With many people continually failing to keep their New Year’s Resolutions, perhaps it is time to approach these in a new way ...
By Dr John Demartini, human behaviourist
I believe the reason we fail with New Year’s Resolutions lies in setting New Year’s Resolutions that are not truly as important as you might assume, resolutions that are not congruent with what is truly highest on your list of values or priorities, or that do not truly inspire you from within and require repetitive motivations from the outside.
If you constantly need to be reminded or outwardly motivated to ‘get or stay focused’, then your desired actions are not congruent with what you truly value in life, and you are only setting temporary, assumed whims.
When your desired actions are congruent, you are automatically inspired to do what is most important and become perseverant.
Imperatives like ‘should’ are signs of outside authorities or expectations, not inside dreams that are truly important and meaningful.
The answers to finding true inspiration for our New Year’s Resolutions are all around us
... what we fill our personal space with, what we truly spend our time doing, what consistently energises us, what we spend most of our money on, what we think about and where we are most effective in achieving.
The answers to finding true inspiration for our New Year’s Resolutions are all around us: what we fill our personal space with, what we truly spend our time doing, what consistently energises us, what we spend most of our money on, what we think about and where we are most effective in achieving
After determining your top four values, which you can do online at www.drdemartini.com, make sure that your resolutions are tied to your highest values.
For example, if you live and breathe exercise and sport, but would like to improve your financial position, list all the ways that a bigger bank account will help you fulfill your exercise goals.
This could be having the security to keep paying for the gym if you lost your job, or saving to complete a sporting challenge. The key is to find enough reasons why having, saving and investing more money will help you to continue to live out your love for exercise.
Repeatedly ask yourself: How specifically could doing this particularly newly desired action (goal) help me fulfill or enhance what is also and already demonstrated to be highly important to me?
By linking whatever you would love to begin doing to whatever you have a long-term track record of already doing, you increase the probability of doing them together through association.
To outline this thinking, I have looked at four of the most commonly failed resolutions, and how to achieve them:
1. Committing to a fitness routine
Set S.M.A.R.T goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. If you want to be able to run a marathon in six months’ time, break it down into the weekly and daily steps you need to work towards this goal.
Next, ensure that you can see a clear correlation between being able to run a marathon and one of your highest values, using the method mentioned earlier in this article.
2. Eat more wisely
When you fill your day with high priority actions that inspire you, your life does not fill up with lower compulsive activities that don’t. It is wise to eat quality food, in moderation and eat to live not live to eat.
Struggling with diet is partly a response to an individual not feeling fulfilled in their highest values and as a result not activating the executive centre in the prefrontal cortex that normally moderates compulsive behaviours of lower brain centres.
Look at your highest values and ask where these are not being met.
3. Quit smoking / drinking
You may be labelled an alcoholic, a drug addict, a coffee addict or a food addict by someone else who does these actions less and are therefore challenged by your actions - but you may just be a person with a unique set of higher values and strategies making sure that you get what you want and see no alternative ways to do so.
Theses drives may be unconscious and hidden at first, but as you explore the reason behind your apparent ‘addiction’, these unconscious drives and intentions can become conscious.
Addiction is not necessarily an ungovernable ‘disease’, nor is it something that has to control you.
You are not bad, wrong, or powerless in this equation. You are the creator of your actions. If you take the time to look and uncover the truth behind your behaviour – which can be done by asking the right questions – you will find that it’s actually an unconscious strategy for getting what you want.
Your addiction will keep on running you until you learn to love yourself and govern it
Every addiction has alternative strategies that can be put into place in order to get the same benefits of the addiction, but in a form that is more aligned and congruent with your highest values.
For example, you may discover that your addiction gives you ‘time out’ – there are numerous other ways to get ‘time out’ in your life, and identifying several alternative strategies can make this a reality.
However, your addiction will keep on running you until you learn to love yourself and govern it.
4. Finding a new job
Loving your present job is wise while you begin planning the career you would love to have. By seeing the links between your present job and your desired career, it will help you move into the future career of your dreams more smoothly.
If you don’t plan out and begin what you would love to do and work toward it, that career is less likely to become a reality. So while you are planning your dream career, be wise and master the art of loving what you are doing by asking yourself “how specifically will my present job assist me in initiating and fulfilling my dream job?”.
If you make the links between these two things, you will be more of a master of your destiny than a victim of your past.
If you are failing to keep a resolution, go back and analyse what you have decided to do instead.
Every decision you make and action you take is based upon what you feel (at that moment) will give you more advantage than disadvantage, more reward than risk. Make sure there are more advantages in doing what you claim you would love to do than any alternative.
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