new year's resolutionsHello 2011!!  I’m glad you’re here.  I think it’s going to be a great year of new beginnings, new experiences, new relationships and new ways of doing things.

And to let in all the new stuff, we’re going to need to let go of some old stuff.  This means cleaning up the areas of your life that may not be working so well. 

You may need to clean up your physical space – clear out some clutter, get rid of clothes you don’t wear, get organized, clean out your garage, etc. 

You may have relationships that need to be cleaned up – clear up any misunderstandings or unresolved issues with others, let go of or reduce your interaction with people that are no longer a positive addition to your life, let those you care about know how you feel, etc.

You may have financial issues that need attention – get clear on your financial situation and take responsibility for it, stop avoiding the issues or blaming outside circumstances, let go of bad spending habits, etc.

You may have a lot of mental clutter that’s holding you back – get clear on what’s truly important to you and let the rest go, reduce your stress with exercise, sleep and fun activities, put your attention on what you want rather than what you don’t want, etc.

You may have decisions you’ve been avoiding making or actions you’ve been avoiding taking because they’re scary or uncomfortable – get through them as early in 2011 as possible and you will feel enormous relief and an increase in energy.

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions because I don’t think they work.  How many have you made that you’ve actually stuck to and accomplished?  I bet not many.  That’s because they’re set up to fail.

Here’s how resolutions work:  You look at what you’re unhappy about in your life and you make a resolution to improve those things, right?  Let’s take a common example – weight loss.  Let’s say you’re not happy with your current weight or current level of fitness, so you resolve to exercise at least 4 days a week.

Most likely you’ll start off strong.  You’ll go to a gym or set up a regular workout schedule with a friend or at home.  And then you’ll gradually start losing momentum, or there will be a week when something unusual happens, like a trip or company visiting or a sick child.  And before you know it, your 4 days a week have dwindled to 1 or 2. 

And then the negative self-talk kicks in.  You’re even more unhappy with yourself now than before because now you feel like a failure.  You haven’t even been able to stick with your plan for more than a few weeks.  And with the self-criticism and self-blame, you’re likely to fall into even more unhealthy habits which will be counter-productive to losing weight.

Do you see how this is a vicious cycle?

So here’s what I do instead and I highly recommend it! 

Instead of focusing on what I’m unhappy with in my life, I first look at all the things I’m happy about.  I really take note of them and feel deep gratitude. 

Next I imagine what my ideal life would be.  And I don’t mean pie-in-the-sky stuff.  I mean a realistic picture of how I’d like my life to look.  For example, a close, loving relationship with my daughter, wonderful friends I spend time with regularly, work I’m excited about doing each day, a healthy, fit body  that allows me to pursue all the activities I enjoy, plenty of energy, a comfortable home where I feel safe and relaxed, and so on. 

You can get very detailed too.  For example, earning at least $80,000 per year, taking at least 3 vacations, growing a thriving vegetable garden your back yard, reading at least 12 new books, writing a book, getting a wonderful new business partner, etc.

Write down all that you want in 2011.  Be specific and clear.  Try to avoid negatives.  In other words, don’t say “no more back pain” (because this focuses the mind on “back pain”).  Instead, say “a healthy, strong back” or “a healthy body that allows me to be active and comfortable”. 

Write it in present tense, as if you already have it.  So instead of saying “I will make $80,000 this year” or “I will write a book”, say “I make $80,000 and I am the author of a best-selling book”.  This helps anchor the desires in the mind and makes them more real.

Let’s go back to the weight loss example.  Instead of saying “I will lose weight” or “I have lost weight”, say something in the positive, like “I am my ideal weight” or “my body is healthy and fit, and I feel confident and attractive”.  Do you see what a huge difference there is in those statements?

By focusing on that (a healthy fit body that feels good) instead of a resolution to workout 4 days a week, there’s a lot more room for success.  There’s not the same pressure or stress of trying to stick to a schedule, but the mind is thinking about being fit.  This affects the whole body.

Awareness, focus and intention are incredibly powerful. 

Think about this: when you get a new car, don’t you start noticing that exact car EVERYWHERE?  It’s as if you are attracting them, right?  Why is that?  It’s because it’s at the forefront of your mind.  You are aware of it (unlike before) and you are focused on it.  If you put your attention on what you want in life, you will start to notice it and attract it. 

If you are focused on feeling and being more fit, you will start to make different choices throughout the day that will help you move toward that fitness.  It’s a natural progression. 

I’m not saying you can just sit at home and think about what you want, and it will magically fall out of the sky and into your lap.  Action is necessary.  But you will be able to take the appropriate actions much more easily if you are focused on the end result that you desire, and grateful for where you are today.

So chuck those New Year’s Resolutions and decide what your 2011 is going to look like!  I’ve already decided – mine is going to be amazing!!  Care to join me?