It’s hard not to make resolutions. This time of year brings on change in the weather, the acute awareness of family dynamics, the over indulgences of whatever fits your life and family gatherings. It is a natural set up for pause and reflection. Personally, I love to plan how I can grow and step out of my comfort zone for the coming year.
Those reflections lead to intentions of “new ideals” which form the almighty New Year’s Resolution. Knowing you and admittedly myself the way that I do, it is more likely that we think of multiple resolutions. Am I right? Yeah…I thought so.
The general concept behind a resolution is a good one. We wish to make a change in our lives to improve the overall quality of it. GREAT concept but the execution of it sometimes isn’t effective. We set a goal (albeit sometimes unrealistic) and work on achieving that goal usually within a certain timeframe. More often than I think we would care to acknowledge we miss the mark on that goal. We fall short. We…fail, and then we feel like we have let ourselves down. We haven’t, we just created an unrealistic task within a determined time frame. Would your boss ever ask you to complete a task in a month that normally takes 9-12 months? NO! Well he or she might and if they are asking you to do this, it might be time to get a new job. Just sayin’.
Let me share an example. Your goal is to lose 50lbs in 2018 but you are a carb-a-holic. [Preach it – I am in the same boat.] You decide you are going to stop eating carbs and sweat the weight off at the gym. By May you will be ready for that bikini you have had in your drawer for seven years.
- Week 1 – You are on top of your game. You work out 5 out of 7 days!
- Week 2 – You are on fire. Sizzling hot by working out 4 out of 7 days at the gym and took two walks around the neighborhood. YES!
- Week 3 – You feel a little under the weather, but you are determined and still are sweating up a storm. 3 out of 7 days are at the gym. You drive by it a few times and wave…later you say.
- Week 4 – Full blown cold! No gym, just hot soup, Netflix and tissues.
- Week 5 – You have stopped going to the gym altogether and are back to eating donuts. What is a gym?
When you haven’t lost those 50 pounds by May, you might consider yourself quite the loser and give up on the resolution all together. Sound familiar?
We fail because we have given ourselves essentially an ultimatum that we are not prepared for. We fail because we have this unrealistic expectation of ourselves to learn something or do something that we are not ready to do. We want to essentially BE someone that we are not.
Guess what? You are enough just the way you are! I am going to tell you right now that the act of you reading articles in this genre indicates to me that you are already pretty amazing, not for the fact that you are reading my words but for the fact that you are looking for ways to improve your life. There are certain values in place for you already that create that curiosity and that drive to improve.
So here is my theory.
Our actions support our values. If we are consistently sitting in front of the television watching series of shows but then feel bad about not reaching our “books read quota” for the year, then it is safe to say that we may not value reading as much as we thought we did. We value the down time and entertainment that comes with relaxing and watching tv. There is nothing wrong with that and there shouldn’t be any guilt surround that fact that you like tv!
Now when you take a look at the values surrounding your binge watching and determine that you are using the 9 seasons of Everyone Loves Raymond as an avoidance tactic…then you have some work to do. What we value determines what we do.
What if we reimagined our resolutions from a “I must need to change” standpoint to a “Create actions that support our values” standpoint?
The ideals that we create in resolutions come from a negative space and a sense of deprivation. “I am not good enough now, but will be if I lose 10 pounds. If I read more, I will be happier.” These may not be your exact words but the script is essentially the same. It’s a typical conditional logic statement. If I change this way, then I will be happier and more me.
You are already you. You posses all that you need to be whoever you want to be. You don’t need any outstanding forces to make you a better person or some life altering changes to create a better you. Working on what you already have will create the life you ultimately want and desire.
What if we created change in our lives based on our values and how to enrich them? What if we asked ourselves, “Do our actions match the values we hold dear?”
Our value system is our foundation. It’s the core of who we are. Nourishing the values that we already have and building upon them will create the change we desire. When you build a shack in the middle of the field without the proper tools or structural equipment, it is ridiculous to expect that this structure will stand the test of everyday life. However, when you build upon a solid foundation and purposefully expand on what already exists, you are more likely to see that structure for a lifetime no matter what the trials it encounters.
Let’s run through the previous scenario again so you can further understand what I am theorizing.
Resolution: By May of 2018 I want to lose 50 lbs.
- Actions that Support my Values: I value health so in 2018, I will create health within my life.
- I will choose better foods to nourish my body.
- I will initiate movement to strengthen my body.
- I will make self-care a priority.
- Week 1 – You work out 5 out of 7 days moderately exploring different exercise options. You choose a go to snack like almonds when you crave sugar.
- Week 2 – You work out 4 out of 7 days at the gym and took two walks around the neighborhood. YES! You try out a new low-fat and low-carb side dish. You also bring in nuts to keep at work to help with those midday cravings.
- Week 3 – You feel a little under the weather, but you are determined and still are consistent at the gym. 3 out of 7 days are at the gym. You stay hydrated and catch up on some rest so help deter the cold that everyone else is getting.
- Week 4 – You didn’t get the cold that everyone else did because you created actions that supported your health at the time. You are back at the gym 4 days this week and starting to see progress.
- Week 5 through forever – You continuously check in with how your actions are supporting your overall values of health and make necessary adjustments. You consistently feel better as your health and strength improves.
See the difference? Doesn’t approaching your goals from a Value standpoint seem much more attainable? Change certainly doesn’t come as quickly as it would in the resolutions example, but it is more likely to be permanent.
What will you value this year?
What values will you work on this year? Which ones do you want to enrich? Now is a good time to take a look at the values that speak to you. Recognize those values and start to think of behaviors to match and support them. Then and only then will experience true change.
So here is another conditional logic statement for you.
If you build upon your value system, your life will change for the better.
Isn’t that the ultimate goal to begin with? To improve our overall life experience? To feel more connected to our purpose and our journey?
Show and Tell Time
I normally don’t share my resolutions with people because, what if I don’t reach my goal? I have this fear that people will think less of me if I don’t check off all of my resolutions by the end of the year…so I keep them all very hush hush.
I don’t feel the same way now that I am taking this approach. I would be honored to share my thoughts for the coming year on what I intend to work on. [Even the language surrounding actions that support my values vs. resolutions is so much more positive and encouraging.]
Here is what 2018 will look like for me:
I value health, therefore I will create health within my life.
I value financial stability, therefore I will create opportunities that will contribute to financial stability.
I value time with my family and friends, therefore I will seek out and create opportunities to spend quality time with those that are important to me.
I value education, therefore I will read articles/books, attend classes and seminars, listen to podcasts that interest me.
I value spirituality, therefore I will engage in activities that will draw me closer to my core beliefs.
I value simplicity, therefore I will declutter, reduce and look for ways to have less chaos.
I know that I can create actions that will support these values because they are already very important to me. They are a part of me and my core. Creating value in business is about adding to the overall experience of a client’s engagement with you. The same holds true for this approach as well. You will add to the overall life experience by working on your values instead of overzealous goals.
In the days to come we will talk much more about this approach to setting up your 2018 for amazing personal growth. I will go into much more detail about how to assess your values and chose which ones you would like to work on. Then we will talk about how to create actionable steps that you can actually accomplish and feel GREAT about doing so.
In the meantime, I want you to ask yourself… “What do I value?”