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5 Steps to Choosing Expansive New Year’s Resolutions

5 Steps to Choosing Expansive New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of the year when we take a break from our routine, celebrate the holidays, and get social with family and friends. It’s also the time we review our year and start looking at the new year with optimism and a fresh perspective. We excitedly come up with goals, prayers, or even a focus word for the year ahead. Unfortunately, out of the 45% of Americans that actually make new year’s resolutions, only 8% stick to them.[1]

The success of achieving resolutions or goals often comes down to our intention and the mindset we were in when we made them. What we often forget is that the purpose of our resolutions and goals is based on us expanding and stepping into the highest version of ourselves. From this place of expansion, we can better serve others and live a more fulfilling life.

If you make your resolutions and goals from a place of fear, pressure from others, or by what you feel you should do, you automatically set yourself up for failure. If you instead follow the path of logic, combined with heart and intuition, then your chances of succeeding are much higher.

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Here is a 5-step process that combines logic and heart that I use to set expansive intentions for the new year and successfully achieve them.

Step 1: Take inventory of the past year.

In agile development, “retrospectives” are frequently used to give teams the opportunity to pause and reflect on how things have been going and then, based on those reflections, identify the improvements they want to make. After answering these four questions, they then make a new plan for their next product build:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What have I learned?
  • What still puzzles me?

This process can be applied in a similar way to review your past year. You can make a list of your successes, challenges and failures, big lessons you learned, and what areas in your life you still want to improve on. This list can be used as a basis to form your goals and resolutions for the new year.

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Step 2: Choose a balanced approach.

Personal development leader Steven Covey based a lot of his work around the four fundamental human needs: physical, social, mental, and spiritual. When not balanced, these unmet needs can cause us to be unfulfilled versus when met allow us to be enriched and fulfilled in our lives. In Stephen Covey’s book First Things First, he describes these needs by the phrase, “To live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy.” “To live” addresses our physical needs such as food, shelter, and health. “To love” falls into our social need to belong, give and receive love, and relate to others. “To learn” includes our mental need to develop, grow, and become the best version of ourselves. The desire “to leave a legacy” is our spiritual need to make a contribution to this planet and have meaning and purpose to our lives.[2] Try picking 1 – 2 goals from each of the four categories to create a more balanced list of resolutions and goals.

Step 3: Be realistic, don’t over commit.

The optimistic feeling we get at the end of a year and beginning of new year can often cause us to place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. Although it is good to dream big in order to expand to our full potential, we also need to be realistic about our time, energy levels, health, and priorities. Too often than not we set ourselves up for failure by taking a boot camp approach to making resolutions and goals; this often leaves us feeling disappointed that we couldn’t stick to a plan, which was physically impossible to achieve to start with (unless we eliminate sleep from our lives).

They key is to start with baby steps, then build from there. If you have never meditated before or have limited experience, to set the goal of meditating everyday for the whole year may be unrealistic; instead, you could start with committing to 15 minutes a day for 40 days. If you miss a day, you start your 40 days again; this way, you allow the neuroplasticity of your brain enough time to form a new habit, so you continue meditating.

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Step 4:  Break things down into time increments.

New years resolutions and goals can often be too vague, such as, “I want to lose weight,” or come with no plan on how to achieve your goals. Rather than making a blanket statement with no defined date, set specific goals for the first quarter of the year that build up towards your ultimate goal. After three months, assess where you are at, then define your new goals for the next quarter.

Planning personal expansion in short-term increments also allows room for growth, discovery, and change of priorities. We don’t always know what is best for us, so by surrendering to the flow of life we allow exactly what we need to reveal itself. The best thing is, we are always where we are meant to be and continually learning.

Step 5: Take an attitude of gratitude.

Once you’ve followed the steps above, switch your energy to a higher frequency through practicing gratitude before making your final list. Gratitude not only reminds us of all the blessings we have in our life, it also brings us the gift of being present. From this place of presence and higher consciousness, we can assess each resolution and goal to discern whether our need to achieve it is coming from the right place. For each resolution and goal, tap into your heart and ask yourself:

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  • Is this something I want to do or feel I should do?
  • If I put my ego aside right now, does this still feel like an important goal for my life?
  • Do I want to achieve this through my own free will, or by the pressure of someone else?
  • Will this ultimately serve my highest good, or is there another option for some other time?

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Statistic Brain: New Years Resolution Statistics
[2] Stephen Covey: First Things First

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Kelly Weiss

Purpose-driven business + lifestyle coach

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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