Do New Years Resolutions really help you make progress toward your goals?
I don’t think so.
I believe they actually create the totally opposite effect by piling on pressure, judgement, shame and guilt.
It’s not wonder they don’t last for most people!
In this episode I share what’s actually happening and an alternative approach that will keep you starting any new journey, any time, and continuing your progress long after most New Years Resolutions have been left behind.
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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos. Why setting New Year's resolutions may just be sabotaging your progress. That's what we're talking about in episode 103. Hey there, I'm Cari Wise, after graduating from veterinary school over 20 years ago, struggling to create balance and failing to protect my mental health and emotional wellbeing, I finally ditched all the rules and forged my own path forward. I used my professional education in ways I didn't even know were possible. And through that journey, I developed a deep sense of who I am, a brand new set of skills, and a clear understanding of what I'm meant to contribute to the world. Each week here in the Intentional Joy Podcast, I'll share what I've learned along the way in order to help you develop your own deep sense of personal identity and connection with yourself so you can live an empowered life on your terms too. This is what I call aligned living and it begins with intentional joy. So if you're ready to claim this for yourself, let's go. Hello, my friends. Welcome to episode 103. We have entered 2023. Can you believe it? It seems like 2022 went by in a flash, and I anticipate that 2023 is gonna feel much the same. And as we kick off 2023, a lot of us are looking the face at New Year's resolutions. They're staring us right in the face. We're making this list and we're feeling pressure to create this list of things that we will achieve during the new year. These New Year's resolutions, my friends, for most of us, they do not help us at all. And so today I wanna talk about why setting New Year's resolutions is a really bad idea and what you can do instead. So when we think about New Year's resolutions, what most of us identify as our New Year's resolutions are areas where we have tried it, tried and not created the results that we want in our lives in the past. So they're automatically anchored in a bit of shame and a bit of defeat in a bit of, of re of regret maybe over what we haven't achieved yet. It's an opportunity for us to bully ourselves and it's never gonna be useful. All of those things that we identify as our New Year's resolutions, a lot of the time they are anchored in something that we believe that we should have already been doing or should have already achieved. And because we have not, we're making that mean a whole lot of negative things about ourselves. We approach these New Year's resolutions that are anchored in these kinds of histories through a sense of obligation, through a sense of force, through a sense of, like I already said, shame. And when we try to change anything in our lives from that kind of emotional perspective, it's really, really hard. Not only is it difficult for us to take the actions that would actually move us forward, but we feel like crap all along the way. And who wants to do that? I know that I don't, I know it's really common this time of year for people to set all kinds of new goals and obviously one of the most ob obviously one of the most obvious, that seems a little redundant, but one of the most common things that we see right now at this time of year are weight loss goals. And so I thought this would be a really good time to help show you to explain to you what I'm talking about when it comes to New Year's resolutions. And it comes to just starting a new, when it comes to a brand new day and all the opportunities that you have there. Because when we're talking about New Year's resolutions, it's right here at the beginning of a year. But the truth is that you have a new beginning available to you in every moment of every single day. So if we, we wanna use the weight loss as an example here. Back several years ago, I went on a weight loss journey. And guess what? I didn't start that weight loss journey on the 1st of January. I didn't. I started that weight loss journey back in September of 2018, and it was a Thursday, it wasn't even at the beginning of the week, it was a Thursday. And that journey at that time for me didn't include trying to force myself to stick to any kind of plan. There wasn't any kind of strict diet to fall. There wasn't any kind of exercise regime that I was committing to doing. And when I say committing, I mean I told myself I was gonna do it, so I was gonna force myself to do it no matter what. That's not at all the approach I took. That is absolutely the approach I took every other time in my life that I tried to lose any weight. And guess what? Even if it worked, I couldn't sustain it because I went back to the old habits. As soon as I eased up on myself, as soon as I hit my goal, I relaxed. And in that relaxation, I just picked up all the old habits that had put the weight on in the first place. I was approaching it from the completely wrong perspective. When I shifted my approach, which required me to shift the story, I told myself about the weight, about diets, about exercise, about what would work about would not, what would not work, about why I wanted to lose the weight, about what my life would be like if I did. When I changed all of that story first, then the actions that I took were sustainable. I was able to continue to repeat them over and over and over again. And as I did that from a place of high wellbeing, being happy all along the journey, I actually then created the results that I wanted and I was able to then maintain those results after the fact. This is the exact same approach that we should all use in ar. Any area that we wanna change our lives. We do not need the beginning of a new year to have permission to start. We do not need the pressure of failed last efforts stacked on with bullying against ourselves to force us to move forward, my friends, you don't need to fight against yourself. There is such an easier way, the easier way for anything that you wanna achieve in your life. Any goal that you wanna create, any dream that you wanna see brought into your reality is to first understand why you don't have it today. And the truth of that is simply this, our reality today is the result of our decisions in the past. I know that seems pretty obvious, but sometimes we