- Making the most of the week between the holidays
- December 26, 2017
January 01, 2018
what we hold ourselves
~ Hildy Gottlieb, The Pollyanna Principles
Choosing to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
Imagine the world we could create if the collective New Year’s resolutions of everyone on earth became reality! We would all be healthier, kinder, more attentive, living more simply and more fully.
What would it take, then, for us to actually keep the promises we make each year?
Because our thoughts create our actions, the key to turning those resolutions into reality lies in the decisions we make, not just once a year, but every day.
Making Mindful Choices Minute-by-Minute
Decision-making is the process that turns thinking into doing. Because you make micro-decisions all day long, the opportunity for keeping your resolutions lies in those real time minute-by-minute decisions. (Check out last February’s eJournal, where we talked about the hundreds and thousands of Decisions You Don’t Realize You’re Making. )
Mindfully aiming your daily decisions towards accomplishing your resolutions is therefore not about deciding in the morning and hoping that decision will carry through the whole day.
Instead, it is about being aware at the moment you are making a decision, and seeing that decision for what it really is.
Because once you see what you are really deciding, it becomes easier than you might suspect to make the decisions you want to be making.
The decisions we THINK we are making:
When it comes to changing habits, we tend to believe we are making yes/no decisions.
“Will I get up early to meditate – yes or no?”
“Will I go for a walk during my lunch break – yes or no?”
“Will I engage my family in conversation over dinner – yes or no?”
The decisions we are REALLY making:
In reality, you are making yes/yes decisions. You are deciding between two options. And each time you move away from your resolutions, it is because you are choosing the other option.
- Will I get up 15 minutes early to meditate or will I sleep for 15 more minutes?
- Will I go for a walk during my lunch break, or will I sit at my desk browsing Facebook and Instagram and news feeds on my phone?
- Will I engage my family in conversation over dinner, or will I turn on the television?
The answer to keeping your resolutions, therefore, is to be mindful of how many times a day you are choosing to do something else. And to mindfully choose what you really want to do.
When you catch yourself falling back on your intentions, notice the real choice you are making.
Resolution: Be more active every day
I am choosing to play solitaire for 10 minutes as a break,
rather than go for a walk.
Resolution: Read one book every month to expand my mind
I am choosing to stay in bed for 15 more minutes,
rather than read.
The practice of noticing is powerful on its own. Noticing allows us to see reality, free of the stories we tell ourselves about things just “falling by the wayside” or “not happening.” That alone is a huge step in the direction of our potential.
If the “noticing” step alone has not motivated you to choose your potential over your old habits, take this extra step: Read BOTH your choices aloud, taking full responsibility for your decision.
I can choose to play solitaire for 10 minutes. Or I can choose to go for a walk.
I am choosing _________________. *
By mindfully noticing how many decisions actually make up our actions, we are creating conditions for our own success and the success of those around us. That is why the practice of Catalytic Decision-making is the first step in the Catalytic Thinking framework.
* The language in this “choice” example comes from Suze Casey’s book on Belief Re-patterning, a powerful framework for getting out of your own way. We highly recommend her book, and if you use the link here, a portion of the proceeds will go to support Creating the Future’s programs! Link here to the Belief Re-patterning book
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If you’re new to our eJournal, or just want to remind yourself of past practice exercises we’ve shared, check out our eJournal archives here.
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