The Problem with New Year’s Resolutions and Motivation in General
So many of us set New Years resolutions over and over again and come February, they are simply forgotten or put in the too hard basket. Or some of us even get all the way to September keeping on track and then, so close to the finish line, we fall off the wagon. Whatever our pattern, come 12months later, we’re setting the same goal, saying “This year, I’m really going to do it. I really am!”
To be honest, I think everything in our own personal journey is about choice. Many of us choose to be in a place where we feel stuck for a reason. Yes, that’s right, I said choose. Nobody holds a gun to your head and says, now that you have lost 10 kg, start eating a bunch of cake. Something triggers within you and you make a choice to pick up just the thing that is going to end all motivation for you. I also don’t believe that there is such a thing as a stupid or bad person. We all know it is bad for you to smoke, yet people, even doctors, still do it. So we have to start looking at the why.
Why are we choosing that situation for ourselves? What lessons are we creating for ourselves? Until we can understand this, we will keep repeating the same habits over and over again until the problem becomes absolutely unbearable or in some cases, life threatening.
I like to start by asking clients (and myself):
“If you were to know, why am I not doing……..?”
“What would actually happen if I achieved………..?”
A million possible thoughts and beliefs can come out of these two questions and they will be specific to you, but here are some common examples.
“I’m simply not ready to change.”
So what’s holding you back: fear, guilt? Do you get something out of staying in this problem. ie, significance, attention, connection to others, loyalty to family?
“I want ______ but I have absolutely no idea how to do it.”
Have you set yourself a goal that is just too bloody big for you to handle or you actually have no idea how to go about? Are you not as good at asking for help as you should be? (I’m so guilty of this one.). Do you need a coach/mentor who has the tools you need? Do you need a trainer, a teacher etc. who can help you set up a plan with specific milestones and a program to get to each one?
“I have this goal because I don’t want to be…………”
If you are always focusing on what you don’t want, unfortunately that is what you will always get. If you keep thinking I’m going to start exercising because I don’t want to be fat, the part of you that has to create you being fat will always be reaching for the cupcake, while the other part of you will be on the treadmill running away from being fat, wondering why you’re still fat.
“I don’t believe that I actually deserve this or don’t see myself ever being able to achieve this.”
Self worth and negative beliefs about ourselves can really get in the way of achieving what you want. Can you sit with yourself and truly get a picture of yourself being thin, successful, strong, whatever it is this goal is going to help you achieve?
“I can only achieve ______ if I work HARD”
Have you got yourself in a double bind, where thing you want is tied to something else, ie so many of us believe that success only comes to those who work hard. Is this really true or is it a belief you have? If this is your belief and you are exhausted, then your unconscious mind could be spending all its time finding ways for you to not work hard so you don’t over do it. And, what if one of your core values is to have fun? Where did you get the belief that you can’t be successful while having fun? So, in comes the saboteur and stops the motivation because you’re not really being true to yourself and having fun.
Even myself, being a coach, sometimes cannot work out the tangled matrix of what is going on in that brain of mine, so I often find myself in my coach’s room, untangling the web of negative beliefs and programming that are preventing me from achieving my goal. But once the space is clear and all the said spiders have retreated, the platform is infinite and the goals are easily achieved.
The reasons for not achieving the goals you set are individual to each and everyone one of us and sometimes we need a little help to find them out.