Issue 31 / Ditch Your Resolutions And Focus On Your Core Desires!

Ditch Your Resolutions And Focus On Your Core Desires!

Jan 08, 2016

Have you started your New Year's resolutions yet? No? Well good, because you shouldn't. 

In the state of newness and excitement that comes along with ringing in the new year, have you set resolutions for yourself (possibly while you were enjoying drunken bliss on New Year's Eve) only to find that you’re beating yourself up for it by February because you haven’t been able to commit to them? You’re not alone. Many of us fall off this commitment train early in the year. Research has proven that out of 46 per cent of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions, only eight per cent are successful in achieving those resolutions. Three out of 10 Canadians will set new years resolutions, and 73 per cent will eventually break them. Brits on the other hand aren't big on setting resolutions with only 32 per cent doing so.

Why is that?

There are many reasons. One reason is that resolutions are not goals. Period. They are not specific nor detailed and generally poorly defined. Let me share an example with you:

As per research, in the past couple of years, the top New Year’s Eve resolution has been to lose weight. There is nothing specific or detailed about this goal. How are you going to lose weight? How much are you going to lose and by when? How are you going to support yourself to ensure that you stay on track? What tools are you going to use? So many questions need to be answered if you truly want to be successful in meeting your goals. But in the midst of all these practical and logistical questions, there lies a deeper quest.

How do you want to ultimately feel by the time you achieve your goal?

Other reasons why many of us are unsuccessful in meeting our goals include:
Lack of vision and mapping. What is the big picture? How does your goal fit into your entire life? Why am I doing this? What is my purpose?

Poor preparation and planning. Jumping from preparation straight into action without planning or planning effectively will set you up for failure.
Lack of accountability. If you are continuously failing yourself and getting used to it, how about letting a few close friends/family members in on your goal to keep you accountable? Join a group to further strengthen that commitment.
Lack of an inherent desire to meet the goal. More on this (a favourite topic) below. 
Lack of willpower. If you are not meeting your basic needs (for example, sleep) how will that contribute to your ability to stay true and committed to your goal?
Lack of primers (visual cues) or rituals to reinforce the goal. Stock up on post it notes!

Failure to plan to fail. What is your back up plan to get yourself either back on track with a modified goal or with a new goal if this goal is no longer appropriate?

It's time to get started with your core desires.
Photo Credit: 

Let’s talk more about the lack of an inherent desire to meet our goals. Goals that we set out are not always aligned with our core values or desires, which would explain why many of us fall off this bandwagon. Frequently, they are someone else’s wants or standards. Often, they are the “shoulds” (e.g. I should work out four times per week at least). The “shoulds” are a killer.  Unless you dig deep and tap into what it is you truly want, expect that it’s only natural that your interest and motivation in your resolutions will dwindle away over time. This is when it becomes important to lead with your core desires. Evoking feelings that make you feel good and serve you can only nourish and inspire you to stay on track. Danielle LaPorte (one of my favourite thought leaders) calls this type of goal setting, “Goals with Souls."
As is your desire, so is your will.
As is your will, so is your deed.
As is your deed,
so is your destiny.
– The Upanishads
LaPorte’s book, The Desire Map, explains this concept in detail. She states that a “feeling is much stronger than a thought." Given this statement, it would make sense why creating your goals around your feelings is the way to go.

So I urge you to set aside time for some reflection and pre-work before you actually set your goals. It is important to know what you want and how you want to feel by the end of it before you goal set. You’d be surprised at how often we are not really clear on our wants and that leads to wishy washy goals.

Grab your favourite pen and journal and jot down the following:

1. Create a list of wants (e.g. I want to lose weight).

2. Next to it, write down the feeling that you believe is associated with this want (e.g. losing weight will make me feel empowered).

3. Prioritize your wants for this year. What are the top one-to-three wants from your list? Pay attention to your desired feelings. What is calling to you the most?

4. Turn your one-to-three wants into goals and be specific (e.g. I want to lose 15 lbs. by December 1, 2016. I will achieve this goal by exercising at Goodlife Fitness four to five days per week, drinking green juice three times per week and eliminating gluten from my diet).

5. Write down your action plan for each goal (e.g. create a schedule with specific times for your exercise routine and for gradation as the year progresses).

6. Create primers (visual cues) (e.g. Post-it notes with your goal on them and the feeling it evokes on your bathroom mirror).

7. Finally, build your accountability team (e.g. get in touch with a friend and become gym buddies).

I leave you with this as food for thought:

Small, deliberate actions inspired by your true desires create a life you love.” -Danielle LaPorte

Happy 2016 and cheers to bringing your core desires to light this year.

Main Image Photo Credit:  

Dimple Mukherjee


Dimple Mukherjee is an Occupational Therapist with over 20 years of experience and has obtained specific training in Health Coaching through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.  She is the founder of Whole Self Consulting and is passionate about helping South Asian working mothers to reinve...


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