New Year’s resolutions: What you focus on expands

With the new year right around the corner, many of us are thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Before you commit to them, read this post by my friend, Kel Wilson.

New Year's resolutions
How’s your life been working for you this past year?

Did you achieve what you promised yourself at the beginning of the year?

If you’re like me and thousands of others you most likely made a promise to accomplish one of the Big Three resolutions: losing weight, paying off debt, or getting organized.

Chances are that resolution didn’t last past the middle of January.


The Problem with Resolutions

Most articles tell us that New Year’s resolutions fail because of unrealistic expectations or a lack of breaking down what we want into smaller, achievable goals. I think the over 90% failure rate by mid January is caused by two much deeper problems.

  • Don't spend time focusing on negative thingsThe first problem with making resolutions is that most of them focus on the negative, or what we no longer want. For most of the women I’ve interviewed (including myself), our frenetic, over-stimulated lives leave us feeling depleted. We already feel deprived and can hardly stand the thought of taking anything else away.
  • Many of the things we want to change in our lives are symptoms of a bigger issue.  Because we are run so ragged and feel so depleted, we try to sweeten our lives by eating sugar, hold on to things we no longer need because the media tells us we will never have enough, and buy things to help us feel more in control of our lives, all in an effort to soothe our exhausted, frustrated spirits.

A Better Way to Change

At a particularly low point in life I realized that all the “symptoms” I didn’t like in my life were a result of a much bigger problem.  My whole life–every single second of it–was doing for others. I realized that I would never be able to make permanent change without first changing what I was focusing on.

And I did just that. I decided to focus on doing something I loved to do for at least one hour a day. That subtle shift in focus changed everything, including my weight, clutter and finances.

Why not make 2013 different? Start this New Year by first understanding what is really and truly important to you. 

What you focus on expands

me timeStart the year by taking some time to focus on your values.  Take 5 minutes and write down what is most important to you.  Prioritize them and narrow them down.  What makes you, you?   Are the things you value most being expressed in your daily life?  If not, make that your change.

We are all compassionate, creative people who are so willing to donate our time, money, and efforts to making the lives of others better.  Let’s make 2013 different by focusing on adding more of what we value most to our lives.  At the very least, focus on giving to yourself as much as to others this coming year. It’s a much better path to change.

We need to stop trying to “become” something other than who we really are.  Instead focus on being fully, deeply, and purposefully yourself.

Kel Wilson co-created the 30 Day Focus ( program to guide you to being able to say yes to your passion and purpose. She is a wildlife biologist turned wife and mother, and more recently artist and blogger.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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