When I was younger, my parents turned their New Year’s resolutions into a competition.
It all started with betting each other they could stop smoking. Years later, they both confessed to cheating, but despite their pitfalls that year marked the end of their smoking habits.
According to Forbes magazine, a whopping eight percent of American’s achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. I have to admit that most of the time, I too have been in the eight percent group. What I have realized is that setting an intention is one thing, and maintaining resolutions in motion is a whole different ball game. Before sharing these tips and insights, I must say, be prepared for a surge of activity. I found that seeds I had planted years ago were suddenly coming to full fruition—once I realized the secret to making resolutions work.
Resistance happens when we unconsciously disengage from our inner desires. We desire to do something different but we get stuck in the process. As a result we may develop a why bother, it’s too late attitude, which ultimately makes us feel powerless. Seeing our power as an inner-motion rather than an outcome or ability can help free us from this pattern.
Tip: One way to access our power (motion) is by allowing ourselves to feel our feelings.
Every thought and idea we have is a vibrational energetic frequency. Since energy cannot be destroyed, neither can our resolutions. Therefore, don’t be surprised if resolutions from years ago begin to take shape in the present moment. This means that to maintain our resolutions keeps the door open. Although our belief in our resolutions may end, the energy we utilized to create them is infinite. The moment we put our attention and awareness on our ideas (previous or current), they are reignited into motion.
Tip: The universe is always listening. Statements such as, “I choose” or “I am” send a very clear communication to the universe to put something into motion. For example, “I choose to exercise thirty minutes a day, three days a week.”
Become Quality Focused
Goal setting can be a bit intimidating. It also increases the chances that we will focus on the outcome. One way to support ourselves is to become more quality-focused rather than result-focused. For example, if we want to lose weight we might focus on cultivating qualities such as discipline, encouragement, compassion and patience.
Tip: Practices such as meditation, yoga, walking and/or journaling are wonderful ways we can highlight such qualities.
Resolutions love anchors. Think about it if we were to put a new plant in the soil, we can’t really expect the plant to grow until its root system is well established. The same goes for resolutions—only instead of roots they require grounding. This means rather than keeping our resolutions bottled up in our heads, we allow the energy to ground through our physical bodies.
Tip: One of the simplest ways to do this is through conscious breathing. Transitioning from mouth breathing to nostril breathing (breathing with our mouths closed and softened) is one way to do this. On inhale, we expand our abdominals (like a balloon), and on exhale, we contract them. Picture the qualities (love, compassion, wisdom) running through our bodies into the earth. Breathe fully three to five times and then at the end pause to allow time for these resolutions to land permanently.
Resolutions are a form of creative energy. If something is not working, it does not mean we have failed. We just might need to find another way to approach it. For example, if exercising after work seems challenging, we might consider going to the gym in the morning.
Tip: Nothing sparks creativity like going outside. Those of us who may feel stagnant can jump start our resolutions by spending time in nature. Nature opens up our range of possibilities by expanding our energy. Taking a walk and interacting with nature often does the trick.
Finally, nothing keeps our resolutions in motion like gratitude. Although my parents snuck a cigarette here and there, they ultimately kept their resolutions in motion long enough to sustain a new way of living. I must say they both made gratitude a priority. Appreciating the simplest things in life, the food on our plate, air we breathe will do the trick. Gratitude practices go a long way, permeating not only our hopes and dreams but also the ones put out by those around us.
Author: Sherianna Boyle
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Shannon McLaughlin/Unsplash