I used to love writing out a list of new years resolutions. Mostly based on my perceived short falls and failings from the previous year. A vague list a mile long, full of high expectations of self, rooted in seeking some level of ideal, aiming for inevitable perfection. Often these new years resolutions were created from expectations of what I thought I should be doing and achieving. From comparison, looking outward to what was normal in society and what everyone else was doing, rather than what I actually desired.
And after a couple of weeks - or more likely - days, I'd fallen of the wagon, or swayed off track which left me feeling like a failure. If only I was more disciplined, or more perfect or more....something I just wasn’t.
It was a sneaky method for re-creating more of the same. That sinking, heavy feeling of disappointment and failure. Year after year
So in my world, New Years Resolutions were the fastest highway to hell. Feeling not good enough and disappointed in myself.
And I soon gave up on new years resolutions and just like everyone else around me, I got drunk and wished away the year that was, declaring this new year will be different, better, it just had to.
Until I came across a new approach, a couple of years ago now. A book called The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte somehow found it’s way into my life and completely flipped around the way I was seeing and doing life.
Life changing. Transformational. And fun.
LaPortes book is based on creating goals with soul by knowing how to want to feel.
I believe we are all powerfully creative beings.
We are given this gift to create. Freewill to choose. Dreams and desires to nourish and grow. We create our experience of life whether we realize it or not. Ten different people will experience the exact same event and if you ask them they will recollect ten different experiences based on the way they absorb, think and process the event. We each create our own meaning about life based on our past experiences which form our beliefs and values which create our thoughts and feelings.
And what we focus on grows.
So if what we are thinking or doing makes us feel bad and we focus on that and how bad or unhappy we feel, we feed that bad unhappy feeling. And by default we create more of the same.
I wish to share my new approach to this often challenging time of year.
A fun, creative approach that makes me feel excited, on purpose and clear around where I choose to place my energy in the coming new year.
Screw the New Years Resolutions
Instead, I’m all for creating life with fire, meaning and intention - yep that feels so much juicer and exciting to me.
Create space to reflect
Create some space, and quiet time to reflect on what has been, what the last year was like for you, how did you feel about it. Get it out of your head and on to paper - it helps you realize and see things you might otherwise miss.
Desire is born out of darkness and discomfort
What didn’t work, what didn’t you like, didn’t feel good. Knowing what was hard and not working is a super helpful gift. Knowing what you don’t want and how you don’t want to feel is what allows you to connect to what you do want instead.
Be thankful for everything in your life that did not work or didn’t feel good. These hard experiences help us define and get really clear on what we do want instead. See the challenges for the gifts they are and the important part they play in the creative process of life. We need to know what we don’t want so we can create what we do want. Accept and feel thankful for all happened rather than holding on to regret or disappointment.
Allow yourself to truly desire
What do you want instead? Allow yourself some space to dream, vision and desire. Give yourself permission to desire what it is that you really want. Desire allows us to evolve, to create to move through life rather than stagnate. Be aware if you tend to discount or downplay your desires. Give yourself permission to be honest about what you desire.
Behind every desire is a feeling
Your desires reveal what it is really you’re seeking underneath the attainment or achievement of external and material things. Why do you desire what you desire, ask yourself what are the feelings you’re chasing, how are you hoping to feel in the achievement or attainment of your desires, how do you want to feel?
Let your desired feelings be your guide.
Allow how you want to feel to guide your decisions, your actions, your choices and where you place your energy for 2016.
Here are some personal examples of the creative process forming two of my core desired feelings for the new year.
Core Desired Feeling: Fun and Adventure
My desire to feel fun and adventure in 2016 is born out of realizing I really felt the absence of fun and adventure this past year. 2015 was an inward, reflective, healing year for me and it felt heavy, hard and too serious at times. As a result I’m really clear that I want to create more fun and adventure in my life next year and make daily, weekly and monthly choices that allow me to feel fun and adventurous. This allows me to explore what creates feelings of fun and adventure. I can make choices and decisions to integrate and bring in these feelings into my life now, rather than waiting until I’m unhappy and or waiting until I go on holiday to allow these elements of fun and adventure into my life. It might be as simple as dancing daily, bringing a playful, fun attitude to whatever I’m doing or trying something new once a month.
Core Desired Feeling: Thankful and Appreciative
As a result of my NLP master practitioner training this year, I have gained new knowledge about meta programs which are the automatic programs in our mind that filter, delete and distort the way we perceive and experience life. I came to understand that my brain is automatically wired to see whats wrong, what’s out of place, what ’s not working and what can be done better. This is useful in some situations where problem solving is required. However, it also means I automatically look at my life from a viewpoint of what’s wrong rather that what’s right - and guess what, it doesn’t feel good. It feels disheartening and frustrating at times to only see everything that I want to improve in my life. Now that I know better I can do better. So because of this new knowledge and awareness, I’m very clear I want to feel thankful and appreciative for all of the goodness in my life. Being thankful is an important daily practice for me to rewire my mind and thinking to focus on what I’ve got, rather than what I haven’t. As a result I feel good when I am thankful for life rather than frustrated with life.
Changing the lens through which we see and experience life changes how we feel and how we feel impacts how we show up in life and the actions we take.
So how do you want to feel next year?
What are you aware of that you don’t want to feel and how do you want to feel instead?
This clarity gives you power. For then you can allow your actions, choices and decisions to guide you towards how you want to feel.
Here’s to you choosing to create a new year guided simply by feeling good.