Making New Year’s Resolutions that Make Sense

Are You Making a Commitment to Improving Your Life?

It’s that time of year again. Are you, like so many people, thinking about making your New Year’s resolutions?  Do yours usually focus on what you want to have or do, or the things you wish were different than they are?

We believe that in order to make resolutions that really stick and bring you what you truly want, it’s important to look underneath the surface of your desires to what is most deeply important to you. So in light of that, here’s a short story that we’d like to share with you.

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A boat docked in a tiny fishing village. A Tourist complimented the Fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Fisherman.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the Tourist.

The Fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The Tourist asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs… I have a full life.”

The Tourist interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you create a terrific business from what you already love to do! You should start by fishing longer every day and then you can sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra money, you can buy a bigger boat.  With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to a big city!  From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Fisherman.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the Tourist.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the Tourist, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” said the Fisherman.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny coastal village, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”

The Moral of the Story

You could probably identify many morals in this story, but the one we would like to focus on is about paying a attention to the difference between what you are resolving to do, your strategies, and what you value when you create a New Year’s resolution.

If you look carefully at this story you’ll notice that the Fisherman and the Tourist actually had many similar underlying values. These are most clearly shown in what they list as their concept of an ideal life. Each aspect of the life they describe is the result of experiencing something that they deeply value, and many of the things on their lists are direct expressions of these values, such as; friendship, play, relaxation, intimacy, friendship, etc. Some are hinted at in the activities; sleeping late maybe an expression of choice, ease, or rest. Fishing could be a way to experience beauty, harmony, peace, relaxation, fun, etc.

You could take any of the activities described in the story and, if you have some competency with the use of a values vocabulary, you could identify each of the deep motivations that create the desire for these activities.

Usually when we’ve heard people talk about this story they do so with a sense that the Tourist is somehow “missing the point,” as though creating a thriving, global enterprise was somehow pointless given that it only leads to that same lifestyle the Fisherman already has. We believe that the activities the Tourist describes actually help make our point about the importance of knowing the deep motivations that drive the strategies that are attractive to you.

Some of the values that may be driving the Tourist, both in his having acquired an MBA and his quest to create a thriving business, are his values for; accomplishment, self-expression, success, adventure, and possibly even contribution. Contribution to all those people who would be employed, the families fed, and the opportunities that a growing company provides to its employees.

None of these values could be satisfied in the same way during the retirement the Tourist describes. That’s the time when the tourist will have the opportunity to experience the rest of those qualities that they value.

Does Your New Year’s Resolution Make Sense?

So how does this relate to making a New Year’s resolution? While it’s good to keep the end in mind while making a resolution (such as that ideal retirement) it’s probably more important to keep the beginning in mind. What gives birth to your desire for a particular outcome in the first place? What is the deepest motivation that creates your desire for the particular New Year’s resolution you hope to make, whether it’s eating less, exercising more, having more fun, or accomplishing that goal you keep putting off?

If you can get to the “beginning” of that desire, what you most deeply value, you may recognize that in fact there are many strategies that would allow you to experience what you value. And if you look carefully enough you may notice that the particular strategy you are resolving to undertake actually leaves out some things that are very important to you. In which case it’s important to rethink your resolution so that whatever strategy finally you choose will provide the opportunity to satisfy everything you desire.

On the other hand, by doing this investigation you may find that your New Year’s resolution is the perfect strategy for helping you experience everything you desire, with nothing left out. This can be a good thing as well, because, as we have discovered over and over again, when people are connected strongly to what they value they are much more motivated to take the actions that will help them experience those results. In fact, a clear articulation of one’s values provides the most effective kind of motivation we’ve seen for sticking with one’s resolutions.

So we encourage you to take a moment and reverse engineer your New Year’s resolutions to determine whether or not they will be likely to satisfy everything that you find valuable. If you’d like some help, you can use our free Values Exercise to do this.

Please post a reply and let us know what you discover if you do this little exercise.


Start Seeing Yourself As Unstoppable with this Simple Self Help, Self Esteem Builder

Do you ever worry that you are not “good enough,” “not smart enough,” or just “don’t have what it takes,”? If so, you’re not alone. Many people have these thoughts. While it may be helpful to know that you are not alone, these thoughts can really interfere with your ability to achieve the things you want most out of life.