just need to see it straightened up and black and white. The results, the life that we have today is the result of the decisions that we've made in the past. So our decisions and actions from the past, so every moment before today have all compounded to create the life that we have today. And so the life that we have tomorrow is only based on the decisions and actions that we take today. Your future isn't dependent on what happened before. Your future is dependent on what you do from here forward. And we have to take that one layer f further because at that point, what I've just described sounds just like picking an action and forcing yourself to doing it to create, create a result. But there's a whole other layer to this that most of us don't even realize exists. It's what drives the actions in the first place. Any action, any decision that you make is all driven by the way that you feel. We're talking about the emotions, the things that a lot of us just wanna shove aside and get to work, get into action to create different results. And the reason that we wanna use that method to create change in our lives is number one, because we're taught as a society that that's how it works. If you work really hard, you get what you want and then you can be happy, completely misconstrued. And then number two, we believe that it is the circumstances of our lives that creates the way that we feel. So we'll be happy when we get the thing we want. So work really hard, create what you want, then you'll be happy. We've got it backwards because we're not looking at what is driving the action in the first place. The work really hard. What is being, what's driving that? It's some kind of emotion when we're looking at that entire scenario. Work really hard, get what you want, then be happy. What's driving work really hard is a sense of of like pressure, right? It's an emotion of pressure. It's an emotion of perhaps frustration, obligation, shame, insecurity, inadequacy, work really hard, get what you want, then be happy. Work really hard is not coming from a good place. When we do that and our happiness then becomes contingent on whether on how hard we work and how successful in air quotes that we are, we're measuring our success by the outcomes. It's completely the wrong way around. What's driving our actions and behaviors is always an emotion. Do you want your actions and behaviors to be driven by fear? Do you want your actions and decisions to be driven by responsibility, obligation, pressure, when we're doing a lot of comparing ourselves to other people and the things that we're putting on our list of goals for ourselves are simply what other people have on their list. And we haven't ever considered why we want it. We just believe that we should want it or that we should achieve it because that's what creates success or that's what creates a good life or a good person. Then we wanna notice that the emotion that pushes that is one of obligation or responsibility. It's one of fear. Fear of not being accepted, fear of not being good enough. So it's actually driven by low self-worth, low self-confidence. And whenever we're in a place of that low self-worth, low self-confidence, insecurity, fear, and we're forcing ourselves then through that pressure to take actions, even if we create the results that we want in our lives, it's not gonna be sustainable and it's not gonna be enjoyable. And here's the thing, we tend to push ourselves really hard and we have a capacity to do even when we don't feel like it. And I'm not saying that we're always gonna feel like doing the things we wanna do, that's like a whole other conversation. But what I am saying is if the vast majority of it is anchored in some kind of negative emotion for you, even if you create it, you won't be able to sustain it and it's not gonna be any fun all along the way. And it's not gonna give you that ultimate outcome that you're looking for, which is to be happy, work really hard, be successful, then you can be happy. No, being successful doesn't create happiness. Reaching your outcome does not create happiness. And so when we push ourselves because we believe the prize is happiness on the other side, it is quite a blow when you get to the other side and you're still not happy. How many of you have had that happen? People who have gone through veterinary careers or any other professional career path that's required a whole lot of work. This is kind of front and center for us as a reality. We work really hard. We make lots of sacrifices all along the way to get through that academic program, to get out into the real world because we're believing that we're gonna be happy once we get there that it's all gonna be worth it, right? And then you get out there and you're still unhappy. So where does that leave you? That only leaves you then to conclude that you made a wrong decision in pursuing it in the first place. But it's just not at all how it happens. You just have the emotions in the wrong place. The truth is that you wanted to pursue whatever your professional degree program is, and you did that and you did that from an emotion of desire. You also did that from an emotion of possibility. You believed in what your life was gonna be like on the other side, and that is a beautiful place to take action from. But you also, then, when you get to the other side, if you realize that all of the things that you believed your life would be aren't showing up for you, a K, a happiness, you don't then take that as evidence that you made a wrong choice. That's what so many of us do. Whether this is a career choice or relationship choice, any kind of choice, that's not at all the the case. Instead, we have to look at why are we believing that our circumstances are creating happiness in the first place, when that's not at all the way that it works. Circumstances never create happiness or unhappiness. They're always neutral. It's what we believe about all of it that creates the emotion for us. So in that same line, we consider our new goals, the things that we wanna achieve for our lives. And when we're starting out from there, from place, from pressure or obligation or insecurity or low self-confidence, low self-worth, and we're forcing ourselves white-knuckling through to take these actions cuz we believe somehow on the other side of it, we will feel worthy. Worthy. We will feel capable, we will feel successful, we will feel happy that imagine the disappointment if you force, force, force, force, force and you get on the other side and you still don't feel any better. Very, very defeating kind of feel. Very disappointing. And