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Self-Care Minder

Exploring Womanhood > Mind, Body & Soul > Self-Care Minder

A New Look at Resolutions
by Jennifer Louden

Here we are at the calendar start of a New Year, when many of us turn our attention toward our desire for change. I want to pass on some helpful ideas by coach Deborah Keahey. Her material is in caps, my comments follow in regular case.

10 STEPS TO BETTER RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR BY DEBORAH KEAHEY

1. MAKE RESOLUTIONS THROUGHOUT THE YEAR, RATHER THAN WAITING FOR NEW YEAR'S. THAT WAY YOU'RE LIKELY TO SET GOALS THAT ARE REALLY MEANINGFUL AND COMPELLING, RATHER THAN SETTING GOALS FOR THE SAKE OF A HOLIDAY RITUAL.

I like to bite off my year in three-month chunks. I then take a mini-retreat at the three month mark to check in with myself and adjust my goals. To know Iım working on three or four intentions for the next 3 months is comforting instead of overwhelming.

2. ELIMINATE RECURRING RESOLUTIONS. ANYTHING YOU'VE SET AS A GOAL BEFORE AND FAILED AT PROBABLY ISN'T GOING TO WORK ANY BETTER THIS TIME. DROP IT OR REDEFINE IT TO MAKE IT MORE DOABLE AND ATTRACTIVE.

If I keep trying to change something, and the change is not happening, I ask myself:

  • What am I getting out of not changing, not following through?
  • Do I really want to change?
  • What do I need to learn to make this change happen?
  • How will I feel when this change is a reality?
  • What beliefs must I hold to support this shift?

3. ALIGN RESOLUTIONS WITH VALUES. WHEN GOALS ARE IN SYNC WITH YOUR NATURAL VALUES, SUCCESS COMES MORE EFFORTLESSLY.

Knowing your values creates a powerful internal sounding board to help you make decisions, big and little. To begin to name your values (examples include honesty, connection, creativity, family, working with others, authenticity) ask yourself some of the questions I ask in a coaching intake session:

  • When I remember feeling really alive and in the flow, I recall . . . (What incident comes to mind? Who were you with? What were you doing? What values were being honored?)
  • When I remember feeling really angry, I recall...
  • What canıt I live without? What must I have in my life?
  • What do my friends count on me for?

The answers will start leading you toward values you hold dear.

4. CROSS 'SHOULDS' OFF YOUR LIST. 'SHOULDS' AND 'MUSTS' ARE ACTUALLY OTHER PEOPLE'S GOALS, NOT YOURS.

As I told a coaching client, "Your biggest job right now is to learn what you want." When it really comes down to it, few of us know. Want to be happy? Do only what brings meaning and healing to your life and stop caring if anyone approves of you.

5. MAKE RESOLUTIONS SPECIFIC AND MEASURABLE. IF THERE'S NO CLEAR FINISH LINE, YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO KNOW IF YOU'VE SUCCEEDED. VAGUE GOALS CREATE ANXIETY AND DRAIN ENERGY.

Be clear and know what you want AND be flexible and open to help from the universe.

6. IDENTIFY WHAT MIGHT STOP YOU FROM SUCCEEDING. ANTICIPATING POSSIBLE OBSTACLES MEANS THEY ARE LESS LIKELY TO DERAIL YOU WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER THEM. SOME WILL EVEN DISAPPEAR JUST BY BEING NAMED.

What shadow comforts and time monsters are likely to eat you up? Name what is looming for you in the next month and then brainstorm some possible solutions and supports.

7. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU WANT, NOT WHAT YOU DON'T WANT. SOUNDS BASIC, RIGHT? YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED. ENERGY FOLLOWS THOUGHT, SO YOU ATTRACT WHAT YOU FOCUS ON. PHRASE RESOLUTIONS TO EXPRESS THE POSITIVE, NOT THE NEGATIVE, SIDE OF YOUR GOALS.

Watch what you say about what you want. Not because of some voodoo boomerang principle but because action follows thought, and thoughts take form in what you say.

8. MAKE YOUR PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT DO THE WORK. IF YOU WANT TO WATCH LESS TV, PUT IT IN STORAGE. IF YOU WANT TO CURB CREDIT CARD SPENDING, KEEP THEM IN A SAFE DEPOSIT BOX FOR EMERGENCY USE ONLY. IF YOU WANT TO EAT HEALTHIER FOODS, MAKE SURE THAT'S ALL YOU HAVE IN YOUR HOUSE. YOU GET THE IDEA.

What "tools" would help you succeed? For example, Quicken (a money management computer program) is a tool that's helping me to meet my goals. Other tools Iım using include: micro recorder in my purse for spontaneous ideas; voice mail reminder calls, full-spectrum lighting at my desk and a yoga CD.

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9. VISUALIZE THE BENEFITS OF YOUR GOAL. BE SPECIFIC AND CLEAR TO YOURSELF ABOUT WHY THE OUTCOME IS IMPORTANT AND WORTH ATTAINING. IMAGINE HOW GOOD IT WILL FEEL. RELISH THE DETAILS.

One of my dreams for 2002 is that my family experiences more joy and better communication, and that we function as a family with more ease. How will I feel when that is a reality? Relaxed, connected, my heart soft, my forehead smooth.

How will you feel when YOUR dream is a reality? Get specific ­ what will your body be doing? Forget words and get into sensations. Assume the actual body disposition of how you will look when your dream is a reality. Forget the details, forget what you will have to do, go for the feeling and the body of your dream made real.

10. GET SUPPORT. CHANGE IS EASIER AND MORE FUN WHEN YOU HAVE A COACH TO HELP.

And you can create your own goal support group. Become accountable to each other via a weekly phone meeting. Or team up with a support buddy and check in with each other for five minutes a day to declare what you will do to move toward your goal today.

About Deborah Keahey: Deborah is an award-winning published author, online educator, and owner of Lifescape Coaching. Deborah can be reached at http://www.lifescapecoaching.com.

Copyright 2002 Jennifer Louden.

Jennifer LoudenJennifer Louden is a best-selling author of The Woman's Comfort Book, The Comfort Queen's Guide to Life and three other titles. You can visit her popular website at ComfortQueen.com where over 600 articles about self-care, an interactive Inner Organizer, and a wonderful CQ store await you. Jennifer also works with a few clients at a time as a life coach.

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