Now that 2018 has dawned, the air is heavy with hope that things will change for the better. The good news is that according to research done at the University of Scranton, most people keep their resolutions for about one week. The bad is that the number drops off precipitously after that.
But there’s a way to ensure that this year truly will be different, and that when December 2018 comes around, you’ll look back with satisfaction at what changed for the better for you this year.
The key lies in the alignment of what I’m calling The Three Tensions™–Intention, Attention and No Tension. The first two are probably familiar to you; the latter may be new. Here’s why they’re a critical part of fulfilling your resolutions.
Most people can tell you what their goals for the year are, like losing weight, spending more time with their family, or making the numbers at work. The problem with goals, though, lies in how our brains are wired. Steve Levinson, a Minnesota psychologist who invented a popular goal-getting tool called The MotivAider®, points out that our brains simply are not wired to follow through, causing our best-laid plans to quickly fade into the background of more urgent (e.g. painful) matters unless we are consistently reminded of them.
As I’ve shared in previous blogs, 80% of our thoughts are negative, and up to 90% are simply a rehash of what we thought yesterday. Over time, this repetition actually gets hard-wired into our brains, making it all the more difficult to have a positive thought and sustain it.
When we set a goal, there is an automatic mental distance between where we are now and where we want to be. Simply by setting the goal, we are affirming we do not have what we want.
While some people like to be challenged this way, most find it overwhelming. The reason for this is because goal setting sets up an energetic state of wanting and lack. If you’ve ever read anything about quantum physics or the so-called Law of Attraction, you’ll quickly learn that our experiences don’t match what we want; they match how we are.
This is why, immediately after you insist this is the year you’re going to lose weight, you find yourself surrounded by donuts at the next office meeting; the Pilates class you wanted to take gets cancelled; or you check the damage to your budget from your holiday shopping, only to find it precludes any chance of buying the gear you need to take up cross-country skiing this year. None of this is bad luck; it’s just an energetic match to how heavy the goal makes you feel.
There is, however, a Fullistic® way around this challenge, and that is to set an intention not of what you want to do, but of how you want to feel.
Again, let’s say you want to lose weight. Forget pounds, inches and sizes for a minute. Instead, close your eyes and think, “I intend to feel lighter.” (Or freer, happier or more relaxed, or whatever end state you are truly hoping for)
With your eyes still closed, let your mind wander to mental pictures of people and things that match your intention to feel light, free, happy or relaxed. If you have nothing in your memory that works, then go ahead and playdream. Create a fantasy. We feel every thought we think. In turn, those impulses or vibrations create our biofield, or the multi-layered energy envelope that determines what comes into our experience.
As allow your intention to come alive inside you, something wonderful happens. There is no longer any distance between where you are and where you want to be. You’re there. Now. In this moment. You are the embodiment of exactly what you imagined, with no effort on your part at all because our bodies don’t know the difference between a thought and an actual experience. If you don’t believe this, imagine your favorite food for a moment, and you’ll quickly start salivating, even though it isn’t in the room.
When you open your eyes, you’ll likely begin to experience all kinds of synchronicities that lead you toward an even better outcome that what you might have imagined at first when you were just goal-setting. For instance, the person in charge of bringing donuts to the staff meeting runs late and doesn’t have time to buy them, so there’s no temptation. An old friend from college calls and invites you to her mountain cabin so the two of you can go hiking. Then your sister sends you a text saying that she just landed a job in the shoe department of the local department store, and she can give family members a 40% discount. When you post this on Facebook, two of your friends invite you to join them to walk every day at noon.
In other words, instead of the pain of going after a goal that seems distant and difficult, by feeling your intention, you create an automatic shift in your biofield that opens the flow of energy within and around you, empowering the kind of delightful surprises to make change easy and fun.
You’ll need to be mindful for this tension, since our natural tendency is to notice and mentally stew over the negative. Start noticing everything around you that makes you feel good. This, in turn, will create feelings that match your intention. Look for what you like and what works. Mentally note it, or even better, comment on it.
If you find yourself drifting into doubt, frustration, shame or despair, your attention is likely drifting to your thoughts. Shift your focus to what is actually happening around you and you’ll often find that things are supporting your intention.
Remember: Attention supports intention. Make sure the two are aligned.
The third tension, no tension, is often the hardest for those seeking to change for the better. Finding a state of no tension is difficult because most of us like to feel in control. In addition, we not only carry around the energetic imprint of our past experiences; we are also able to pick up on the “vibes” other people are putting out, which are mostly negative. The worse we feel, the harder we try to control, so it’s a vicious cycle that creates an energetic barrier to experiencing anything truly new, different and joyful.
The state of no tension transforms your experience because it allows things beyond your imagination to enter. When no tension is evident, delightful surprises occur. For example, you’re out walking with your friends over the noon hour, talking about how hard work has been lately. But then one of your friends tells a joke, you all start laughing. and the conversation shifts to happy chatter about your weekend. For a few minutes, you totally forget about work. Suddenly, you feel your phone vibrate in your pocket–a text has arrived. The client who’s been avoiding you for weeks just signed the contract you sent. Suddenly, a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders, and you feel lighter, freer.
The best way to create the state of no tension is to a) recognize when you have it and b) distract yourself. This immediately stops you from pouring strong emotional energy into the thing you don’t want. It’s like pulling the plug on a lamp that’s sparking; it stops the danger. As soon as you do that, whatever you have been blocking can appear. You can distract yourself any way that works for you; or check out my book Feathers: 50 Things You Can Do in 50 Seconds or Less to Lighten Up and Set Yourself Free.
If you’re really ready for something new, try changing your resolutions into an evolution from effort to ease. Swap determination for observation and discover the power both within and around you that’s been waiting for you to notice it. Align your intention with your attention and the state of no tension, and everything–including that which you cannot even imagine–is possible.
Robin L. Silverman facilitates success and well-being at work for men and women around the globe.
4445 West 77th St. Suite 130 Edina, MN 55435