A recent report published by the Priory Group addressed the issue of low self esteem,  reporting that millions of British women are suffering from low self esteem that prevents them from having healthy relationships and reduces their overall quality of life. The report, titled, I’m Not Good Enough, surveyed the women on several issues and concluded that these problems are pervasive.

Have you ever seriously thought about your self esteem? Do any of the following statements ring true for you?

1.  I’m just not good enough to get what I want.

2.  At times I feel worthless.

3.  Other people don’t seem care about my needs.

4.  I’m often concerned about what other people might think of me.

5.  From time to time, I worry that there’s something wrong with me.

6.  It seems as though I’m all alone and I must do everything by myself..

7.  Thoughts such as I’m powerless, weak, not safe, helpless often pop into my mind

8.  At times feel like, I’m unlovable or unworthy.

9.  Sometimes in challenging situations, I don’t take care of myself very well.

10. My life is very limited, I have no choice.

If these are things that describe you or how you feel, then low self esteem is most likely limiting you in someway. Interpreting unpleasant experiences from our past often ends up making us think we are less worthy and less deserving of happiness. On the other hand, past circumstances aren’t the only way you might start believing statements such as those above.

For example, have you ever heard someone say something about you and you took it to mean that one of those statements must then be true about you? Now, just because someone says something about you doesn’t make it “THE TRUTH”, but the consequences of believing it is true can have a serious affect on your self-esteem.

On the other hand, self esteem doesn’t just miraculously improve when someone makes a positive statement about you either. Often it’s quite the opposite; many self esteem building experts now suggest we should back off from over-praising our children and making them feel good without having them put forth any effort or motivation.

The truth is, self esteem is not really the goal, it should be considered as more of a result of a person’s confidence in themselves, and knowing what they are capable of achieving. It is often described as a way to explain how well your actions produce results.

Can you learn to build self esteem? Yes, definitely. But only if you are able to transform the limiting beliefs that you hold, these are the things that are preventing you from developing enough competency to make you feel confident.

Before you can build self esteem you must take those limiting beliefs and transform them into new beliefs, ones that lead you to develop new skills or improve old ones. This is not as difficult as it seems. There’s a formula you can apply to help you work through the process, think of it as putting out a fire—the fire that has burned up your self esteem. You’ve most likely heard the phrase, “stop, drop and roll,” and this is what you need to do to build your self esteem.

How does this work? First, you must Stop and listen to the warnings you are hearing from yourself. Then, you need to Drop all judgments of yourself. Finally, you will Roll out a new plan to improve your beliefs.

Stop

Before you can make any changes, you need to identify how you feel. It is often easiest to start with feelings of discomfort—take these as the early warning signs. As soon as you begin to feel this way, immediately Stop and try to identify those judging thoughts that are running through your head. It can be helpful to actually write these thoughts down on paper.

Drop

Once identified, the judgments need to be quickly Dropped. This means you need to know what is truly important to you. When you figure out what you value–that has you make these judgments in the first place–you then shift your thinking from judgments to values and focus on them.

For example, ” I’m just not good enough to get what I want.” might change into focusing on how important accomplishment, or happiness are to you. Try these statements on for size, which feels better? ” I’m just not good enough to get what I want.” How does that feel? Now try this one, “I care so much about accomplishing things and being happy is very important.” How does that feel? Can you feel the difference?

Roll

Dropping judgments can put out those awful fires that have burned down your self esteem. After the fire is gone, get ready to Roll out a new plan, one that focuses on what is most important to you and one that focuses on your strengths. Plan to include two or more specific actions that will support you on your new path to improved your confidence and increased happiness. For instance, if you are looking to find more satisfaction in your career, perhaps your plan could include refreshing and updating your resume and pursuing some new job interviews.

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A Self Help Motivation New Year’s Resolution — Don’t Be So Hard On Yourself!

Try This One on For Size

As we move in to the first weeks of 2011, let your number one New Year’s Resolution be a commitment to self-care and self appreciation.

Have you been putting effort into changing your life for the better for yourself, those around you, and maybe even the world? Does it seem you’ve tried just about every book and program on the market?

If so, while these efforts are often helpful, sometimes the self-awareness they bring can lead to frustration and even more self-criticism and judgment. They can become just one more thing you’re striving to measure-up-to.

You are Doing the Best You Can

As you move into this new year, remember that you are always doing the best you can, and that your “mistakes” are important sign-posts along the road that leads to true happiness. If you take time to read them, they can always help guide you on your way.

