(This post originally appeared on January 9, 2017.)
Millions of people were expected to make New Year’s Resolutions. Many have probably already broken theirs. Maybe they weren’t really that committed to the change required to achieve the desired result. They might have been trying to lose weight or stop smoking to please a loved one. They might have planned to get up 30 minutes earlier to look for a new job, despite being happy with the lower pay and more flexible work hours. Maybe they wanted to want to improve themselves, but they actually think they are already fine the way they are.
There are likely as many reasons for breaking resolutions as there are people who make them. Why is that?
In my book, DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, I discuss my Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, which begins with making the Seven Choices.
I am no scientist or psychologist, yet I am now aware that my process reflects the highly effective transtheoretical model (“TTM”) behavior modification. As such, I am confident that making the Seven Choices will help you get back on track with your resolution or goal if you’ve already set it aside. The action toward a result is important, but you might first need to free yourself of some of the negative self-talk that has kept you from taking risks, breaking bad habits, and building closer relationships.
The Seven Choices masters make before and throughout the conflict resolution process are:
- Forgive yourself for having a conflict. We all have them, regardless of how many of them we let you see. Please stop beating yourself up for not having the perfect legs, children, job, home, life, etc.
- Acknowledge yourself for taking any action to resolve any conflict. You know you are your worst critic. Even if you have someone highly critical in your life, you probably agree with them about your shortcomings and are even less forgiving. Focus your energy on the future you are courageously creating by taking action to make change.
- Forgive the world for having and creating conflict. The world is a wonderful place full of beauty, love, and goodness, but it also breeds ugliness and tragedy that aren’t always fair. Yet the conflicts and friction in our lives are what keep us growing. Thank the world for the learning opportunities and look for the hidden treasure in your situation. What might be on the horizon, if anything is possible?
- Free the emotions you have been shoving down, ignoring, or hiding (sometimes from yourself). It’s rather insane how we tell people to pretend they aren’t feeling certain emotions. Can you imagine telling your body to stop breathing because it’s loud, weird, and uncomfortable for your blood, which is flowing through you, too? Or maybe you should tell your brain to stop thinking. Emotional responses are as natural as any other body process. Find a comfortable place, possibly with a friend who will allow you to express whatever feels right for you in the moment, and set it free. You were not designed to hold a backflow. It will eventually make a huge mess.
- Clear your mind. This is technically impossible, as long as you have a fully-functioning brain. You will continue to have thoughts non-stop, but you can stop paying attention to them. Tune them out like you learned to do with your neighbor’s loud television, the airplanes flying over your house, or your co-worker’s constant chattering. If they aren’t empowering you, don’t listen to them. It’s your brain. Teach it to honor you and your vision for your life, not garbage it picked up haphazardly for the many years you’ve been alive.
- Assume you know nothing about anything. Thinking you already know it all (or enough) will have you miss important openings that might lead you to magical places. You know the saying about assumptions, too. Employ a beginner’s mind, and experience the wonder and amazement of the world again. It will also help you see potential solutions where it once seemed there were none available.
- Listen with your third ear. If you haven’t read my book or heard me speak on the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, your third ear is in your heart. Look in the center of the word. There it is e-a-r. If you can listen with compassion, even when you disagree with someone, even when you’re scared, and even when you are in conflict with yourself, you will hear new possibilities for resolving your conflicts. You will create new action plans, although you might be cautiously optimistic.
Take a courageous step into the fear and doubt. Experience the world anew. It is waiting for you.
Need help taking courageous action?
Nance L. Schick, Esq., is an employment attorney, ethno-religious mediator, conflict resolution coach, and diversity trainer based in New York City. Her goal is to keep managers and small business owners out of court and build their conflict resolution skills–so everyone has a better work experience. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution, and an award-winning entrepreneur acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018, 2019 & 2020), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), and Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards).