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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 August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.

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How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.

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Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:

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The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.

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9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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