing resolutions that are easy to act on needn’t be hard. How about you sign up for those dance or cookery lessons now? Or perhaps a hiking group, choir, or language class. You can even connect with people in a Zoom class where you can chat or meet in smaller, breakout rooms. It’s possible to action our intentions even during a pandemic. You’ll feel real empowerment and enthusiasm knowing you’ve taken action to improve your life.
Manage your inner critic
Most of us are sure to have doubts about doing anything new. A voice in your head saying “what’s the point, how is going to a class going to help me reach my ultimate goal of bringing greater satisfaction into my life?” In these situations, it’s helpful to remind our inner critic that NOT doing these things isn’t going to get us anywhere at all. Staying passive and in a state of quiet despair isn’t going to get us any closer to where we want to be. So, calm down the critic. You can even say “thanks for sharing” and know that the critic is not real, it’s just a habitual voice in our head. You needn’t take it seriously. Book those lessons, and if you find it’s not what you want, refocus, and arrange to do something else.
Make your intentions manageable
Following the steps so far gives us the opportunity to get better at defining our intentions and taking action. Try to resist the urge to draw up a long list of every resolution you’ve ever considered. That’s just too daunting and is bound to lead to disappointment. A slow, measured, more focused approach is more likely to result in success, so limit your intentions to two or three at most for starters. You can have a secondary list of three more that you can hold in reserve, either for when your first resolutions have materialized, or for consideration if you decide to change your focus.
One of the Nine Essentials of NeuroMovement(®) is flexibility. This essential focuses on the importance of holding our goals loosely, approaching them with lots of flexibility, and not setting anything in stone. If a goal seems unattainable or turns out to be unsuitable, consider a pivot, or focus on another goal. If a new goal emerges, be open to exploring this new direction. Resolutions don’t have to happen at the start of the year – they can be made anytime.
“The human brain has extraordinary powers for discovering what is needed and for innovating solutions to meet those needs. And it is often these unexpected solutions that make our lives so interesting and dynamic.”
Move Into Life, Anat Baniel
Imagination and dreams
Humans have the potential to imagine and dream in a way that, as far as we know, no other life on Earth does. As Einstein points out:
“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”
Deciding on your new year’s resolutions provides a chance to dream and imagine. Engaging in these activities lights up the brain, creating billions of new neurological connections. It’s the ultimate human gift (and the eighth essential of NeuroMovement(®)). Creating the time and space to imagine and dream gives us a chance to move beyond our rigid old habits so that we may create new possibilities and realities. Now that’s something to aspire to.
We invite you to try our NeuroMovement® lesson of the month.
Do this lesson to begin practicing and developing your imagination skills. Once you have done the lesson, take one of your new year’s resolutions, preferably the easiest ones, or make one up, lie on your back, close your eyes and begin imagining your resolution as if already manifesting, then imagine as many different possible steps and paths you can come up with on your way to the resolution/intention becoming reality.
You can come back to this lesson as often as you want and take the intentional practice of imagination into simple things in your daily life. Gradually move into more complex and bigger things. Every few days revisit the resolution you are working on in your imagination, and just as you did in the movement lesson, when you feel ready, bring into action what you have imagined and begin experiencing your life, vitality and mental clarity becoming more vibrant as you are moving towards your heart’s desires.
Happy new year!