Many of us take time at the beginning of each New Year to review our successes and failures of the previous year and make “resolutions” for the new year. We want the new year to be different and better.
Unfortunately, many, if not most, resolutions are not kept. My focus here is on how you can succeed in making the new year different from the past year.
Resolutions almost always involve doing something. The popular and classic example is getting in shape.
The sale of gym memberships soars in January. The gyms are crowded at first, but by mid-February usage has tapered off, and by spring the crowd has thinned to the regulars and a handful of others.
Take any of the typical resolutions people make and you’ll probably find a similar pattern – enthusiastic activity followed by waning interest, seasoned with a bit of guilt and drowned in a sea of busyness.
Barring crises, each year turns out to be much the same as the previous year.
You understand that setting intentions, goals or directions is a fundamental part of manifesting change. So what went wrong? What is missing from the formula that has led to derailment of past plans for change?
The answer lies in the fact that resolutions almost always involve adding new actions and activities to your already busy life. Yes, you can add a new burst of activity, but you cannot sustain it. You settle back to your normal energy and activity levels.
The most recently added activities are the least habitual and are the first to fall by the wayside.
The missing element from the formula is failure to address the question, “What can I let go of?” What losses, failures, old beliefs and old fears can you let go of as you begin the new year? What habitual activities and routines are no longer serving you? Can you let these go?
Can you let go of old goals? Twenty-five years ago I decided I wanted to learn to play the piano. It was a good goal. Seven or eight years ago I realized that I had been carrying this unfulfilled goal for almost two decades. I let go of it, and I felt lighter. That old goal had long since become baggage.
You free up space in your mind and life when you let go of stuff from the previous year or years.
In other words you create a vacuum, a void that your new resolutions can fill. Now you are much more able to move forward with your intended changes for the new year.
I invite you to be curious about what you can let go of.
Dr. Neill is a Central-Island Registered Psychologist. You can reach him at 250-752-8684 or through his website www.neillneill.com/contact