Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work & What to Do Instead

How many times have you ever made a New Year’s resolution? Every year since you were 15? Let me guess, it is usually to stop doing something or to start doing something that under usual circumstances you have a really difficult time doing.  Ah, and New Year’s rolls around, a fresh start, a perfect time to make that ginormous change in our lives right!  Wrong. Large drastic changes actually don’t work for most people.  They usually last for a week or two, a month maybe.  Gym membership sales soar post New Year’s with the resolutions to get into shape.  People quit, smoking, drinking, vow to eat better, the list goes on.

Do these look familiar?

Reasons Why Resolutions Don’t Work

1. Resolutions Are Usually Set in the Negative Voice – it isn’t always the case, but many of us set resolutions that involve “stopping” something or “giving something up”.  That is a recipe for failure right there.  While we may want to stop, we are not sending out the right energy.  We are sending out a regretful, “darn I need to stop this now” energy.  Solution: Think about your goals in a positive light. How can you phrase them in a way that resonates positively with the direction you are headed.  It should feel good when you say it out loud and make you want to smile.

2. Drastic Cold Turkey Changes Are Hard to Make Last – there is a brilliant quote by Robin Sharma – “Small daily changes over time lead to staggering results.”  Read that again.  “Small daily changes over TIME lead to staggering results.”  Ok, so what does that mean?  You don’t have to be Jane Fonda on January 1st. In fact if you try to be, you probably won’t succeed.  When most people fall off their resolution wagon they throw in the towel. Solution: Think about the year ahead.  Pick a few areas of life where you would like to see improvement.  This is a serious exercise, and takes work, but it is your life.  Then start really small.  What can you do today? Tomorrow? Next week? Don’t overwhelm yourself. Imagine yourself as the person you want to be a year from now.  Do the small things and stay the course.

3.  We Forget About New Years – most people just think about New Year’s resolutions once a year, but if you are really determined to make changes in your life you have to constantly check back to the blueprint you set out for yourself of what it is that you are working toward and where you are headed.  Are you still on course?  Solution: Write down those things that you decided to work on broadly and the ways in which you think you can throughout the year.  It is a good idea to revisit the list once a month and check in.  It is a nice thing to do with a friend, relative or partner so that you can support one another.  Monitor your progress.  Are you achieving your goals?  Do you need to change direction? Do you need additional support?

If you are not achieving your goals, ask yourself where your mindset is and how it could be stopping you.

“If you can dream it, you can achieve it.”  I love that quote.  Stay clear on your vision for the life you want and have a Happy New Year.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over…It became a butterfly”

with love

be the butterfly

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How are you…Really?

Spring in NYCSometimes we walk through life on “autopilot” and we ask people how they are and vice versa. We respond “fine thank you” or some other blase´ and socially acceptable response. Do we or the person we are interacting with even care about the answer, or are these just the habitual niceties of daily existence that lead us to ask in the first place?

I was in Starbuck’s today and as I ordered my ridiculously American four espresso iced monstrosity that took three repetitions for the girl to get straight, I asked her intently “How are you today?”. At first she said she was alright, but when she saw I was still looking at her and that I actually cared, she got a bit sad and said, “No, I’m not okay. I am not feeling well today.”

It led to a really nice exchange and she thanked me for asking, and caring. Moral of the story: It is so easy to make a person feel important; to make them feel like they are worthy, and visible, by simply asking how they are, meaning it, and listening to whatever the answer may be.

Top 5 Ways to Declutter Your Life

Feng Shui CatarpillarIn my previous incarnation as a headhunter, during a time when deals were slow a Chinese colleague
came to work one day wearing a beautiful watch. When I asked her if it was new, she said “Yes, the
Chinese believe sometimes you need to put the money out,in order to make room for the money to come in.”

I started reading about the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics, Feng Shui, years ago while I was still living in New York. While there is much debate over ancient and modern day practices, the idea of energy flow, or more specifically the movement of Qi, is present in even the most modern interior designer’s interpretations of the art. Most books discuss the idea of “cures” for rooms of the home or office for love,
health, wealth and the list goes on. These “cures” however, will not work while clutter is present.
All clutter must first be cleared before a cure can begin to work. It is quite logical really.

