3 Essential Keys to Fulfilling Your New Year’s Resolutions!

A child learning to crawl, reaches, stretches, cries in frustration, gives up at times, rests, then begins again following that innate100_1134 desire to move forward.

A child learning to walk, pulls themself to standing, bracing themselves as long as they can, taking curious steps, feeling their way sometimes cautiously, sometimes not, depending on their temperament, the situation and their excitement in the moment.

They fall down over and over again, often flat on their face.  They may express their frustration, but they don’t give up.

They don’t attach a judgement to themselves about their success or failure in learning to walk, they just keep going, following that innate impulse for growth, for what comes next.

This innate movement toward growth is what fuels our determination to set New Year’s resolutions and stick to them for once.  We know that we are meant to move forward.  And yet, invariably we have trouble sticking to them.  Unlike the toddler, after some time on this earth, we have developed defenses that are a major buzzkill for all those happy and hopeful New Year’s resolutions.  We get stuck in judging ourselves, blaming others and focusing on the negative.  In fact, our brain is hard wired to do these things because focusing on threat and how to avoid it, is what helped us survive.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to calm your brain so that you can fearlessly and freely step into new possibilities.

Here are a few essential places to start:

Forgive Yourself

The surest way to keep yourself stuck is to tell yourself how bad you are, what a bad job you have done and why you don’t deserve anything good. This inner critic is a common voice many of us have employed to survive by kicking ourselves in the pants, to be a better person.  But you can imagine, if an adult were sitting on the sideline saying all these negative things to a child learning to walk, that it would not make them walk better.  It would terrify and paralyze them. If you are setting resolutions, but speaking to yourself this way, you will not be able to move forward.

Instead, we need to be loving to ourselves, taking blame and shame off of our failures and simply picking ourselves up and trying again, in the way we knew to do when we were young.  We need to recognize that the ‘falling downs’ of our lives are just a part of the normal process of growth, which is essentially, life.  Forgiving ourselves means that we accept ourselves as we are, wherever we are in this journey and embrace our ‘perfectly imperfect’ selves with love and compassion.  It is what allows children to flourish and it is what our souls deserve as well.

Forgive Each Other

A place we keep ourselves deeply stuck is around relationships. We get stuck in blaming others or blaming ourselves. Maybe we said something we regret, we got mad at our child, or someone was a jerk to us.  It’s pretty easy for this to happen because we are all running around so stressed out and disconnected from ourselves and each other.  The fact is we are going to mess up with each other at times.  We are going to get triggered, others will be triggered by us. It’s going to be hard at times.

And yet, when we remember that ‘falling down’ is normal, we can take it more lightly. We can give each other a break, the benefit of the doubt, and accept ourselves and each other for who we are.  We can remember that if we truly want to step into the joy and possibility of each new moment we have to let go the tight grasp of judgement and open our hearts to the eternal goodness in each other.  (Of course this is using your discretion and spiritual connection to know when someone is or is not ultimately healthy for you.)

My husband and I have a shorthand that helps us move forward. Instead of swirling in the “you said, you did” we acknowledge the incident, but then say, “Ok, moving on” and we focus on what we do want in that moment instead. Similarly, if a parent loses their patience with their child, they can get lost in beating themself  up and replay the incident over and over again trying to figure out how to have control over it happening again.  Or they can accept that falling down is normal, pick themself back up, and try again by simply letting go of that fall, and taking another step into the connection the new moment presents, like cracking a joke, getting outside, or sitting down together. Letting go of that tight grasp and relaxing into self-compassion and acceptance, helps us to step into the unwritten possibility of each new moment.

Celebrate your Growth

Susan Page has a wonderful book on relationships called “Why Talking is Not Enough” based on interviews with happy couples.  She noticed that they do not focus on the negative. Instead they keep consciously stepping into the positive through practices that are integrated into their lives, such as, focusing on what they love about each other.  This Christmas, I began a practice of writing a ‘love note’ to each of my children each night and putting it into their advent-ish calendar to find the next morning.  After a few days, I was reminded how powerful positive connection is.  Each day I was giving them this tangible reminder of my love and it was helping us smooth over those harder, stressful moments because they were grounded in the safety of our connection.  The notes were like a balm to the mind that is constantly asking, “Am I safe? Am I safe?”  They said, “Yes, you are safe. You are loved. Relax” which allowed us all to create more positive experiences throughout our days.

And this practice was also training me to focus on the positive.  Each day, instead of dwelling on my mistakes or theirs, I was constantly looking for the thing I was going to write in their note. It became like a gratitude journal or practice, where my looking for it, helped me to relax and rest in all the things that were working, which brought more peace and hopefulness to my heart.  Focusing on these openings, created more openings and it became easier and easier to truly create the family experience we were hoping for.

In a way, by focusing on the positive, we were being our own audience that roots the child on as they are learning to walk.

It may not be as obvious to us now, but we are all simply learning to walk through whatever our journey presents.  This is what we are here for, to unfold and grow into each moment.  To learn to climb and reach for the stars.

If we pay attention, with love, compassion and acceptance, each day we see that we are all making great strides.  As we learn to let go of what keeps us stuck and celebrate where we are moving forward, we create the momentum we need to honor our ‘resolutions’ which are simply the deep, sweet voice of our soul, calling us back to the love, hopefulness and vibrance of who we are and what we have to offer this world.

2 comments to 3 Essential Keys to Fulfilling Your New Year’s Resolutions!

  • Amy

    I started working with Sylvia when my mother died. Sylvia has been beyond amazing. I have gone to counseling before but Sylvia’s approach is so very different. She has helped me with so much more than my grief. After 18 years of marriage I feel like I am becoming a better wife. The negative feelings we have stem from within, Sylvia helps you walk through that process & connect within. The process does not have to be 20 sessions to get 1 small answer. For me the answer has been immediately & when I am at home I am able to continue the process she taught me.

  • Sylvia

    Amy, thank you so much for these kind words. I always so appreciate when someone takes the time to share their experience with me, as I actually have a hard time describing my work sometimes! I am so glad we have had this opportunity to get to know each other and work together! xoxoxo
    p.s. I would love to put your comments in my testimonial section if that is okay with you :)

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