So the next time you find yourself feeling frustrated or being judgmental or self-critical — STOP — then take time to identify the learning lesson, celebrate your intentions and efforts along the way, and remember to appreciate all of the wonderful things about you.

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You will have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you will discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.” ~ Alan Alda

Remember that it won’t always be easy to let 2011 be your year of self discovery, self-care and self appreciation, but allowing yourself to relax into the perfection of every moment will guaranteed this year to be part of the glorious, excitement filled journey of your lifetime.

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Be Your Own Boss!

Don’t Tell Me What to Do

Are you tired of people telling you what to do all the time? Do you long to make your own decisions and live your own life–confidently? If so, then it’s essential that you learn to make inwardly motivated decisions, ones that are driven by your personally chosen  and that are expressed as conscious intentions. Simply put, this is how to Be Your Own Boss.

Whether you know it or not, you always have an intention, but if you have an unconscious intention and it’s motivated by limiting beliefs then you’ll end up simply reacting to your circumstances, or as we like to say, re-enacting your past experiences over and over again.

To be your own boss you need to develop your internal authority. This internal authority comes from having a very clear understanding of what’s most important to you at a values level. Internal authority also comes from your ability to create clear conscious intentions based on these values, which in turn motivate the actions you choose to take.

Sadly, most of us have an extremely underdeveloped internal authority, which means our actions are dictated by our limiting beliefs, and our past experiences as they are triggered by external stimulus. If this is true, then whenever we are challenged by a difficult situation we often just react, mostly without even thinking.

What’s Most Important to You?

Changing this pattern and becoming your own boss is only possible when you develop your internal authority. Only when your internal authority is functioning as an expression of your values and conscious intentions will you have the opportunity to respond to situations with true authority.

The very first step in making these inwardly motivated decisions is to know what you most deeply. So if you’d like to start making decisions confidently–decisions that will be satisfying for everyone involved–start by slowing down and getting to know the person you really are.

The next time something happens, and you are feeling dissatisfied with the situation, stop and ask yourself “What do I value that’s missing for me in this situation?” When you come up with the answer, then ask yourself, “What can I do in this moment that is in harmony with my values and that will create more of what I want?”

“I saw that everything really was written there before me, and that the doors had only been closed before because I hadn’t realized that I was the one person in the world with the authority to open them.” ~Paulo Coelho

Choose to be your own boss today!

When you learn to stop reacting, and start responding with authority in everyday situations you will experience a kind of personal freedom you’ve only imagined. You are in control of your life and your experience when you choose to be.

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I Have a Choice? Use Your Remote Control and Change the Channel NOW!

How many do you have?

Have you ever counted how many remotes you have in your home? You probably have at least several, one for the television, the DVD player, the CD player, and even one for the garage door. Each remote is one that you probably can’t live without, each one having a specific purpose. You can perform powerful actions and make changes using each of these remotes.

A series of remotes piled on top and alongside...
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The one remote that’s more important than all others

What you may not have realized is that you also have something that works like a remote control for your brain. This remote is especially powerful, and allows you to change the way you think.

How much of your time do you spend on a negative talk station? Would you like to listen to a “different station” now and then? Well then it’s probably time to use your remote by choosing to listen to a station that broadcasts more positive messages, ones that give you support and encouragement, rather than judgment and negativity.

Stop listening to the messages that say, “I am not good enough, smart enough, good-looking enough “, “I can’t, I should have, I shouldn’t have,” and start tuning into the channel that tells you that you CAN do it, you are good enough, and you’ve done a great job.

“Affirmations are like prescriptions for certain aspects of yourself you want to change.” ~ Jerry Frankhauser

It’s time for a change

So don’t you think it’s time you use your built in remote to change the channel to a more positive station? How do you think you’d feel if you start to hear messages such as, “I am worthy,” and “I can get what I want from life.”?

When you choose to only tune in to the positive messages station, you will create the kind of [tag-tec]self help[tag-tec] strategies that you need to accomplish your dreams.

Anyone that has experienced the power of positive belief statements can attest to the changes that ensue when you use your internal remote to change that negative believe channel to a more positive one.

Allowing ourselves to focus on improving our self esteem and our self image can bring peace and harmony into our lives, along with a much more authentic happiness.

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