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Freedom from New Year's Resolutions

Aug 17, 2007
So we've got another January coming upon us, ready to wipe this year's slate more or less clean.

Remember just about a year ago, in the first days of the first month, remember how it felt? Like you had this vast mound of time lying before you, like a huge, un-molded lump of fresh clay? ... Remember that feeling of potential?

"Wow, a whole year," you may have murmured to yourself. "Why, I might be able to do anything with this one. This year'll be different."

Remember that?

... when this year was new and blank and promising... when it still felt wonderful?

That was in January, and you were looking forward. But now it's December, so let's look backwards at the same year.

Do the pictures match? Are they even close? How many of those vast but vague expectations came to pass? What did you actually do with that year?

This is not a rhetorical question... I'm actually coming to a point here... several, in fact.

Remember back over your life, each time a new year began. Recall how optimistic and hopeful you felt in the face of each fresh new calendar. Then remember how you felt about that same year as you crossed off the last couple of days.

POINT 1:

We always look at time (and our place in it) differently, depending on whether we're looking forward or backward.
DO THIS -- STEP 1:

Forward Viewpoint...
Make a brief list of the things you were sort of hoping, back last January, that this year might include for you.

DO THIS -- STEP 2:

Backward Viewpoint...
Now list briefly what you actually managed to do during this same year. By the way, this is not self-punishment time. Don't be hard on yourself just because you didn't suddenly turn into a superhuman achievement-machine this year. Be kind to yourself and write down some things you did that were cool, or important or special to you in some way.

Notice that this year has had some nice stuff in it. (Oh yes it has... look again.)

POINT 2:

The object of this simple little exercise is learning to recognize and use the two viewpoints.

DO THIS -- STEP 1:

Turn to this coming new year. Think of all those days and months lying ahead of you, all the things you might achieve this year.

Feel familiar?

That's the same forwards, vague, hopeful thinking that you've used for every year up to now.

DO THIS -- STEP 2:

Now that you've got this coming new year in your sights, let's do something totally different.

In your mind, go to the end of the year, next December 30th or 31st.

And this time, instead of looking back at the year with feelings of regret and wasted chances, do something new.

Start salting the year with good memories. Imagine that you're looking back over this year which hasn't happened yet, and pretend that it HAS happened. Imagine that you're recalling some of your achievements. Some of the business successes. The good times with family and friends.

POINT 3:

You already have two distinctly different viewpoints and feelings about each year you have ever lived.

One viewpoint is fluffy and vague. And in your own experience, it's inaccurate.

The other viewpoint, however, IS accurate. It may have shown you some disappointments or regrets, but it is associated in your mind with straight-on, bullseye accuracy. Nothing fluffy about this second viewpoint.

We're going to use this backwards viewpoint, with its built-in sense of accuracy, to implant some year-end expectations.

DO THIS -- STEP 1:

Get a pad of paper and a pen, then settle down someplace where you won't be interrupted for a while. Make yourself comfortable... nice and relaxed. Spend enough time on this step that you won't be edgy or in a mood to argue with yourself.

DO THIS -- STEP 2:

Imagine that it's December 31st of this coming year. And imagine that you're looking back, evaluating the things you've done over the "past" 12 months.

Is there a family member that you'd like to become closer to? Is there a business you'd like to establish? What about your income? Really wish you could marry? Remarry? Adopt?

Here's your chance to imagine that all those really good things actually happened by the end of the year.

Just run the "events" through your mind, and feel all the appropriate emotions. Make each "memory" as detailed as the ones you already have from other years past.

Spend some real time sharpening everything up, and feeling the pride of accomplishment, the joy of connecting, the triumph of doing some wonderful things this year -- at last. Finally, you have put a year to good use, and you are wrapped in a warm glow of how much more you've achieved this year... a year unlike all those before.

This year, you're proud of how much you've accomplished.

DO THIS -- STEP 3:

Now make some notes on your accomplishments. This is not a journal entry -- it's notes, phrases and keywords that you'll use to help you replay these scenes again all through the year.

You see, you won't be going through this exercise just once. No, you'll be reviewing it again every few days, maybe every week or so, just to keep in touch with what this year contains. Remember, these are always to be framed as memories you're recalling on December 31st.

And please, please, please don't look at these notes of yours and call them resolutions. They're nothing of the sort.

And nor are they goals.

These are notes you made while you were looking back over the year. These notes tell you facts -- they're what happened during the year.

Did you get that? In your mind they're already done. You've already accomplished them.

Furthermore, they're anchored in your mind with the same feelings of accuracy that you always feel when you look back at past events.

CONCLUSION:

Now you're ready to free yourself from the tyranny of resolutions, which are useless anyway, because we always make them from the fluffy, vague viewpoint of looking into the future.

Instead, you've just created a Year End Checklist. And when you reach December 31st next year, you'll have the fun of running down that checklist and comparing it with what really happened.

But don't be surprised when you find that you've accomplished even more than you put on your Year End Checklist.
About the Author
Charles Burke says that "luck" doesn't work the way you've always been told. Not even close. Read "The Synchronicity Report" - a free PDF download - http://www.2-be.com/synchro
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