so a lot of us just slide back into our own habits cuz we figure if it's really hard to maintain these habits, then I feel like crap anyway. Then why bother? Well, here's the thing. If we can just change the way that we approach that new habit in the first place, then we actually don't have to wait until it's very well established and those goals are met until we actually feel better. You don't have to let your confidence and your happiness and your wellbeing, your your value, your sense of self value and so forth, you don't have to let any of that be, be contingent on whether or not you actually hit that goal. You get to enjoy the journey. I know it's a cliche, enjoy the journey. People say it all the time, but they never explain exactly what it means. What it means to enjoy the journey is to just create the journey for yourself. Create the emotional experience of the journey yourself by deciding every moment of the way what you believe about your journey and what you believe about yourself. Deciding intentionally, not just looking at what's around you and gathering evidence to prove somebody else's assumption. True. You decide intentionally for yourself. So every day becomes a new beginning. These New Year's resolutions, most of them are rooted in some sort of shame, some sort of guilt, some sort of responsibility about how you should be living your life. And my friends, if you did not choose that for yourself, let's just get rid of that resolution because it's never gonna bring you what you think it will. Instead, if you do identify, there are things that you would like to accomplish this year, there's changes in your life that you would like to make. Number one, let's not put a time limit on it. Let's not do that at all because here's what I know about any goal. Tiny actions repeated over time, create massive results. It's gonna take as long as it takes. And when you get your mindset in alignment with what it is that you wanna achieve, then that timeline really shrinks and the effort really decreases. It becomes really easy. It actually becomes inevitable. So instead of keeping your happiness and you're confidence held hostage by some resolution, some goal that you have to achieve before you can be happy, how about we do it the better way? How about instead we just look at every day or whatever moment in time you wanna begin as the new beginning and you just decide that today you're gonna write a new story about yourself. You're gonna write a new story about what's possible. You're gonna write a new story about what you believe about that thing that you want to bring into your life. One in all of these cases that creates a positive emotion, something that creates maybe confidence or certainty or hope or anticipation or excitement, something like that. Some positive emotion, something that raises your dead emotional state because when you do that, then you're going to take actions and make decisions that are actually gonna move you forward. Then you're gonna be able to sustain those actions and decisions over and over and over again for the long haul. And when you reach your goal, you're going to be able to sustain the presence of that goal because you've created an entire thought process around it that's made it inevitable. It's a completely different way of looking at making progress and achieving goals, but I promise you it is the easiest way and it is the one that is guaranteed to create the results that you want because it only requires you to work on what you believe. It doesn't require you to work harder out in the physical world. It doesn't require you to suffer. You are not here to suffer. You're here to decide what you want for your life. Those hopes, those dreams, even those goals that you have for yourself, the ones you have for yourself, not the ones that you've adopted from somebody who said that you should have those goals to be a responsible human. No, those are not your goals. The ones you decide for yourself that you want, all of those, those ones that really truly resonate with you, you have the capacity to achieve all of those already inside of you. The only thing that you have to do is calibrate your own emotional state to the energy where it exists. Bring up your emotion to the level of what you think you're going to feel like when you achieve it using the old methods. And if you can get there, as we start to climb that ladder of managing our emotional wellbeing on the front end, then you will take actions and make decisions that move you closer to that goal and ultimately achieving it and then sustaining it. It is so much easier even if you start on a Thursday in September. So as we move forward here in this new beginning of this new year, know that you get to start whenever you want. You get to start whenever you're ready. You get to make it as hard as you wanna make it, which means you can also make it as easy as you wanna make it as well. If this kind of thing really sparks something in you, if this idea of creating your reality by really just focusing on the things that you control and up-leveling your own wellbeing, your own emotional state, increasing your mood, your happiness, enjoying the journey along the way, if this resonates with you, if this is something you would like to learn more about, I would love to help you. So just jump over to joyful dvm.com/boot camp or carry wise.com/bootcamp. Either URL will work and you can learn about our Aligned Living Bootcamp because these are the kinds of things I'm teaching inside. So if you're listening to this right now, the doors are still open until midnight tonight, and if you happen to catch this on a replay, then just know if the bootcamp isn't open, it will be opening soon. So make sure that you get on that notification list so I can remind you when it's open. I don't want you to miss it. All right, my friends, remember, when it comes to your life, you are the only one who can make the best decisions for you. You already know what those decisions are when you tap into your own inner knowing and whether or not you enjoy your journey is for you and you alone to decide. So if you have not been enjoying your journey, if you've put a lot of pressure on yourself with New Year's resolutions, I want you to step back. I want you to consider that you can approach this with a completely different way, a completely different perspective, and you can truly enjoy the journey. Enjoy all of 2023 and blow your own mind on what's possible, what you can achieve when we get to the other side. All right, my friends, have a beautiful rest of the week, and I'll see you soon. Bye for now.