January is always an interesting time of year. People are determined. They are certain this will be the year that they will finally happy. This will be the year they succeed. The year they find their bliss. The year they will lose the weight. They year they will find the man. The year they will (fill in the blank). People are also tired. The weather is cold. It’s dark. And the holidays have drained them – of money, often, and of energy. This combination (determined optimism meets utter exhaustion) makes the yearly habit of weight loss resolutions (or any resolutions or goal setting plans) particularly vulnerable to failure.
So, what’s a girl to do?
Last week I reran a post about the only weight loss resolution you need to make. Last year I wrote about the importance of tackling one goal at a time. This week I want to change things up a bit. Let’s turn this weight loss resolutions making/goal setting thing on its head, and talk about what all this stuff is really about.
1. Figure out why you really want the thing you say you want. If you want to weigh (insert pounds here), ask yourself why. Go beyond the usual “look good in a bikini” or even “be healthier” and get deep.
Ask yourself: When I achieve (insert your goal here), I will feel _____.
Don’t over think it. Just list the words that come to mind. The words that resonate with you.
Then check that against your true desires. The desires that have nothing to do with the stated goal.
Ask yourself: How do I want to feel? What do I want to feel?
(Here are couple of word lists to get you rolling if you’re feeling stuck: https://www.cnvc.org/Training/feelings-inventory and http://www.psychpage.com/learning/library/assess/feelings.html)
Write down the answers. All the answers – no matter how deep or how silly.
And keep them “not” free. If you’re list starts looking “notty” (“not like a failure,” “not sad,” etc, Ask yourself: What would “not like a ______” feel like? Keep asking until you get something specific.
Take your time with this – and let yourself go deep. Don’t be surprised if words like “connected” or “loved” or “peaceful” come up. Just write them down. And if you come up with general words like “worthy,” or “successful” go deeper. Ask yourself: What would worthy feel like? What would successful feel like?
2. Choose 1 – 3 words that really resonate. Choose the words that stand out. The ones that make your heart nod. The words that make your soul say, “Yes, that’s it. That’s what I’ve been asking for.” If one word really covers this – choose it. If you need more than one – that’s cool, too.
3. Make a plan.
Ask yourself: What I can I do every day to feel more of this feeling?
Notice the word “I” – it’s important. This isn’t what other people can do to give you this feeling. It’s not what the universe can do. It’s what you can do – with the resources you have right now.
And be real. Don’t try to force in things that seem “good for you.” That’s what you’ve been doing up ’til now – and you know how well that’s worked. If hitting the gym before dawn doesn’t make you feel loved or connected (or whatever your word is) don’t swear you’re going to do it. But if it does, think about it in those terms. Think about the connection, the love, the whatever as you get ready to go.
List the actions you can take – NOW – that will generate that feeling in your life. These actions may have nothing to do with weight loss. That’s okay. They mean seem simple or silly or they may fill you with more excitement than you’ve experienced in a long time. It’s all good.
4. Schedule those actions.There’s a reason people say that if you want to know someone’s real priorities take a look at their schedule. Generating this feeling (or these feelings) you’ve chosen is your number one priority this year. Schedule the actions that help you create that feeling into your day.
5. Notice how things are going, and add to the list. Notice how you’re feeling. Notice how feeling more of that emotion changes your day. You may find that as you practice generating this emotion, you will come up with more and more opportunities to experience it. You will discover that surprising situations/actions create the feeling you’re looking for.
Better still, you may also notice that living that desired feeling actually makes achieving that original goals/weight loss resolutions much, much easier.
6. Declare 2014 The Year of ______. Go ahead and set your intention. Declare it publicly if you’re so inclined – or simple declare it to yourself. (A post-it-note on your desk or bathroom mirror works fine for this).
You can also share it in the comments section below – or share it with me privately. I’d love to hear from you.