The holidays are over. The new year has begun. Cheers! You made it through another year! And, another holiday season. Now is typically the time of year that we all start to evaluate our lives. What’s working. What’s not. What we would like to change which leads to… drum roll please… New Year’s Resolutions; the list of things we have decided we must change. Maybe it’s losing weight. Maybe it’s working less. Maybe it’s working more. More time with loved ones. Eating healthier. Exercising. Taking more time for ourselves.
Whatever you have decided you’d like to change, whatever New Year’s Resolutions you have come up with, have you ever noticed they never work for long? We start off with determination. We promise ourselves we WILL do better. We WILL accomplish what we set out to accomplish. And then, 2 -3 weeks in, we start to fade, we judge ourselves even more harshly then before and ultimately, we give up.
What if New Year’s Resolutions don’t actually work? What if they set us up for failure? Here are 3 fundamental flaws with New Year’s Resolutions along with solutions that do work.
The Flaw of Perfectionism
Whether it’s the idea of the perfect body, the perfect relationship, the perfect career, the perfect life or the perfect anything, the idea of perfection, is a lie. And yet, so many of us buy into this idea. We look at our lives, compare it to others, decided ours isn’t good enough and strive to get it right. How many New Year’s Resolutions are set to try to perfect something about ourselves that we have judged as less than ideal?
The thing is, perfectionism doesn’t exist. Ask anyone who’s ever created a book or a piece of art, built a building, architected a park, it’s never perfect enough. At some point, they simply decided to let it go and to be a gift of creation in the world.
What if YOU didn’t have to be perfect? What if you could simply be you? What if being you makes you far greater than all of the striving of trying to get it right?
The next time you find yourself trying to be perfect while judging that you are not, ask this question, “What’s right about me that I’m not getting?” The moment you ask this question, the judgment dissipates and you start to perceive the gift of you rather than the wrongness of you.
The Flaw of Setting Goals
Look back at New Year’s Resolutions that you have set that you didn’t keep. What happens when you realize you are not meeting your goals? You give up, right? And what happens when you give up? Self-judgment ensues.
The word “goal” is defined in the dictionary as a jail or a prison. No wonder goals never work! When you set a goal, you are imprisoning yourself: you are confining you to what you have decided you must accomplish.
Targets on the other hand are moveable and changeable. You are aiming for something that you desire, but not from the place of trying to be perfect or trying to get it right or trying to do what others find valuable, but from the place of choosing what works for you.
Think of targets as more of a priority rather than a hard-commitment or purpose. When something is a priority, it’s like a lighthouse shining a light anywhere there was something valuable for you. It would be a guiding light but you wouldn’t have to judge yourself if it didn’t happen.
The Flaw of Motivation
After all the holiday down-time, evaluating our lives and what’s got to change, there is often this initial burst of motivation that comes when we set our resolutions for the new year. You know, that motivation that’s completely gone after a couple of weeks?
My friend and the founder of Access Consciousness, Gary Douglas, has this to say about motivation, “Motivation is essentially a lie. The lie is that you would never choose to do anything on your own without an outside source to motivate you to do something, rather than recognizing the infinite creative capacity you have as an infinite being.”
What if, rather than looking for an outside source to motivate you, you got clear on what you are actually interested in and made choices that lined up with that?
A great way to discover what choices you have is to ask questions. Some of these questions include, “What choice do I have here?” “What else is possible?” “What other questions can I ask?” “What contribution can I be or receive?”
You don’t have to be at the effect of New Year’s Resolutions gone wrong. There is an easier, kinder way. Let go of the lie of perfection. Set targets rather than goals. Acknowledge when you hit the target. Be kind to yourself when you don’t. Allow your targets to change as you do. And always ask questions because questions, not commitments and resolutions, open the door to the life you desire.
Dr. Dain Heer is an internationally renowned author, speaker and facilitator of consciousness and change. Co-creator of Access Consciousness, Dr. Heer invites people to embrace their true greatness—people from every culture, country, age and social strata of society. Originally trained as a chiropractor, he has a completely different approach to healing by facilitating people to tap into and recognize their own abilities and knowing. He is the author of 9 books including, Being You, Changing the World, which is now an international bestseller. A guest on hundreds of nationally syndicated radio and TV shows including Fox News and Gaiam TV, Dr. Heer also hosts a regular radio show called Conversations in Consciousness. Follow @dr_dainheer.