From my work with my clients, I know how much energy and hope can go into setting New Year's resolutions. I also know how dispiriting it can be when those goals become difficult before it's even February.
While our intention is usually good, our energetic motivation is sometimes lacking love. In other words, we often set out to accomplish something in order to eradicate something we dislike about ourselves.
For example, I started working with a client last January who came to me saying: “I hate my stomach. This year I want to lose at least 15 pounds.” Her intention was to love her body, but the energetic motivation fueling her was body-hate.
I asked how she was going to lose the weight and she rattled off activities she'd been trying to do since the start of the year: running three times a week, going to the gym, avoiding sweets and eating out, and the list of rules went on.
She'd become a strict disciplinarian in regards to her diet, workout regime, and social life.
After two weeks of saying no to dinners with her friends and avoiding sweets, she had a bite of her boyfriend’s cake and ended up eating half of his dessert. As soon as they paid the bill, her inner disciplinarian kicked in and scolded her endlessly. She felt horrible and beat herself up all night. She vowed that this would not happen again, but somehow she kept slipping.
I asked her why she wanted to lose weight and after we dug through her stomach hate, we discovered that she just wanted to feel comfortable in her own skin. She wanted to enjoy her boyfriend’s hand on her stomach instead of dreading it. She wanted to sit down without thinking about whether or not she had rolls. She wanted to feel beautiful, confident, and in tune with her body.
I explained to her that hating her way to loving her body wouldn’t work. She couldn’t spend the year scolding herself, beating up on herself, and isolating herself from social gatherings and suddenly—just because the scale said a certain number—feel beautiful, confident, and in love with her body.
So instead of being a disciplinarian, we worked on her becoming a loving supporter. She moved away from trusting the scale and toward trusting herself: her own hunger feelings, her own impulses for what felt nourishing and loving.
Her resolution switched from wanting to lose 15 pounds to wanting to feel in tune with herself. Instead of being in constant fear of breaking the rules, she was able to make decisions based on whether or not a certain meal or workout would help her feel in tune with her body. The journey became pleasurable and fun instead of dreadful and self-sacrificing.
If you're having trouble sticking to a goal, ask yourself how you can move away from being a disciplinarian and move toward being a loving supporter. Ask yourself why you want to achieve a certain goal in the first place.
Danielle LaPorte, author of The Desire Map says, “You are not chasing the goal itself, you are actually chasing a feeling.”
What's the desired feeling underneath the resolution?
Make that feeling your goal. I know you can do this!
In the comments, let me know what goals you're struggling with and how you can become a more loving supporter. Give yourself the time, love, and support you need to create lasting changes.