And yet, what if the new year does not bring change... at least not for a while.
This is the very reason many resolutions fail. The kids I coach are great modellers of this lesson. They want to climb the next level. They say they are inspired by success. They go to the route with optimism and a plan they have worked out in their head. They try the moves and realize the plan won't work. They regroup, re-strategize and try again. This process is repeated multiple times. But eventually, the effort they are applying is decreasing and their optimism and inspiration is on the steep decline. Eventually, they begin to ask to move on. Some come up with excuses for why they shouldn't try any more.
You see, if what is inspiring us most of the time IS the success or the completion - the outcome, and comfort. But when the end we expect isn't right there, we tend to lose the motivation to keep trying and eventually we give up and move back to what is comfortable because it is comfortable. The problem is we often carry this little voice in our head that tells us we are a loser, worthless and weak. The shamer. It's not that we did something bad... giving up... WE ARE BAD.
I would like to suggest we just haven't been equipped with the right tools to tackle the challenge in the most effective way. And as a coach, it is my job to support folks through what is uncomfortable - to give them the tools... so read on.
This very idea that the world needs to go back to what I am comfortable with is in itself a problem. Just like the kids I coach, if we stick with what we are comfortable with, we eventually become bored. Perhaps we know we have a paycheck and we know we have a roof over our heads, and people to share the holidays with, but are we happy? Are we inspired to get out of bed in the morning? Is our life meaningful?
For life to be meaningful, joy-filled, we earn it by going through challenges, not around them. This means applying all we know, learning what we need to learn, and getting the right supports, to go through the challenge.
The Solution - focus on who you are becoming with a curious open mind
Resolutions fail because we long for the old and focus on our missed comfort. Even if we wish to lose a few pounds, and we were uncomfortable with our weight, the tendency is to focus on the foods we miss, rather than focusing on the feeling of joy and lightness of losing a few pounds.
The kids I coach focus on the joy of getting to the top, and the feeling of comfortable moves. So when asked to try moves that are hard, uncomfortable, inspiration is traded for comfort.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." ~ Rod Stryker
Not the achievement of a successful goal achievement... focus on you and WHO you are, HOW you are with the accomplishment. Let's say we use the climbing example, if you have pushed past the desire to quit a hundred times and eventually succeed, you have become a person who has perseverance! You have mental strength and tenacity. You recognize your power to overcome.
If you lose the weight, you are free from the bondage of food. You are not consumed by your food, rather you are free. As a person who has suffered from disordered eating for most of my adult life, I would suggest that it is the preoccupation with food, or body, that is the problem, not the food itself. The binding relationship to thoughts that reject who you are and the body you wear, and try to smother the thoughts with food or starvation or exercise, those thoughts are the real enemy.
VALUES are the environment in which you operate. They are the essence of YOU. Values define who you admire and wish to be. Values are what you stand for and what you live by.
We all have values... we can all agree that integrity is important. But some of us will put integrity above play. Some will put curiosity above play and integrity. Our own unique priority list of values is what we need to live by.
Use this Values exercise to help unlock your values priority list. Then this year resolve to live by it.
Oh... and check back for the next post. We will shed a little light on the Shadow value. In a recent podcast, Brené Brown speaks with Jim Collins - two inspired leaders - and they introduce this idea of the Shadow values. It is brilliant. We will delve into the other steps to success.