Happy New Year!
As per usual, the new year tends to bring with it a load of excitement, expressions of “This is MY year!”, and staunch stubbornness and willpower to set measurable goals to ensure it is so. This commendable dedication always seems to last about six weeks, then old habits, patterns, and routines start to take over once again. And BAM! Enter stage right – the influx of feelings of failure, disappointment, shame, and discouragement – and thus thoughts of not being good enough or strong enough to make IT happen. I know this is the typical New Year’s loop for me – how about you? How long do you manage to keep the tide of change rising before your old stuff starts rearing its predictable head again? Do you chastise yourself? Do you shame yourself into submission? Do you call yourself nasty names that you would never say to anyone else aloud? Do you place unrealistic expectations and deadlines on yourself? Don’t worry – you’re not alone – most of us do.
What if there was a different way to go about making lasting, meaningful change in your life? What if I told you there is a way to do this without berating, chastising, failing, or shaming yourself? What if I suggested something wild and wacky that most of us don’t do on a daily, weekly, monthly, or hell, on a yearly basis?! What if I said that you would have to do this THING many, many times a day to make it work? Would you consider doing it, no matter what? Would your curiosity be piqued?
Well, here’s the wild, wacky, out-of-this-world method to making and managing lasting, meaningful change. Are you ready?
Drum roll, please…Set an intention and practice KINDNESS.
Did you giggle when you read this? Or did you get a little annoyed with me when you saw what it was? Perhaps, you had a little light bulb go off in your head that said, “Oh yeah.” It’s also quite possible that you said, “What the heck is that Michelle talking about? How in the world does practicing kindness help me lose 10 pounds? Or pay off my debts? Or start a new business? Or make my relationship with my mother better?”.
No, this is not a trick. This is not a new-wave, confangled, loopy idea to becoming besties with change. Rather, this is a simple, manageable way for you to identify what you want to change (or become consistent with it), set an intention for it, and be kind to yourself in the process. Change doesn’t happen overnight – change takes time – months, years, decades even. So, practicing kindness while you are in the midst of living in your intention is essential to feeling empowered to keep going, even when times are hard, and you feel like you’re not making any progress.
The typical nature of the change process is to take two steps forward and five steps back (which can interchangeably increase or decrease at any time). Therefore, rather than beating yourself up every time there is a setback, or you feel you’re not getting anywhere, and you hear yourself saying:
“But I’ve only lost 3 ounces this week!”
“But I’ve had nine NO’s to my business idea this week alone!”
“But my debt doesn’t look like it’s shrinking at all!”
“But my mother has criticized me during every phone call this month!”
“But I just don’t see any other way to increase customer traffic!”
Take a deep breath (or three).
Then, remind yourself of your intention.
Remember what you want and who you want to be in your life.
And BE KIND to yourself.
One way to practice this kindness is to be mindful – acknowledge and accept those nagging, fear-driven thoughts in your head – then change the placement of the BUT in the sentence and add a positive thought to finish it off:
“I’ve only lost 3 ounces this week – BUT that’s 3 ounces gone!”
“I’ve had nine NO’s to my business idea this week alone – BUT I’m putting myself out there which means a YES is possible!”
“My debt doesn’t look like it’s shrinking at all, BUT I’m making the payments on time!”
“My mother has criticized me during every phone call this month, BUT we’re talking, and I will find the strength to communicate my feelings to her!”
“I just don’t see any other way to increase customer traffic, BUT I’m working on it!”
Practicing kindness in the way you talk to yourself is a skill that requires time and effort. If you’re like me (and so many others), there are things you probably say to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else! However, to get started on making change and to have that change last, being kind and understanding of yourself is one of the key skills to managing your success.
Change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, awareness, practice, and a clear vision of your intention.
So, what’s your vision for 2020?
Until next time…
Keep It Simple,
P.S. To hear about my SIMPLE system for setting and clarifying a Life Intention, head over to the Keep It Simple Coaching & Consulting Facebook Page to watch my latest video!
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