How often have you set New Year’s resolutions and did not achieve them? You’re not alone. A study from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail.
So are most people really weak-willed or are there reasons why New Year’s resolutions and goals don’t work?
A big part of the problem is most resolutions are based on people’s judgments of themselves. They focus on what they see as wrong with them or their lives and then determine that they are going to change it by going into judgment of what they should had done, ought to do, or have to do.
Bodies, for example, get a lot of judgment in New Year’s resolutions. How often is a resolution such as “I am going to lose 20 kgs this year” really based on a judgment that “I am so fat. I am sick of this big butt/flabby stomach/cellulite infested legs!” When you set a target to exercise 3 times every week, is it because that would be fun and you enjoy the energy it gives you or “I am going to force this flabby body to get in shape if it’s the last thing I do.” Can you sense the difference in energy between these statements? Do the judgments sound familiar? Do you think your body gets excited at the prospect of the exercise regime you have planned? Is it any wonder you last only a week or two before you give up on that resolution. Do you go into more judgment of how you failed again?
The problem with making New Year’s resolutions from judgments, and the problem with judgments full stop, is that judgments are conclusions that keep you from seeing other possibilities or choices that are available. They will limit you. Anytime you use a judgment to determine what you resolve to change, you can’t change it because you made the judgment real, not the possibility of what you could choose. And therein lies the path to failure.
And goals – how are they a limitation? A goal is a fixed target. It’s all you will allow yourself to go for. You will tend to not allow yourself to achieve anything else. So they end up being a jail. Did you know that the original meaning of the word goal is jail?
And just as with game of soccer for example, where you score the goal, the game starts again. When you achieve your goals, you will often unconsciously reset the goal and start over again. Have you been doing that with yo-yo dieting or have you experienced two steps forward, three steps back as you tried to achieve other goals?
Keep in mind also that if you achieve a goal and don’t acknowledge it, you have to make yourself less than so you still have a goal to go for. Are you always scrambling to make more money? You set a goal to have this amount, you get it but then it is all spent and you have to scrabble to generate more? Does it feel weird if you are not chasing a goal of some kind? That’s why.
Set a Target
Rather than set goals, set a target. With a target, you can shoot again and again. If you miss it, you don’t have to judge it, you just take another shot. You always have another chance, another choice and possibility. You can ask ‘What else is possible’?
Be clear about what the target is or you will never achieve it. Ask yourself what would I like to have? If you would like more money – how much money? With relationships be really clear about what would work for you and what wouldn’t.
- If time and money weren’t an issue, what would I choose for me?
- What would be really FUN for me to be, have or do?
- Do my targets feel light and expansive, or heavy? (If heavy, that is going to be a lie or judgment in there that will in some way limit what you are ‘shooting’ for.)
- What could I be or do different in 2015 that would generate greater possibilities with _________.
- What else is possible that I haven’t considered yet?
What if you could shoot for a target just for fun and because you can! Would you also be open to the possibility of things showing up in ways that are even more amazing than the target you have?
And on the subject of fun, what if instead of focusing on giving up things (that we are judging) that we ADD something to our lives that would be FUN. Maybe the New Year could be about starting something new and joyful each year!
Remember to acknowledge that you have reached your target, and then to ask questions like, ‘How does it get any better than this? What else is possible?’ Why not invite something more to show up!
And please, will you take time to acknowledge at the contribution you are to yourself and those around you as you are RIGHT NOW and the many things, big or small, that you accomplished in the past year? Even if last year involved major struggles, will you acknowledge that you survived and can now create something more? What could you do different in 2015 that you haven’t even considered a possibility?
Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui. Be strong, courageous and resilient. Wishing you a phenomenal 2015. Take aim!
For more information on this topic, check out this radio show on resolutions http://bit.ly/X5FFqj by Gary Douglas and Dr. Dain Heer, founder and co-founder of Access Consciousness™, recorded on 27 December 2012, on Voice of America Internet Radio. I am grateful to them both for the insights they provided there that shaped this article.