Self-improvement… hmmmm…where to begin?
Ok, let’s check out Google for common New Years Resolutions.
Wow, that wasn’t very helpful. It gave me a list of 150 common New Year’s resolutions… and I need to incorporate about 147 of them. Fortunately, I quit smoking thirty years ago. I have a household budget. I walk in the local dry canyon every day… only147 to go… and most of them would be helpful for me.
I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed!
They say the average time before we begin to ignore our New Year’s resolutions and slip back into our old habits is less than two weeks! As a Life Coach teaching about Primitive Ego Psychology and taming our childhood primitive ego, I know our childhood primitive ego does not like change. Period! I’m not sure I’ve ever successfully made it two full weeks.
So back to my original question…..where to begin. How many of the 147 should I include on this year’s list?
Maybe that’s the wrong question. The better question might be why do most of us fail to follow through on our New Years resolutions……even when we know they’re important……when we really do want to incorporate them into our lives.
That’s just another way of admitting that I’m still working on the 10 pounds I resolved to loose back in 2004!
Ok, this year “I am going How to to stick to my New Years resolutions!!”
Yea, I know, that’s what I said last year.
The Quote That Changed Everything
And then last week, a few days before the end of December, I came across an old quote from writer Jeff Goins. It was a quote I’d saved from one of Jeff’s videos on how to become a writer. He said, “You can have whatever you want (assuming you’re willing to work hard enough to realize that want), but you can’t have everything.”
His words encouraged me to take another look at the 2017 New Years resolutions I’d written. As I suspected, my list contained far too many shiny object “wants”. It was a list that contained a lot of good ideas, but it was too superficial. It lacked depth. I knew my childhood primitive ego wasn’t going to cooperate. I wouldn’t last a week!
So I started another list; a list with more meaning and depth. I decided to make a list of questions that would help me focus on resolutions that would be more meaningful for me. Resolutions that could help me improve the quality of my life.
How to stick to my New Years resolutions – the Questions That Changed My New Years Resolution List
So this is the list of questions that I came up with. It helped me create a few New Years resolutions that could improve the quality of my life and the life of those around me. I hope it’s helpful for you.
- What do I really want most in my life?
- Are they goals I’m willing to commit major effort toward achieving?
- Are the goals in line with my core values? What are my core values?
- Would achieving the goals allow me to embrace those core values with integrity and authenticity?
- Would achieving the goals improve the quality of my life?
- Would they add value to the lives of those around me?
- Are they focused on heart wants or ego wants?
- Are they “we” focused or “me” focused?
- What will most get in the way of me achieving the goals on my list? Are they obstacles I can realistically overcome?
- And finally, will my New Year’s goals allow me to live my life sustainably in a “right relationship with nature”? This question was important because I know my grandkids are going to ask me that question someday.
It took a lot of soul searching, but my new list of New Year’s resolutions is a lot shorter than my first list. And they all embrace the questions above. Unless my resolutions could be answered in the affirmative on all the questions above, they were not included in my final list.
Some Final Thoughts
- First, I think the most important insight that came out of my second list was a new focus on the concept of legacy. What do I want to contribute to the world? What will most add value to the lives of those around me? What do I want to be remembered for by those I love and care about?
- Secondly, this year my New Years resolutions are focused on reclaiming my commitment to living a life of meaning and purpose. My new list is a reminder that I am fully responsible for the life I am currently living and the life I dream about living in the future. There are not a lot of things on my new list, but for the first time, they are focused on what I most want in my life. Like most people, I realized I have too often failed in the past to live a life large enough for my soul. I failed to dream big enough. My new list reminded me playing it by ear is not an option.
- And lastly, I have a renewed awareness that the number of days I have left to create a life of meaning and purpose is limited. Eventually, we will all run out of time. “Winging it” or “playing it by ear” is a denial of that simple reality.
As a life coach and therapist helping others improve the quality of their lives, experience has taught me that “playing it by ear” almost always leads to a life of regret. Until we are committed to living an awakened, fully conscious life, the unconscious childhood primitive ego in all of us will continue to create a life of mediocrity…..and ultimately, regret.
I offer the questions above in the hope that they help you too intentionally focus on what you most want to embrace in your life in this New Year. I hope they help you focus on the life you came here to live…..the life you have dreamed about living.
Have a great New Year. I’ll see you next New Years. I look forward to hearing what you accomplish in the next twelve months.