The New Year is a perfect time for a fresh start — more exercise, healthier eating, less time on Facebook… And yet by spring we have often fallen back to old habits. Why is it so hard to make resolutions stick?
In her book “The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul,” Author Danielle LaPorte says the challenge is where we put our energy. If we focus too much on outcomes, we get lost in the grind: “It’s what goal chasing brought out in me that wasn’t working. I was going after things — awards, privileges, numbers — to prove myself, and going about it in a way that was pushy.” LaPorte’s process, redirects people from goal setting to identifying how they want to feel, and then making choices based on that experience.
For example, if your resolution involves weight loss, ask yourself how you want to feel. You might say healthy. And what does healthy feel like for you? Well-rested? Light? Energized? Once you know what healthy feels like, you can identify choices you can make today to feel healthy. Take a walk, trade in fries for a salad, turn your phone off an hour before bed. It is these daily actions that will create the feelings you are trying to achieve.
The same experiment could be done with your relationship status. Your goal might be to get married and start a family. But how does it make you feel when you imagine that? Loved? Connected? Grounded? The end game is less important than the steps you take to feel the way you want to feel. How could you feel loved today? Get a massage? Have lunch with a friend? Write yourself a love letter? While you’re nourishing your soul, and drawing positive energy toward you, you’re preparing for the day when you meet your beloved and take steps toward starting a family together.
LaPorte says “the freer I feel, the happier I am, the more I have to give, the more doors open up.” The same is true with our intentions: If we can connect to our greater purpose, and allow there to be pleasure in the process, the outcome is often better than expected.
You can also connect to your greater purpose through the practice of sankalpa, a technique often used in meditation and yoga. Richard Miller, a clinical psychologist and philosophy teacher, identifies the difference between a sankalpa and a goal: “A sankalpa isn’t a petition or a prayer, it is a statement of deeply held fact, and a vow that is true in the present moment.” This manifests as speaking of a desire as if it is already attained. I want to be loved becomes I am loved. I want abundance shifts to I am the source of abundance.
What if this year you try something new? Start with the belief that you are already whole and worthy, rather than someone broken that needs to be fixed. Then turn your focus to how you want to feel, and what steps you can take every day to support that feeling. Create a sankalpa that manifests what you most desire, and repeat to yourself over and over again. The universe wants to conspire with you, and the world needs you in your vitality and joy!