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The Amazing Power Of A February Resolution

Feb 2, 2008
What did you think when you read the title of this article? Be honest. Did you assume it was meant for procrastinators? For those who haven't made a resolution for 2008 and want to catch up? Or did you figure it was simply a way to catch the eye of the curious?

They're all true, but the most important audience for the title is this group: people who have made a resolution, or created a goal, and are now finding that they can't quite make it both realistic and concrete, by which I mean "real in the world."

What makes a New Year's resolution or goal fail rather than succeed?

Sometimes it's too general:

"I want 2008 to be a great year for me," for example. By March, or even sooner, you find you're not making anything happen because you haven't specified what "great" means.

Sometimes it's too specific:

"I will raise my earnings by $7,000 this year." Not a bad start. But why $7000? If there's a reason that will motivate you, express it. If it's a number you picked out of the blue, perhaps you can motivate yourself better with a range.

If you said "I will raise my earnings by $5000-10,000" this year, you did two motivating things. You've given yourself the goal of a smaller and perhaps easier sum to acquire ($5000) and at the same time, you've served yourself a taster possibility that makes your eyes light up--$10,000." (You'll want to adjust the figures to fit your lifestyle, but this is the general principle.) You've given yourself two potential ways to win.

But let's look further at the goal.

We've made a good statement, hopefully one that's "juicy,' and makes our eyes light up. And we might be willing to stop there and let the universe take over.

I have no objection to that philosophy if it has a history of working for you.

But for most of us, it's a good start but not quite enough. My mind-coaching clients often remark that doing something while holding the intention in their minds and hearts is most empowering.

Somehow the doing helps clarify and empower the intending. If we allow the granting of the goal to come either from our work OR from unexpected machinations of the universe,
we've given ourselves several chances to "win." It's likely they'll work in tandem to make it happen.

Here's an example.

A friend wanted an extra $10,000 to redecorate her home. She took a second job to get it. In the meantime, a relative died and left her $12,000. Coincidence? Empowered intention? We can't know for sure, but certainly something here is working.
As an interesting side note, she kept that second job (but worked fewer hours) simply because she liked it.

So what about the February resolution? Where does it come from and what is its power to make a difference in your life?

It could be your January resolution thought out and clarified. In other words, a new resolution that includes the original. For example, if the original resolution "I'm going to get a new job this year" were opened up and explored, you might end up with "I'm going to become certified in ______, make contacts in the field, and get myself a position that makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning."

Notice how the jumping out of bed conveys the attitude you want to have about the job, how life would be for you, and is something you can imagine feeling. Knowing exactly how you want to feel can later help you choose one job offer over another.

"I'm going to lose 40 pounds in the next six months" may become "I'm setting up a combination of how I think, move my body and eat that will guide me toward weighing 40 fewer pounds six months from now."

Your February resolution could also be the January resolution with the kinks worked out. One client's original resolution was to feel more peaceful at work. A client I'll call Jennifer enrolled herself in yoga and gave up excessive caffeine. Those changes put a dent in her stress level, but it was not enough.

There was obviously something missing.

So "Jennifer" asked herself where the rest of the stress was coming from. The answer? Relationships. Her February resolution was to repair her relationships at work that were broken, and create new and nurturing ones.

Within a month, almost everything in her life got better during the hours between 9 and 5. Soon the diminished stress and anger of the workday made her a calmer, more pleasant person at home, and her home life underwent an even greater positive shift.

That's the power of a February resolution created from a refurbished New Year's resolution. But sometimes it works another way.

"Dave" declared that his resolution was to date an exciting woman. He signed up on Internet dating sites and started frequenting singles events, but he felt like was meeting the same people again and again.

When that New Year's resolution didn't quite do the job, he thought about it some more. He decided to become the person he wanted to spend his time with--instead of searching for a woman to fill that position. What he did was change his resolution from putting an exciting person into his life to becoming that exciting person in his life.

Everyone has his own idea of what exciting is. For Dave it was traveling, being a good-to-great skier and becoming more involved with people. Dave already traveled quite a bit, so he began by making a list of all he places he had dreamed of visiting but never got to.

He chose China, and booked himself on a tour that involved lots of physical activity, great food, and educated people. Not only did this become the beginning of a life of travel, but he met his lifelong travel partner. By the way Dave insists that even without the fairytale ending, it would have been an amazing trip.

My take is that when Dave created one specific goal that excited him and that he could imagine with all his senses, he got what he dreamed of--and more. Being on that trip, he unleashed the exploratory, excited, curious and open part of himself that hadn't come out since his college years.

And it was that part, once exposed, that attracted "Donna."

So...what was that New Year's resolution you made...and how can you stir it up allow it to inspire you?

2008 by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Wendy Lapidus-Saltz is a mind coach who uses hypnosis and other techniques to help people break unproductive habits of thought and action, and create productive new ones. Based in Chicago, she specializes in smoking-cessation and issues of love and relationship. For more info on her programs visit http://www.nonsmoker4life.com and http://www.hypno-attraction.com or call 312-640-1584 for a brief consultation during business hours, Central time.
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