If you are like most Americans, you are embarking on 2020 with new resolutions and high hopes that this year is going be different!
Because this year, you've done your research. This year, you've committed to making a real and lasting change. This year, you are going to finally break through the barriers that have kept you from accomplishing your goals in the past.
There's only one thing now that might be standing in your way... You.
If CHANGE is what we are really after this year, it's going to take more than merely repackaging last years's resolutions with a twist.
It's going to take a REVOLUTION. One that roots out and overthrows whatever patterns of behavior or thinking that have brought us to where we are now and sets us on a new path that will lead us towards truly living the life we are seeking.
Still, you might be thinking - that's what RESOLUTIONS are for, right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
You see, resolutions are based on the idea of harnessing or redirecting our resolve/our will. In other words, it approaches change as if it were merely a "mind over matter" battle to be won. The problem with a "mind over matter" approach is that when life gets busy or stressful, our resolve weakens. As our resolve weakens, we generally default back to whatever patterns of behavior and thought processes that are most familiar and comfortable.
This leaves us fighting for change on the surface -from the outside inward. And, frustrated.
One of the primary reasons we often fail to sustain the changes we are hoping to create in our lives is that we rarely deal with the way we think about whatever it is we are resolving to change.
The good news is that there is hope!
Instead of beating ourselves up over and over again trying to win the "battle of wills"on the surface, we can launch an all out REVOLUTION aimed at getting into the trenches of our minds and our hearts so that we can root out and intentionally overthrow the ruling "powers" that have led us to where we are in the first place.
Before you pick up your sword and start charging inward to make the deep cuts, let me add one caveat. While it might take a REVOLUTION to achieve lasting change, none of us need another violent attack on our souls.
We are already bombarded day after day with enough pain and suffering in our own lives and in our world.
Instead, we what need most is to launch a NON-VIOLENT REVOLUTION. One that is guided by our internal compass. One that will help us peel away and release the habits and hang ups that are not in alignment with the life that we sense we were created to live. One that fosters wholeness and wellbeing, from the inside outward.
Here are five effective ways you can do just that.
Socrates once said, "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new."
You don't have sit still for 20-30 minutes for meditation to be an effective means of supporting your journey towards lasting transformation. Simply focusing on a single breath - noticing the way the air feels as it enters through your nose or mouth, then expands and fills your lungs, and then the sensation of your exhale as the breath leaves your body - can 'reset' and calm your mental state.
As we develop a habit of meditation, we become more and more aware of the impact that our thoughts have on our state of being. We also gain the ability to observe our thoughts without judgment, enabling us to intentionally choose which thoughts we are going to allow to guide our lives and which ones we allow to simply come and go.
With practice, meditation can improve our ability to focus while simultaneously cultivating a sense of greater peace, balance, and resiliency. The regular practice of meditation may also aid in reducing anxiety and promote better sleep - both of which help us to experience greater mental clarity and emotional stability.
If you are new to meditation, having a guide can help tremendously. There are a number of fabulous apps available at the touch of your phone that offer a wide range of guided meditations that vary in length as well as theme. Or, check out opportunities available throughout our website at:
Writing down your goals and resolutions for 2020 is a fabulous step towards making them become a reality. The mere act of writing them down helps to strengthen our resolve.
But, if you take a step further and track your progress - noting triumphs as well as challenges - you exponentially increase your chances of accomplishing your goals. Journaling is a perfect tool to help you with this process.
If you are willing to give yourself permission to be honest with yourself as you journal, it can help you get to a deeper level of understanding as you explore both thoughts and feelings that are influencing how you are coping with the ups and down of life.
If you are new to journaling, it can be helpful to use guided prompts to get you started. These prompts can come from sacred texts, a quote that catches your attention, or a journal that invites you to ponder gratitude or mindfulness from various perspectives.
If your 2020 resolutions require significant changes, consider journaling daily for 3 months. Capture your triumphs, your challenges, your dreams, and your frustrations as honestly and as authentically as you can. Then, make it a practice to re-read your journal entries at the end of each week or each month. You might be surprised by what you discover.
Helpful Tip: Rather than beat yourself up over challenges or set-backs, see if you can find patterns that led to those outcomes. As you discover what triggers you to abandon your goals or what weakens your resolve, you can intentionally begin to find ways to support your transformation in more positive and healthy ways.
3. Speak Your Truth
Learning how to speak our truth can become one of the most powerful weapons we have to create lasting and meaningful change.
Sharing our needs, our goals, our challenges, and our set-backs with someone who will listen without judgment (like a truest friend, mentor, spiritual guide or leader, or counselor) can be both liberating and life-changing.
Simply hearing ourselves articulate what we've been pondering internally can be illuminating. And, when we speak our truth, we begin to take ownership of our present reality in ways that can help us intentionally shape our future.
Find someone you trust, and speak your truth. You might be pleasantly surprised at how powerful and empowering this practice can be in your journey towards change.
4. Build Your Tribe
The old adage, "You become like the people you hang out with," is so true.
Beyond speaking our truth with someone we trust, we all need to be surrounded by a community that propels us toward becoming the best version of ourselves.
Cultivating that kind of community does not happen by accident though. It takes time and intentionality.
As you think about the people in your life, who do you know that is already living into the changes (or at least striving to live into the changes) you are seeking to create? If you already know at least a few of those kinds of people, find opportunities to spend more time with them.
If you don't have those kind of people in your life, or you want to expand your support system, be courageous enough to seek out and forge new relationships. If your aim is fitness or wellness, find a local or virtual community that is focused on sustaining their wellbeing in ways that align with your passions and goals. If your aim is activism, find groups or organizations invested in causes you are passionate about and join them in making a difference that only you can make.
However you choose to build your tribe, make it a priority so that when you hit times of difficulty you will have others there to support and encourage you.
5. Practice Grace