By ELIZABETH GRANT, LPCC
“A lot of the conflict you have in your life exist simply because you’re not living in alignment; you are not being true to yourself.” –Steve Maraboli
Let’s Get Aligned for the New Year!
Ask people about New Year’s resolutions and they roll their eyes. It’s understandable as it’s estimated that roughly 45 percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions and only 8 percent succeed.
Resolutions are largely ineffective because people pick them from a place of should and no one likes to be should upon. “Should” is associated with external places of validation and can come from family, societal and religious expectations.
However, when we come from a place of internal desire, we are much more likely to approach our challenge with vigor and curiosity.
Our choice of words in pursuing resolutions can create engagement, or if poorly selected, can create resistance. As an example, let’s start off with replacing the word “resolution” with the phrase “greater self-alignment” and let’s apply it to the popular resolution of losing weight.
If you chronically fail at meeting this resolution, ask yourself what makes you feel whole or alive? Let’s say you identify through this question that you want to coach the local softball team and by doing that your energy levels increase thereby cutting down on lethargic behaviors. Also, by feeling more stimulation in your life you no longer find yourself eating out of boredom.
The general idea is to start where there’s enthusiasm, another word for alignment here, because that’s the place where movement can happen. Many of you might feel that things have to be hard in order for it be valuable and I challenge you to experiment with the idea of joy being the pathway.
I have created a process below to help you understand and apply this idea more concretely. Please grab a pen and paper so that you can elaborate on these questions. If you can, light a candle and feel free to play some relaxing music.
First, get comfortable and close your eyes. Imagine that you are watching a movie of 2020. Use the seasons as a way to review the year, starting with the winter season of 2020, then into spring 2020 and so on.
Then answer these questions below or you draw images if that forum is more accessible for you:
- What moments stand out for you in 2020?
- When did you feel most alive and or whole?
- What were the themes in feeling alive or whole?
- What are your “should/s”?
- What keeps you from experiencing more wholeness? Is there an activity that doesn’t hold value for you?
- What’s something you want to try or to learn?
- What thoughts and stories keep you from pursuing a life of greater self-alignment? (Just making this conscious helps to counter it when it rears its head. However, this can entail a process where you burn your list to discard these counterproductive tendencies as well.)
- Based on this inquiry, what would you like the title of your book of 2021 to be?
Take a moment to see yourself on the cover living the intention you set up for yourself. Really visualize how you’d be actualizing this intention. Let the title be the guiding force for the year and use it to write out some steps you could take to support the theme of your book.
Lastly, remember that change is usually a series of many small steps and so if your book cover is “A Year of Kindness” and you realize that you raced pass your neighbor to get to work without saying “hello”. First, don’t punish yourself or give up on your intention. At least you noticed. When you see them again or any neighbor or acquaintance you can stop your car and say “Hello. So glad to see you today. I am off to work but I wanted to stop and say Hi.” Every new day is a fresh start. Don’t give up because old behaviors take time and patience to reroute themselves and you are worthy of a rich self-aligned life.
Here’s to Greater Alignment!
“True success is not the attainment of things, or the achievement of tasks, or the achievement of financial abundance. True success is the coming into alignment with you.” –Abraham Hicks