The New Year is synonymous with new opportunities, new resolutions, and renewed spirits.
It’s a blank canvas where everything remains to be done, to be defined. Anything we can think of can be a good idea to start planning our future and what’s to come in this new year.
Our limbic brain is in charge of everything important that has happened in our lives, especially on an emotional level. The neocortex, on the other hand, draws on the past and asks, “What now ?” What does the future hold for us? This is the time when we like to make those famous New Year’s resolutions and start to work on personal or professional projects.
12 New Year’s Resolutions
Since it is a time of change and growth, I want to offer you 12 resolutions for the New Year from my perspective as a coach:
1. Cultivating presence: Presence is simply focusing solely and exclusively on what we’re doing at that moment. If I’m working, all my capacity is focused on this activity; if I’m painting, my whole world is the canvas in front of me; if I’m with another person, they are the only person in the world. When we cultivate presence, our attention span increases, we are more receptive, and, as a result, we get better results from any activity we do.
2. Keep listening: Listening is essential in communicating with others. If you think about it, when we’re having a conversation with another person, we’re waiting for them to finish speaking to give our point of view without fully paying attention to what they are telling us.
When I have a conversation, I must be “present,” meaning I am totally focused and listening with all my senses. If the other person is telling me something very passionately, I get passionate about them; if they are saying something that brings them a lot of happiness, I feel happy because I’m happy for them; if they tell me something sad, I am with them in their sadness for moral support.
3. Learning the difference between demand and excellence: We define excellence as care and attention in doing things the best we can. Being demanding is quite different: such a person doesn’t seek to do things as well as possible but to make them perfect. This is a very important distinction; being demanding typically ends in dissatisfaction and frustration. A demanding path is always full of self-reproach and suffering from constantly repeating, “I could have tried harder.”
Mistakes are a natural part of the path to excellence, and they can even be seen as an opportunity to find mistakes and to improve and learn from them.
4. Practicing self-esteem and self-worth: Act right, you look like a fool! Stop fooling around! Do these phrases sound familiar to you?
When we say them repeatedly, we’re establishing a limiting belief.
What’s the problem with constantly using these expressions? If we constantly use the word “fool” or something similar with our children, when they do things themselves, and they don’t work out, they will think, “Of course it won’t work out for me because I’m a fool,” and they will be putting up a barrier, a limitation on themselves.
We should speak positively: “Mario, hold the spoon the right way so you don’t spill. You know how to do it the right way.”
5. Moving from being the victim to being responsible: We have the tendency to look for culprits outside of ourselves in order to free ourselves from accepting that we had something to do with what happened.
Finding guilt is easy; the drawback is that the only thing we can do then is complain. If someone else is guilty, then I can’t do anything to fix it. This is impractical because, by doing so, we are nullifying any possibility of intervening and addressing the difficulties.
Taking responsibility means looking at things in a different way to find new possibilities for action that we didn’t see before.
6. Learning the difference between worrying and taking care: When we worry, we are turning a problem over and over in our minds without finding a good solution. In this situation, we spend sleepless nights unable to make a decision.
When we’re taking care of something, we’re not only thinking about the problem; we’re also looking for a possible solution to it, and we recognize that it is in our power to address it. This lets us rest and keep moving forward.
7. Understanding what confidence involves: Confidence is what allows us to relate to others, and it is closely related to the confidence one has in oneself.
It’s related to emotions, and that’s why, when I feel like I can achieve something, I have the confidence that I will – this is quite in line with leadership. If, for example, I say, “I trust that I will relate more and better to my manager and my colleagues,” I am opening up a feeling of joy, confidence, and courage that will empower me and align me with my goal. It is opening up the possibility for us from the start.
You have to be careful because this also works the other way. If you are not confident that you’re going to achieve something, rest assured that you won’t. Align your goals with your emotions; this will help you gain self-confidence.
8. Learning to say no: When we say the word “no,” it feels like we are being rude. We have been taught to be “socially polite,” and this forces us to forget about ourselves and our needs.
When we say no to something, we are giving legitimacy to ourselves. Doing so with tact is essential not to hurt anyone’s feelings, but we must learn to say this to give ourselves the importance we deserve.
I can give you an example: “Maria, I’m in a big hurry today, and I can’t finish the report in time for tomorrow. Do you mind finishing it for me since you always leave the office late? “
Maria could answer, “Okay, Juan, I don’t mind helping you with your report. But if I stay up late, it’s because I have a lot of work to do, too. If it’s okay with you, we can spend some time together tomorrow, and I’m sure we’ll finish it in no time.”
Will you try to say no more with assertiveness?
9. Learning the difference between blaming and taking responsibility: We have a tendency not to consider ourselves as part of the problems that affect us. We usually look to blame someone else to free ourselves from accepting that we had something to do with what happened.
When we blame others, we position ourselves as the victim in the situation; the victim is who needs attention, sympathy, and compassion from others. By doing this, we are nullifying any possibility of taking action and resolving the difficulties.
The word “responsibility” means that what we’re thinking about are actions. If we can look at things in a new way, we will find new possibilities for action that we couldn’t see before.
10. Knowing how to rebalance the scale of generosity: By generosity, we mean doing something for others for their benefit, without expecting anything in return. The problem of giving or helping others constantly is that it generates an imbalance that we tend to be aware of. For example, if I always help a colleague at work and do so because I feel like it, this eventually creates the feeling that they’re taking advantage of me, and what I initially do out of generosity eventually becomes a job that I have to do out of obligation.
In these cases, we can “rebalance the scale.” With those who are constantly asking us for help, we have to ask for something in return to feel like we are giving and receiving in the same proportion. When we are asked for help repeatedly, we can say yes, and at the same time, we can add: “Then could you help me…” or “Then you could take me out to a coffee…” This is an easy step that helps keep the scale of our emotions balanced.
11. Learning to manage our emotions: You have to learn to differentiate between emotional control and emotional management.
The word control carries implicit concepts such as covering, hiding, keeping feelings from surfacing. This is similar to having a police officer watching over what I’m feeling at each moment and a judge telling us if this emotion is the right one for that moment or not. However, the word management means cultivating greater attention, awareness, and emotional language. Emotional management means that I am free to express my emotions.
All emotions are legitimate. They are part of us, and we can and should let them flow inside us.
12. Differentiating between mistakes and failure: We live in a results-focused society that sees mistakes as an obstacle, something that must be penalized. When we think that mistakes equal failure, we are afraid to explore and try new things.
We can look at mistakes as opportunities to learn, innovate, try new things, or venture into unknown territories. Mistakes are not terrible failures; they’re interesting opportunities for improvement.
These are my recommendations for you to come up with your New Year’s resolutions. I hope they serve you well and that you can come up with your own. Now, the only thing left to do is enjoy the year ahead right from the start.
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