Happy New Year.
It’s that time again when we all make resolutions to change something in our lives. Maybe you want to lose weight, or give up drinking, or smoking, or find a job, or move house, the list is endless.
Lots of people make New Year’s resolutions, but the problem is that so often those resolutions have one thing in common – the inability to stick to them. I’ll go one further in fact, and say that the one thing about New Year’s resolutions is that people wonder how long they can stick to them almost before they’ve started.
So what is the point in making a resolution when you know there’s not much chance you’re going to stick to it?
There are numerous articles out there talking about how quickly resolutions are broken, numerous people declare they are not making any resolutions because they won’t stick to them. So in fact, the general idea of making a resolution at New Year is that one resolves to fail at whatever it is you want to succeed at.
If you believe that you will fail then you most likely will, because you’ve already started out from a negative mindset. So why not instead resolve to succeed. If you don’t feel that you can jump on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon, then why not just look at the things you want to achieve in the next weeks/months/year and aim to succeed in achieving those things.
Nobody wants to fail, but we are conditioned to set ourselves up to do so, especially if everyone else around us believes they will fail as well. But you can set yourself up to succeed by firstly getting rid of the idea that there’s no point bothering to make a resolution because you’ll never stick to it.
Instead think of what it is you really want to achieve. Not because of the pressure to have something, but because of what it is you have in your mind to want to achieve, and then start to think of the goals you need to set in order to achieve it.
The changes you want to make aren’t for the New Year, they’re for you.
Have you ever thought about where your negative beliefs come from?
So often we believe that we can’t do or achieve something, yet we rarely think about where that belief comes from, when in fact it often comes not from us, but from another source, someone close to us perhaps.
I have written before about limiting beliefs, where our own beliefs about ourselves can hold us back from the things we want to achieve. Believe that you can’t do something, and it’s likely you will never do it, not because you actually can’t, but because your belief that you can’t stops you from even trying.
But what happens when it’s not actually you that doesn’t believe in you, but someone else? What happens when that someone else projecting heir beliefs of you back on to you, until you too start to believe them? After all, if someone else says you can’t, then it’s likely that you can’t, right? especially if that someone is someone close to you, like a family member, a parent, a partner, someone you trust to have your best interests at heart, therefore you don’t consider that they actually are a negative influence on your beliefs.
We allow others to influence our self belief because we generally trust those people who are close to us. And yet so often it is those people who are closest to us who can do the most damage to our self belief. And in truth someone else can only have an impact on our self belief if we allow that to happen.
But think about a negative belief you have about yourself, think about how you feel about that, and then ask yourself where that belief comes from. Is it that you really believe it? or has that belief come from someone else? And if so, who is that person and why have you let them influence your beliefs? In short, who limits your beliefs?
The answer is simple, the person who limits your beliefs is you. Others may have an impact on how those limiting beliefs come about, after all none of us lives in isolation, and we will always take something from the influence of others. But the decision to allow someone else’s negative opinions and beliefs of us to hold us back is ultimately ours.
Once we recognise that we are the ones who hold ourselves back from achieving our goals, we can allow ourselves to not be influenced by the negative beliefs of others.
No-one else can hold you back, and you have the power to move forward.
Who limits your beliefs?
“I’ll do it tomorrow,” is a phrase often used when thinking about something in our lives we need to do which might bring about change. But why tomorrow? Or next week? Or next month? Why not now?
In truth committing to start doing something at a later date means we have the ability to put it off for a bit longer. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the change we wish to make will never happen, but all too often it happens that what we committed to do “tomorrow,” becomes “tomorrow,” when the day finally arrives, and so gets put back, and back, until time has run away and we could have actually been much further forward in our goals.
One of the biggest barriers to change is fear, and one of the best ways to avoid facing that fear is to avoid change. So by putting off until tomorrow that which you could start today, you are putting off the need to face the fear until then. And then, when tomorrow comes, you put it off again, until “tomorrow,” and then “tomorrow,” and it becomes a cycle which never ends because tomorrow never comes – it’s always today.
So what are you putting off and why?
What changes do you want to make in your life and why are you putting off making them?
If you know what it is you want to change, then you presumably also know what the barriers are that are stopping you from making those changes. How can you overcome those barriers? And what steps are you going to make today to do what you need to to begin to make the changes you want to make in your life.
You have the power to start to make those changes *today*. Don’t put them off until tomorrow, because tomorrow never comes.
