As we start 2021, are you feeling the pressure to make resolutions to achieve in the year ahead? Is that list of to-do’s leaving you uninspired and stressed?
What if there was a simple way to help align your goals with your true values, that allowed you to pursue them with joy and meaning and, by doing so, almost guaranteed your success of achieving them?
Here are 3 steps to help you do exactly that!
1. Marie Kondo Your List
Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has become so popular in the decluttering world that her name has become a verb!
Her guiding philosophy is to hold an item you own and ask “Does it spark joy?” Marie suggests that you then pay attention to how your body responds. She explains: “Joy is personal, so everyone will experience it differently. Through the process of selecting only those things that inspire joy, you can identify precisely what you love – and what you need.”
Long before Marie Kondo, Marshall Rosenberg - the father of Nonviolent Communication - suggested using the very same principles to “make your life wonderful.”
Once you have written a list of your goals, dreams, and resolutions for 2021, read through them and put a star next to any that spark joy, a sense of lightness, or expansiveness when you read them. Then put a dot next to any that elicit feelings of tightness, tension, or a sense of dread.
2. Do Some Detective Work
Looking at your list now, how many items have stars or dots next to them? Does that correlate to how much joy you feel in your life?
Ask yourself the following questions about the items with dots beside them:
- Are any of those resolutions motivated by a sense of “should”?
- Are any of those goals motivated by shame, guilt, obligation, punishment or fear?
- What needs of yours lie beneath each of those goals?
For example, Leslie has made a resolution to “Lose weight in 2021”. When she reads her goal, she is filled with a sense of shame about her body and her perceived lack of self-discipline. She believes she “should” be at least a size 12. She fears that she will always be overweight and an emotional eater. She is motivated by a sense of punishment and deprivation to get the size body she feels she should have.
Leslie did some journaling and considered her needs within that goal. She realised that she had a need for health and wellbeing, and for acceptance by others, but more importantly by herself.
3. Rewrite Your Resolutions
Now that you have recognized the needs at the root of your resolutions, can you find a way to meet those needs in a way that feels more meaningful, light and joyful?
Rosenberg suggests rewriting your goal as a declaration of choice:
“I choose to … because I want …”
He says that if you can’t honestly complete that sentence, perhaps you need to reconsider your goal. If that is the case, go back to Step 1!
Leslie decided to focus on her need for wellbeing and self-acceptance. She made a list of ways she could introduce more healthy choices into her daily life. She found recipes with healthy foods that she liked eating and exercise activities that she enjoyed doing. Leslie made appointments for her doctor to monitor her health throughout the year. She decided to use this as a marker for whether she was achieving her goal, rather than an arbitrary number on a scale or clothing label.
After rewriting her goal as
“I choose to create a healthy lifestyle for myself because I want to improve my health and feel good in my own body”,
Leslie felt a new sense of clarity and self-compassion. For the first time in a long while, she felt like she was on her own team.
By uncovering the needs and values that inform our choices in life, we can live our lives from a place of compassion, service, and clarity. Even better, we can do challenging things that are for our own wellbeing with joy and integrity.
How are you going to rewrite your resolutions for 2021?