‘New Year, New Me!’
Oh how cliché, but here we are again.
I trust that we’re in agreement that ‘New Year, New You’ is a load of bull crap… but for some interesting reasons. Albeit reasons worth understanding however, if you’re open to developing a slightly more productive, kick-ass, go getter version of yo self.
It starts with the old you – The late for work, ‘I’ll start Monday’, lazy good for nothing cereal addict, with zero intentions of moving from the sofa today until you need to pee.
This is your first problem.
You’re trusting old you – the only person that can bring your goals into fruition – to design the new you. And old you is the last person you should trust with such important matters. Why? Well lets consider the facts…
Firstly, ‘old you’ doesn’t actually do any of the things he/she claims is gunna make ‘new you’ happy and fulfilled. Would you trust a maths teacher that couldn’t multiply and divide? Or cab driver with no license? Exactly.
Secondly, old you doesn’t even seem to like him/herself! And if they did, then a life-makeover wouldn’t be on the cards.
And thirdly, old you already has a pretty exemplary record of trying and failing to implement change – yet you’re still prepared to trust this shifty character with your future?! That’s like asking my boyfriend to paint my nails, knowing full well I’ll some how end up with polish on my face and only 1 successfully painted, red nail. Don’t set yourself up to fail.
So how do we overcome this? How we complete mission impossible and actually make a few lasting changes this year?
Well, you gotta forget about past & future you for a second. It’s all about the now.
It’s all about present you. The one reading this post.
Hey You! How are ya?
Do you know the real reason you’ve not managed to succeed yet? It’s likely that you have powerful
‘competing commitments’, or reasons not to change.
So even if you have a sincere commitment to realising your goals, you’re likely to be unwittingly applying productive energy towards these hidden competing commitments instead.
These are your underlying affirmations and unless you change them first, you’re destined to fail from the off (soz). It’s like a personal immunity to change and you’ll simply be shoving sand against the tide until you deal with it.
Using myself as an example; I can do a 14 week lean down, jump on stage and pose down in a bikini in the best shape of my life. Feeling an amazing sense of achievement.
Only to then revert back to my old ways and spend the rest of the year being out of shape and ‘fluffy’ again, desperately trying to get back to some version of the former ‘new me’ from earlier in the year.
Why is it that I continuously undermine my own advancements?
Well as it happened, I had my own competing commitments to unearth. Only then was I able to understand and address them in order to make a lasting change.
Whilst it’s always a good idea to make a list & plan your goals (which i’m sure at this stage of your life you’re already a pro at), it’s not always enough. You’ve got to do a bit of ground work too.
How to Identify and Address your own Competing Commitments
Here are 8 tips to help you in identifying and addressing your own competing commitments, taken from Authors Linda and Charlie Bloom (because I’m not a psychologist, I just read a lot!):
When you recognise the presence of a competing commitment you’re already ahead of the game. Once you’ve connected the dots and seen that something seems to be sabotaging your efforts to bring about your desired outcome you can begin the process of uncovering the commitment that is in competition with your conscience intention. The process of conducting this investigation isn’t an inquisition; it’s an inquiry. Bringing an attitude of interest and curiosity versus blame, fault-finding or punishment is a more effective approach, rather than becoming angry at yourself for failing to fulfill your own expectations and carry out promises that you’ve made to yourself.
See competing commitments not as personal flaws, shortcomings, or failings, but as a normal part of life that everyone gets to deal with. It is in our nature to resist change, and it’s in the nature of things that things change. Therefore there is an inherent conflict that is inevitably set up when we move towards any kind of change in our lives, even if it seems to be for the better. Consider the single person who wants a long-term relationship but never finds a “suitable” partner. He may be unaware that he is viewing things and people from a fault-finding perspective in order to avoid the possibility of losing freedom or to protect himself from an unwanted consequence such as betrayal or loss.
It isn’t necessary to get rid of or eliminate competing commitments in order to come to terms with them. Competing commitments don’t necessarily disappear once we identify them, but as they come into our conscious awareness, they often lose their grip on us, allowing us to see new possibilities beyond the dualistic thinking of “either this or that.” Things often seem to be one way or another: “Either I am free or I get married. Either I eat what I want and get fat, or I deny myself and feel miserable. Either I’m a slave to a job or I live in poverty. Simply recognizing, acknowledging, and accepting the presence of unconscious counter-intentions can begin to liberate us from the feeling of being stuck in an impossible dilemma and open our eyes to new, previously unrecognized possibilities.
Distinguish and focus upon the experience that you wish to have, rather than the means to get there. Coming to terms with competing commitments has to do with going beyond the particular form or object to which we’re attached, and recognizing the experience it represents that we’re really craving. For example, I want a new car and the experience I desire from that car is more pleasure, excitement, and stimulation in my life. I want to get married and I see marriage as means through which I can experience security, love, relief from the dating scene, and my mother’s approval, finally!
Think creatively. Although we sometimes may have to choose between options A and B, more often than not, if we look carefully, we may discover an option C or D that addresses an underlying need or desire. To do so requires us to search and discover the deeper desire that underlies the object that we seek to possess or the form that we are attached to it taking.
Notice the prices you pay for being run by your competing commitment. When we bring up to conscious mind the toll that being run by our unfulfilled desire is taking, we have a chance to address that commitment in a way that will satisfy its need without necessarily having to abandon the hope of our conscious intention.
Cultivate the voice of the sweetheart to replace the voice of the inner critic. Self-punishing thoughts create inner anguish and intensify the desire for relief. Doing so reinforces the tendency to justify patterns of avoidance or self-indulgence that we reward ourselves with when we feel deprived of pleasurable activities and experiences. Positive, forgiving, and loving self-talk neutralizes negative self-judgments that reinforce the desire for self-indulgent behavior.
Be willing to trust that with conscious awareness, thinking outside of the “either/or box, and effort, over time, both commitments can be fulfilled. Your success will only come by gently, respectfully, persistently moving through the areas that are also important to you and that may be in the way of your conscience commitment. Be patient with the process and allow yourself to continue to be the steady plodder, taking into consideration the other concerns that deserve attention. Bringing your competing commitments out of the shadow and into conscious awareness is the biggest part of the process and sometimes is itself enough to interrupt the denial that prevents us from seeing what else matters to us. As we open our mind to explore the depths of our inner feelings, our heart opens as well, as it does,
we become more open to seeing new possibilities that can free us from the limitation of dualistic, either/or thinking. Like the bumper sticker says, “Don’t believe everything you think!”.
Happy New Year!
I hope this launches you nicely into the new year and puts you in good stead for 2018!
I’d love to know if you figure out what your own competing commitments are & what your goals are this year, let me know in the comments below!