When I began my coaching practice, I realized that the idea of goal seeking, action, and forward motion are
very similar to the “cures” in Feng Shui, and that to be able to move forward, we need to be able to
DECLUTTER our lives. We need to make room for the good and wonderful things that we want more time for and the first step in doing that is to identify our clutter and deal with it. Sometimes even mundane “stuff” whether a pile of laundry or receipts can have greater meaning. There is also mental clutter, habitual clutter and the ever so difficult to get rid of people clutter.

If you haven’t made it to one of my Declutter Your Life! Coaching Workshops here in Hong Kong,
here is your opportunity to take away some of the tips others have gone home with.

1) Conquer the Stuff – What is it’s function and where does it live?
Everything should have a place and a real function in your home or office. Do you really need it?
When was the last time you used it? Do you still have a stuffed animal from 3 relationships ago?
What other sentimental items do you have that are potentially preventing you from moving on? There is a
saying that our outside world is a reflection of our inner state…get organized an you will feel better.
I promise.

2) Learn to let go. Hoarding is not helping. Even though you may think you may use one of those 300 bottles of hotel shampoo in this lifetime, you have to start somewhere. Does this sound like you? Give them away to charity and don’t collect anymore. Magazines? It’s called a scanner. Scan your favorite articles then recycle. Can’t bare the thought of the scanning project? Recycle all then start a new program with new magazines. Again – you have to start somewhere.

3) Get focused. Be present. Don’t let “autopilot” be you standard mode of operation. Did you just manage to
arrive somewhere and somehow forget half the journey? Don’t let Facebook take over your life. If you are on Facebook for 4.5 hours a day, what is it that you are NOT doing instead? Can’t finish one task before starting another? Keep a pad nearby – write down your thought – finish what your doing – then re-evaluate your priorities.

4) Do one thing today & get off the procrastination bandwagon! .
“Small daily changes over time lead to staggering results.” ~ Robin Sharma – enough said.
Procrastination is a form of clutter. It is delay. It is cured by action. If what you have in front of you
seems overwhelming, break it down into small, achievable steps. Set yourself up for success.

5) Allow negative people to disappear from your life. You don’t need them. You could be spending time
with supportive positive people instead. If they are family or co-workers then
work to set up boundaries for yourself and new communication where you can effectively express your needs.

The more we can let go of this clutter the more we can tap into our dreams, passions, positive people! It is
liberating to free yourself of the weight of negativity and unnecessary “stuff”. We make space for the things we want to move into our lives.

If you are interested in going deeper into this and meeting some fantastic people? I will be holding another
Declutter Your Life! workshop on Thursday August 20.

What others had to say:

I liked Perri’s structured approach to De-cluttering. She had a strategic way to identify, recognise and deal with junk in
our lives. Ever so often we are perfectly sorted out people with clean desks and organised closets, but a few layers down….
we are carrying traces of our mental garbage. And that leads to all the cobwebs inside our minds. That was exactly what
Perri helped us sort out. I’m glad I attended Perri’s afternoon workshop on Ways to De-clutter. Not only was it interactive
and fun…it helped lighten my baggage!!! I’m on my journey again…travelling light.
Thanks Perri, for your action plan as well.
~ Gargi Guha

Thank you , Perri for a very insightful evening. “Your Declutter Your Life ” workshop has been the catalyst for
some immediate and welcome changes. I feel lighter and more free.I particularly appreciated the atmosphere that
you created, allowing the participants to share their “clutter” problems, and find solutions collectively.

But, more valuable to me personally than anything else- the questions that you made us ask ourselves during the workshop
made me stop, pause, reflect and evaluate my life and direction. Thank you !
~ Alice Kaushal – Refine Consulting

I really enjoyed the workshop. I have to admit I was skeptical at first but it was really a great afternoon, lots of positive discussions and I think I learned a lot about both myself and benefited by seeing the others in the group sharing their own personal stories. Very positive all around Saturday night I bought a new organizer for my hideously cluttered bathroom, assembled it and “de-cluttered” my entire bathroom. Got rid of at least half of my unneeded receipts and magazines and cleared a shelf in the kitchen for all of my bills to go so they are in one centralized location. Sounds mundane but the whole experience was very cathartic. I’ve felt both physically and mentally lighter since the big de-clutter. ~ N. P.