The idea of establishing a resolution or intention for the year is a good one in theory. After all, where your focus goes, energy flows. The problem with many resolutions is that they’re often based on a deficit perspective or a negative frame. Lose 10 lbs. Exercise more. Spend more time with kids. Save more money. Lots of ‘shoulds’ that are rarely, if ever, compelling.
Resolutions also tend to be static. By this, I mean a directive or finite activity that’s supposed to last for the year. And then life happens, things change and all of a sudden that resolution isn’t so important anymore. But we made that resolution and we were supposed to stick to it! From there it’s easy to fall into a negative spiral.
Being motivated and staying focused is more easily accomplished when our resolution or intention is connected to a value. Something that matters. A lot. Take some time to reflect on what it is that’s important to you this year. What is the value that you’d like to honour more fully? Maybe to live healthily or give back to society or be more courageous. Once you have the value, then come up with a question that connects you to living that value more fully.
How do we find the right question? The question that will resonate and engage us for the year? When establishing your question, it doesn’t matter if it means anything to anyone else. Just to you. Try an open-ended question to provoke your thinking.
My question for 2017 is “what is complete?” This question may not mean much to you. That’s okay. It means a lot to me. I’m on a quest to find ‘more in me’. Rather than let my age be a limiting factor, I want to find out what I can accomplish that I’ve never done before. Letting go of projects, people and pastimes that no longer serve me means preserving energy for the ‘more in me’ that matters.
What’s your quest for this year? (goal/objective) What’s important to you about this quest? (value) What is the question that will bring you closer to achieving it with a sense of fulfillment? (possibility)
Here are a couple of my favourite questions for some of the popular resolution topics:
Health: “What is it to be healthy?” You don’t need a prescribed formula but rather have it be a series of little choices you make with awareness everyday. Perhaps parking far away from the door or walking around the block when you get home at night before you go inside. Or once around the block in the morning before you get in your car! Having fries and a salad instead of fries and a bacon double cheese burger. You’ll become more aware of all the choices you make in a day and whether it supports your personal quest or gets in the way.
Finances: “What is sufficient?” What I love about this question is that it can save us a bunch of money just by beginning to notice how we spend randomly. When you see the gorgeous shoes on sale, it means asking if you really need them or are the shoes in your closet sufficient? When you see the online ad for the latest techno gadget at ‘the best price this year’, you pause to consider if you must have it now or is the version you have sufficient for your needs? When out for dinner, do you need appetizer, main and dessert plus wine or would just two courses suffice and a glass of sparkling water to switch things up? (This question works well for the health topic too!)
Questions help us notice options in the moment, allowing us to make conscious choices versus autopilot actions that we may regret later.
What value do you want to honour more fully? What’s your question for this year? Given how much I like questions, I’d love to hear yours! Please share in the comments section.