‘Tis the season for looking back over the past year, and for looking forward to what we want to change or accomplish in the new year. That looking forward is often framed as “Resolutions” or “Goals.” Notice that the root of the term “resolution” is the word “resolute” – defined as “unwavering, staunch, persistent, strong-willed, unshakable, indefatigable” – all terms that point to a need to push forward or stand up to opposing forces. Similarly, the term “goals” inherently indicates a need to measure-up, to do more/better/faster, to push harder. It can feel exhausting and daunting just thinking about the implications of that terminology, much less the actual resolutions or goals! That context is fundamentally about striving, working hard, and surmounting difficulties. And it contains a foreshadowing of downfall and failure.
What if there were an easier, lighter way of holding those intentions? Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, in their wonderful book “The Art of Possibility,” distinguish between the “Domain of Measurement” and the “Domain of Possibility.” The “Domain of Measurement” is where we live much of our lives, constantly striving, and measuring if we are/have enough – enough talent, intelligence, money, time, health, etc. Beyond that domain is the “Domain of Possibility,” which we can choose to move to intentionally at any time. The “Domain of Possibility” is a place where we define the parameters that could encompass what we want – where we intentionally adopt perspectives that support our desired outcomes. So, for example, instead of “striving” to keep your resolutions or achieve your goals, what if you identified beliefs and mindsets that would support you with living into those intentions?
As a coach and coach-trainer, I often talk about the “triple loop” approach to change, working from the inside-out. Rather than focusing on changing behaviors, as is most often done, consider…
(1) If I want to ACT (behave/do) differently, …
(2) how do I need to THINK differently?
(3) And, if I need to THINK differently, how do I need to BE different?
When we start at the BEing level, the thinking and acting changes will flow naturally from there. What beliefs, mindsets, perspectives, moods, energy, intentions are most compatible with what you want? Try those on for size, as an experiment in thinking and being. Notice what it feels like in your body when you’re in that state of being. When you’ve identified and gotten a feel for that state of being, set an intention to notice when you are in flow with that state of being, or out of alignment with it. What cues (physical/thinking/acting) will be early-warning signs to notice when you’ve slipped out of that state of being? When we set an intention to notice these things, our brain tags them as important to us, and makes it easier to catch them and adjust our mindset and choices in the moment. (Just like when you’re thinking about buying a new car, you suddenly see that car model everywhere – your brain tagged it as relevant, so you start to notice it.)
Of course you still need to DO things to maintain your resolutions and attain your goals. But you’ll probably find that the necessary “doing” will be more natural and easier, not forced, coming from an aligned state of being.
How do you want to BE this year, and what difference will that make?