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New Year’s Resolutions

by Frame of Mind January 10, 2015

Have you ever noticed that most New Year’s resolutions involve loss?

“I will lose 10…20…30…40lbs” or “I’ll spend less time on Facebook” or “I’ll yell at my kids less” or “I’ll quit smoking / procrastinating / night-eating.”

You get the picture. We all know the picture. So what’s the problem with this thinking? Quite simply: if we focus on loss, we feel loss. What you focus on grows. It is really hard to have loss feel good – even if we want it, even when we work for it. Loss is a negative state. We fight an uphill battle when we centre our goals around loss. We put ourselves in a negative state in the interest of getting to a positive one.

As all Grade 5 math graduates are aware, multiplying a negative figure by a positive figure will still result in a negative figure.

So, how do we set ourselves up for achieving our New Year’s resolutions? There’s more math involved. This time it involves transformations. Here are five examples of transformations for common resolutions:

    • Transform “I want to lose weight” to “ I want to feel good about my body”;


    • Transform “I want to yell less at my kids” to “I want to find activities that my kids and I enjoy doing together”;


    • Transform “I’ll stop procrastinating” to “I’ll find an activity that I feel passionate about”;


    • Transform “I’ll spend less time on Facebook” to “I’ll spend more time connecting with the people in front of me”;


    • Transform “I’ll quit smoking” to “I’ll start breathing deeply when I want a cigarette”.


Keeping your New Year’s resolution(s) isn’t easy. Everyone knows that. It takes both vigilance and diligence to succeed. But know this: It is much easier to be successful when we feel good. Feeling good creates energy and motivation and it fuels perseverance. It is much easier to continue doing what feels good. It’s hard to make loss feel good.

Why make keeping your New Year’s resolutions harder? Take some time to transform your resolutions into positive statements. Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t – because what you focus on grows. Happy New Year!

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