07 Jan Successful Resolution: Let’s make 2019 the year of CAN not CAN’T
Let’s make this year’s resolutions successful.
Sometimes, pesky hurdles, tough relationships, drama, and just obstacles manage to leak into our life making the day-to-day less joyful. So another year has passed and we reflect and think: something needs to give. At the stroke of midnight on the 31st of December, we make grandiose or small promises to ourselves about the changes we will make to improve our lives for the upcoming year.
In my experience, people tend to have a very difficult time sticking to the task and honoring their commitment to themselves. I have also seen that people get fatigued by putting in a lot of effort in futile pursuits of goals that are out of their reach. So let’s change that this year. Let us use effective strategies that are designed to help you actually transform and get off the hamster wheel once and for all.
The first step is to figure out what the actual issue really is. Sure, you may think that this is the obvious one. Imagine that someone feels that their issue is about their frustration with people taking them for granted. Chances are, the obvious solution is to be more assertive. Problem solved, right? No. The actual issue starts with
WHY that person has a common experience of being taken for granted. Part of the reason may be that they keep latching on to people that are “needy”. It could also be that they are “attracted” to people who are selfish or unavailable. Needy people make us feel needed but needy people can also become demanding. We may choose needy people that are emotionally unavailable because we are trying to prove to ourselves that we can convince those kinds of people that we are actually good enough to be treated well. It becomes a vicious cycle of emotional torment that is NOT solved by being more assertive. We may be successfully assertive for a little while, but what will get in the way is the guilt of how people may not feel good around us anymore. Remember, a people-pleaser gets validation from others’ satisfaction with them. Conflict is the last thing they want. Eventually, the assertiveness wears off and we are back on the hamster wheel.
The question is how we got there. Why did we ever get to a point that we believed that we needed to be needed? The source of that could be not having had our needs met when we were young. It could be that we were neglected, hurt or both. So we blindly try to prove to ourselves that we are good enough but in all of the wrong and ineffective ways. Be thorough when you are trying to figure out what the true issue is.
Being thorough means that you are looking for what the root cause (the alpha) is of whichever issue you are trying to address. Finding the root cause takes effort. It is one of the mos
t important steps and one of the most difficult ones because we all have blind spots to our pasts. This is where you may be able to recruit some honest, safe and caring friends, or anyone else that can give you an honest and objective view of your recent and historical experiences. Remember that the odds of being successful drop exponentially when we fail to find the root cause.
You may come up with a few answers regarding your “alpha”. A good way to check how close to the source you are is to look at how the root cause may explain today’s patterns
and challenges. The right answer will make a ton of sense and it will decode the struggles and reveal them as a logical pattern to a path that started a long time ago.
The next step is to figure out what you need to adjust to positively impact your present – your self-belief, how you act, what you believe you deserve, etc. This will be easier if you allow yourself to be supported so that you can stay on track and remain motivated. Funny thing is: life will not pause just because we are intent on working through some of our own “stuff”. Support can go a long way in all ways. If you find yourself alone, reach out. You will be surprised at how many people actually want to be there for you, how many people care for you, how many people can relate to what you are going through and how many people want to make your world a better place.
The question of “how will you track your progress” remains. Your relationships will change over time. Some people that you thought were only acquaintances may become close friends while some people in your inner circle may not be that close anymore. Typically, you will gain clarity. Be mindful, however, to not let your fear of losing the odd relationship get in the way of staying on track to making sure that all relationships you get to have are positive and fulfilling. Temporary potential loss will pale in comparison to long-term peace of mind. Hold on to hope as it will fuel your endeavors.
The last part is to think about what will sustain you along the way. We are sometimes quick to remember the pain we used to complain about in the presence of predictable “pain of transformation”. The latter can be just the fact that you are getting used to something new that is out of your old comfort zone. You may have a hard time letting go of parts of you that you used to know. Remember that you are seeking transformation and happiness.
New Year’s resolutions should be the kind that help us grow and move forward rather than just drawing from our energy only to have us end up where we started. Life can be what you make it or it can be what you let it make of you. The choice is yours and I hope that 2019 will be a great year for you and perhaps the beginning of true peace of mind for you. I believe in you. Happy New Year to you all.
As always, be kind to yourself and others. If you have any questions or comments, you are always welcome to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,
Geoff Ayi-Bonte MA RCC
Registered Clinical Counsellor