Resolutions 101: When You Slip, Release Failure and Focus on the Fix!

Resolutions-Learn from MistakesResolutions are in the air, as 2014 begins its unfolding and we all anticipate making some desired changes in our lives.

It’s an exciting time, filled with hopeful energy and new promise.  And for many of us, it’s a time when we re-introduce resolutions that we’ve made  in the past.  These are goals that we believed would improve our lives, but for some reason we didn’t follow-through.  Maybe we make the same resolutions again and again … only to have them ‘fizzle out’ right about when February rolls around.

Probably the last thing we want to do, at that moment, is think any more about that particular resolution!  Feeling like a failure, the instinctive reaction is to ‘forget it’ and move on.

But, in reality, we don’t just forget it.  We can’t.  Maybe we joke about it and roll our eyes. But underneath it all, in our hearts, we feel deeply and quietly discouraged, having  undermined our self-trust and depleted our confidence and energy in the process.  We move on, but we carry those feelings right along with us.

Resolutions 101: Taking Your Power No Matter What!

In my most recent edition of the Finding Time E-zine I wrote about the valuable lessons that can be gleaned from old, unmet resolutions.  When we step toward them, not as failings or foibles but as sources of information, they have lots to offer.

Consider reviewing past resolutions prior to creating new ones. Your patterns are like paths. Why not observe where they direct you and how you feel about the destination? Once you identify false leads, you’re much better prepared to chart new paths.

There’s so much information in our wrong turns and dead-ends! Approached with an open heart and curious mind, there is NOTHING that can’t be mined for precious gems of wisdom.

“Don’t look where you fall, but where you slipped.” African Proverb

Maybe you discover that your resolutions don’t really fit you.  Perhaps they spring from values that you learned but no longer hold.  Or maybe they come from a place of self-hatred or self-punishment.  If that’s their genesis, there’s no wonder you’d balk at following through!

Elizabeth Grace Saunders has written a wonderful piece for 99u titled “What to Do When You Fall Back Into Your Old, Less Productive Ways” that explores how to deal with relapses when trying to establish a new behavior.

When you notice that you have reverted to an old way of behaving, it’s tempting to take the easy way out by blaming the system or blaming yourself. Whether you take the “Stupid Technique” or “Stupid Me” approach, you end up diminishing your desire to try again because you see yourself as a victim of external circumstances. To experience lasting habit change, you need to look at the situation as an opportunity to learn what you can do to create a different outcome in the future. Instead of overreacting to the blip, step back from it, see it as an incident instead of an indictment, and then examine it like Sherlock Holmes looking for clues.

Resolutions: Stay Calm and Carry On

The lesson?  When resolutions fail, that’s just the beginning of the story. Don’t panic, but step closer to whatever has just happened and take a good look at it.  It won’t bite!

Let go of feeling like a failure – that just discourages you and keeps you stuck.  Focus instead on what got you off track.  If you choose, you can step right back onto that track.  Or, as you explore, you may discover that a slightly different path works better for you. It’s okay, then, to alter your resolution and continue on … after all, YOU are in charge!

I hope you find this helpful, as you move ahead into 2014.  Here’s to your time success!

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  1. I always resolve to lose weight, but this year i started early.. I am not losing focus this year!

  2. Sophie Bowns says

    This post is brilliant. I found it very helpful 🙂

  3. “When You Slip, Release Failure and Focus on the Fix!” is a great mantra! Thanks, too for that African proverb – I’d never encountered that before! And either would be a great resolution to carry into 2014. Thanks!

    • Thank you, Alison – I love that proverb. And yes, both ideas make for great companions as we navigate this brand new year. Here’s to your time success!

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