Have you ever made a New Year’s resolution and discovered within a short time you had already broken it? Most of us have and late night comedians even joke about it. Why is breaking New Year’s resolutions such a common experience?
Think about the nature of many New Year’s resolutions. They usually sound something like:
“I will lose weight.” “I will get out of debt.” “I will stop eating sugar.”
Most New Year’s resolutions are about fixing yourself or your situation. The implication is that something is wrong with you and that your life is supposed to be different than it is.
When we focus on what’s wrong with us, our inner state becomes anxious and stressful. Over time, if the self-criticism has become fossilized, the nature of the emotion can become toxic and shaming.
Starting from a place of emotional anxiety and focusing on what you don’t like will take you down the Victim Orientation road of disempowerment in which the reaction, eventually, is to give up on your New Year’s resolutions.
Focusing on fixing yourself also places you in the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ (originally described as the Karpman Drama Triangle) and makes you vulnerable to the toxic DDT roles. You may feel victimized by what you don’t have, then persecute yourself for not having it, and quickly look for a Rescuer to help you feel better.
When you are coming from a Victim Orientation and engaging the DDT, you are actually working against yourself. The more your focus is on how you “should” be this or that, the more your ego digs in, becomes defensive and refuses to change. That’s why New Year’s resolutions that are about fixing yourself are likely to fail.
A healthier approach is to set your intentions from a Creator Orientation and TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™. Start by focusing on what you care about, which evokes your passion and appreciation for who you are, or what you want to create. Instead of obsessing about losing weight or getting out of debt, your focus may be on establishing a healthy lifestyle or setting and living within a budget.
We suggest focusing your time and energy on what you want in 2014. Then, on a daily basis ask yourself: “What is one Baby Step I can take toward my vision today?” Focusing on just that one Baby Step dramatically increases the likelihood you will actually take it.
Clarifying what you want and holding that mental picture in your consciousness will create an inner state of purpose and passion and give you energy to take those Baby Steps. That’s the path toward an empowered New Year!