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Change how you change
When I set an intention of loving self-care, I started the path of self-observation and learning.
by Marcia Hyatt

I have had it with New Year's resolutions. For many years, I would set a goal, put a plan in place and usually by March it was long forgotten.

Like most people, I had a perennial goal to become more fit. I had accountability, small specific steps, money invested in a gym ... and it just did not stick.

I know it works for some. But, not me. Not most of us. Few succeed with resolutions. Even heart patients who are told their lives are in jeopardy unless they change have lousy success rates.

Many just give up on change: "This is who I am, get used to it." And there is some wisdom in that self-acceptance. The questions become "Am I fully showing up for my life?" "Am I behaving in a way that gets in the way of my health, relationships or values?" If you are not happy with the answers to these questions, then take heart: we can change. I have done it and have seen others make radical changes in their lives. But instead of newer and better resolution techniques, we should consider a different approach.

I was not going to become more fit with a resolution. I was not going to be fit when I assumed work and other's needs were more important than my own. The story I was telling myself tethered my habits in place. Just seeing this contradiction was a powerful place to start. Rather than attempting to graft new behaviors on top of an old way of thinking. I needed to learn to challenge my old assumptions using intentions.

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The process begins with figuring out what part of me is driving the change. Is it the "mini" me or my grounded self? "Mini" me is concerned with fixing myself and is interested in eradicating flaws (or at least appearing more acceptable). "Mini" me is not above using coercion and force to try to carve out a new habit. And she uses shame to motivate me to get it together.

Grounding makes my experience totally different. Deep breaths, yoga, meditation or quiet time all work to help me align my head, heart and gut. From this place I ask: "What will support me in living fully?" When I set an intention of loving self-care, I started the path of self-observation and learning.

"What would it be like to have a bit more self-care in my life?" I imagine it with my whole body. "What would support me choosing self-care today? What can I learn when I have done it? What gets in my way?" Working with intentions allows me to live into the questions. As I changed my focus, I changed my life.

Marcia Hyatt is a leadership and life coach and the author of "What Have I Mythed?" www.marciahyatt.com

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