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Fail-proof resolutions!

Don Jessop

STOP: This could be the most important thing you will ever read!

Happy New Year everyone...! Now let's get real.
Don't worry, I'm going to keep it positive and by the end, you're going to feel totally inspired and empowered.

Culturally, we all seem to gravitate to the idea of 'New Year Resolutions', after all, why not? It's a new start. All the challenges of last year are washed away into history. It sort of feels like a rebirth, day one! But getting real means going beyond cultural pressures into your own psychology. Do you let life guide you? Or do you like to guide life? It's an important distinction because when you let life guide you, you end up reacting to everything. If you're lucky, you have fun. If you're unlucky, you get dragged through the mud. People that get dragged through the mud look at the New Year as a new start. I love that. And at the same time, I fear the point is being missed.

I am someone who sets long term goals often, not just on January 1st.  I also check in regularly with my progress. It's "who" I am! It's my identity! I like to guide life to the best of my current skill sets. I am not someone who sits about waiting for something to change. I've been there. I've been that person. It doesn't work for me. The point is, resolution is part of who I am, not just something I do from time to time.

Tony Robbins says, "The most powerful force in human nature is to act according to what you believe is your current identity!" Identity is not set in stone. It's a changeable, move-able force.

I consider "resolved" to be part of my identity. But, I didn't always do that. I used to put a lot of weight into what others did around me. I used to wait for life to happen for me, only to realize it was happening "to" me.  I often found myself frustrated by circumstances that didn't go my way. That means I was expecting life to work out and when it didn't, I got lost. In other words, "expectations" were part of my old identity. And let me tell you, expectations are dangerous. read "High expectations are dangerous."

Here's the good news: Identity, as powerful as it is, is a perception of self. It's not absolute. It can be changed, and much quicker than you ever imagined. It took mere seconds to change my old identity, once I realized it was what was holding me back. Identity can change quickly because it's most easily tied to language. There are other forces too, but vocabulary is one of the primary forces of identity. It's why names are so important to us. One word shift can literally start an avalanche of positive momentum when you open up your eyes to what you're doing. For instance... If, "I don't have time," is part of my vocabulary... guess what, I don't! Because, just like Tony Robbins says, I'm acting according to my current identity. If I ever hear myself say something like that, I catch it and rewrite it immediately. "I have all the time I need. That is who I am!"  

I am resolved. That's who I am. I am healthy, vibrant, energetic. I am empathetic, kind, warm. I am funny, happy, and charismatic. I am handsome, playful, and bright. I take time for me and give time for others. I am a lot of things. And... I am not a smoker, not an addict, not intense, chaotic, or unorganized.  These are few of the things I write and rewrite to ensure my current identity supports growth instead of coasting or spiraling down. 

The hard, honest truth... I don't always believe all that stuff right away and I know some other people don't believe it about me either. But my life isn't based on what other people think. And I've found some secrets that help me. It's often only through contrast that I see how I may not be as bright as I want, but... I'm brighter than others, more handsome than some, more energetic than my neighbor. Once I see there is some truth in my statements, I hold onto that truth like a seed planted in fertile soil. Just add water and sunlight and let it grow, because, if we are honest, we don't always feel all those things. It can feel like a lie just to speak it. But trust me, it's not a lie.

Just because something doesn't "feel" true, it doesn't mean it isn't true at some level. Embrace the truth, and the positive energy it brings. You can be broken, and whole at the same time. You can be dark and light at the same time. You can be lazy and energetic at the same time. Meaning... you have the power to be either, at any moment because both are true. It comes down to focus. What do you focus on? I'm not talking about deluding yourself, thinking you aren't capable of bad things and thinking you're perfect. You're not. I'm not. I'm talking about not expanding the negative dialogue inside and instead, growing the positive side of yourself.

Before you make your list of goals this year, do this... make a list of the things you say regularly. Map out your reactions to everything. Map out your "identity speak." All the things you say that start with "I." "I don't... I have... I am... I can't... I wish... I feel... I believe... I think..., etc." I like to take it a step further and map out my global identity patterns too. Things like "people are..., the world is..., etc." To start, all you need is a pen and paper. Record every time you're triggered. What's your reaction? Did some identity speak come up? Map it! If the thought of New Years resolutions bothers you. Analyze it. Listen for identity speak. Map it! Discover who you are and change it. 

If you begin your day with your identity in mind and check yourself throughout, you will have fail-proof resolutions. Just one more note... remember, expectations can be dangerous. They can lead to frustration and downward spirals. It's all to easy to hope something works and much harder to be resolved that it will work no matter what. I have a simple phrase that helps me grow from a small seed rather than plant a huge tree and hope it stands. That phrase is "under commit, and over perform."  This helps me take small steps I can feel good about regarding my goals. It helps me maintain my resolve. Many times, we can over commit and feel like a failure because it didn't work.  

Recently, I resolved to learn a complicated new piano song before the next holiday. I practiced nearly every day for several weeks. When the big day came, I could only just play the right hand melody and not the left hand. Did I fail? No! I committed to learn it, not master it! I am happy with my progress, and in time, I'll nail it down to my heart's content. I like to keep my expectations and commitments in check. We all know people who over commit and under perform. I recommend the opposite. There is no need to outperform others. There is no competition, no need to be perfect. A New Year and a new start is all about making a better version of yourself, for yourself, and for the people you love. 

With these two forces working for you, you will be unstoppable!
1. Positive, progressive identity speak and,
2. Conscious expectations!

Notice... setting goals isn't on the list of "must do's," to start the new year. Becoming more resolved however, could be something worth pursuing. The dreams/goals part can come more organically. It's the identity part that needs your dedicated awareness. It's like I say to all my horse trainer colleagues and clients in the world, "It's not the trotting and cantering about that trains the horse. That's the icing on the cake. It's the standing still work, the Zen work, that consistently trains the proper mindset of a great horse/human partnership." Identity speak and managing expectations are the twin forces that build on the foundational mindset of success. Goals are the icing on the cake. 

Welcome to a New Year, and new life, and a new you!

Comment and share your thoughts with us. We love to hear from you.
Sincerely, Don

Don Jessop - Blog Welcome

Hi! I'm Don Jessop

With Mastery Horsemanship

I write to inspire, educate and encourage you on your horse and personal journey.

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