How to Make a Smart New Year’s Resolution

As you know, I am a big proponent of bringing more Emotional Intelligence into our relationships. It makes sense – when we master our self-awareness and our emotional responses, we succeed in our relationship goals.

And according to Travis Bradberry, who wrote the book, Emotional Intelligence is what helps us keep our New Year’s resolutions too! Travis states that – sadly – nearly 80% of us will fall off the resolution bandwagon by Super Bowl Sunday; and by this time next year, a mere 5% of us will have succeeded in reaching our goals.

With the odds stacked against us, why bother making a resolution at all? Well, I believe it’s a great practice to set goals, and that there is a smart way to do it so that we actually succeed. Here’s how:

First, know that it’s your Shadow or Blind Spot that hijacks your New Year’s resolution. Your Shadow is the part of yourself you don’t see, and because you don’t see it, you need some outside feedback, a loving supportive person pointing you in the right direction – a best friend, a caring family member, a professional coach – someone who knows how to support you in staying on track.

Second, know that your emotions are the root of your behavior. It’s the way our brains are wired. Our senses take in information that enters at the base of your brain (the pink shaded area below). Before you can think rationally about what you’re experiencing, these signals must travel through the limbic system—the place where emotions are generated. This ensures you have an emotional reaction to events first.

This is why it’s so important not to avoid your emotions or stuff them down. Instead, they need to be listened to! And this is the third step – listen to the valuable message your emotions have for you, allow the emotion to flow through your body until it is released, and then use your rational brain to decide how to act based on the information your emotions and senses gave you. There needs to be a balance between the wisdom of the emotional brain and the wisdom of the rational brain – both are important!

With practice, these skills will improve your ability to understand and control the primary motivations for your behavior – and that translates into the ability to take action towards the goals you set, rather than being hijacked due to unresolved emotions in your Shadow!

I recommend that you think of a goal you’d like to reach by the end of next year, and then break it down into manageable steps – with one step you will take each month. Then as you set out to achieve your reachable goal each month, notice your emotions and listen to what they are telling you. Let them flow and use your rational brain to either revise your course or continue to reach your attainable goal each month. If you do this each month, you will make great strides and have a New Year you will be satisfied with!

If you’d like more help with this, drop me an email to see if we’re a match for working together.

Wishing you a most FULFILLING New Year! May all your dreams come true!

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