I asked the question, “who’s your greatest critic?” And the answers I got were numerous. Most said either their mother or father, and a couple said that they were in fact their own worst critic.
It is common to feel that there is someone in our life who is more critical of us than others, but it’s not so much the criticism that counts, as how we deal with it.
How easy is it to shake off criticism if it is a regular occurrence? After all, limiting beliefs can be easily created if we believe our critics, and if we are own worst critic it can feel impossible to break the self critical habits of a lifetime.
But ask yourself, when taking on the criticism of others what do you achieve? If you refused to take on such criticism how would that make you feel? It’s ok to not take on criticism from others; we may not be able to stop it, but we can take control of how we react to it.
And if you are a self critic? What is it that makes you feel that way? Imagine letting that self criticism, and the resulting beliefs go, how does that feel? If it feels good, then stop imagining and let them go.
Think about your world without the negative beliefs that criticism brings, and take the step today to turn criticism and negative beliefs into positive self belief.
If you were going to plan the trip of a lifetime, where would you go? Imagine planning it, looking at your destination, how would you get there? Car? Bus? Train? Plane? Boat? What might be the things that might prevent you from going on your trip, are there any?
Often life changes are referred to as a “journey,” and this isn’t surprising when we consider that many changes we make in our lives do actually involve travel.
When we move house we hire a van to take us there, getting married involves travelling in a fancy car to your venue of choice, even bringing a baby home from hospital means getting into your car and making the journey home. And sometimes there are pitfalls along the way, things that make those changes and those journeys more interesting, or challenging, but not impossible.
Some of the biggest changes in my life started with actual journeys. Emigrating to another country, going to a new (boarding) school where I didn’t speak the language, returning back to this country several years later. They were all huge changes in my life, changes which helped define me as a person, and they all started out with an actual journey. And I have memories of those actual journeys, coming into land on the flight to our new country of residence, in a thunder storm; we hit an air pocket and dropped several thousand feet through the sky, with passengers screaming all around me. No-one was hurt; it was just one of those events that sticks in my mind. Although I never really liked flying after that. Then shortly afterwards we landed in the country that became my home and formed a large part of my identity.
Driving to school I remember wondering what it would be like. How hard would it be going to a school where I didn’t speak the language. Would I make friends? How would I make friends if I didn’t speak the language? And that was the beginning of a challenging time, but within six months I was bilingual, made a new set of friends and so began a new set of experiences which went on to shape the person I grew into. And it all began with a journey.
So when you think about the changes you would like to make in your life, how could that journey start for you? And where would you like it to end? Of course a journey here is metaphorical, but it still indicates the movement from one part of your life into another, a transition period which will take you from the person you are now, through the changes you want to make in order to achieve the end goal you set for yourself.
Think about how you will plan your journey. Think about where you want to go, and how you are going to get there.
The changes you want to make are your trip of a lifetime.
Start your journey today.
Once upon a time, in a life not so far away, the past began. It was an interesting time, there were good bits, bad bits, some bits which you’d rather forget and some which you will remember for ever. And all the bits could be put together to make up your story.
Then one day, you realised that you wanted to move forward, and in order to do that, you had to leave some of the bits of the past behind. It was difficult, because every one of them was important to you, some of them even helped to form a part of who you are. But in time you closed the pages of the story that was the past, and moved forward into the future, where you lived positively ever after.
Sounds like something out of a story book doesn’t it? And if I were to suggest to anyone that the life they have lived previous to now is a story I have little doubt that some might take offense.
But in truth we can all look at our lives as a story, with all the different parts making up the different elements of who we are. And when it’s in the past, we can’t change it, so why not look at it as a story in order to be able to put it behind us and look at the future?
“Once upon a time, in a life not so far away, the past began.” And it is that reference to it being the past that makes it all a part of the story, and the life not so far away is your life. It’s no less relevant now that you think of it as a story, it merely reflects that it’s a part of who you were then, as opposed to who you are now or who you would like to become in the future.
“It was an interesting time, there were good bits, bad bits, some bits you’d rather forget and some which you will remember for ever.” And again it refers to all the parts of your life which make up the story are relevant, and just because you leave them behind doesn’t mean you can’t remember them and take from them.
The past has happened, even the bits of the past you take with you into the future have happened. You can’t change them, you can only take from them, learn from them, and use them to make the changes you need to move forward.
The story is told. Now it’s a question of what you do with it.
Do you look back at once upon a time? Or do you close the pages and move forward into positively ever after?