By Nancy Smyth
Director of Individual and Group Coaching, The Arbinger Institute
Perhaps there is a better way to make New Year’s resolutions. Each year, people think about making resolutions in order to improve themselves. Perhaps you have already formed yours.
Usually resolutions arise from thinking about what we want or need, which is like strategizing and planning a business without having other people in mind. Oftentimes those self-promises we make fade over time. When self-focused, our attention is directed at getting better, changing behavior or attaining something we crave. This way of thinking lacks the whole dimension of motivation and inspiration that could fuel the resolution—our relationship with others.
Arbinger proposes that life is lived in relationship—from the most insignificant of projects, or ones that seem totally personal, to projects that impact people globally. When we start to think in terms of our relationship with other people we can begin to see that even a common resolution, like losing weight, is probably not just about me. Perhaps it’s about the energy I will have to engage with others as well as my health not being a worry to other people. When we include a focus on our relationships, we get to see who we are truly being, how we impact others and how we need to change. The solution to growth and change is in discovering our impact on others.
If we are going to make resolutions in the familiar form, let’s add a few questions that will carry more inspiration and connection. Consider the following:
- How will ‘what I want to change’ be for the benefit of others?
- How will their life be better when I __________ (fill in the blank)?
- How will my relationships improve with this change?
- Will this change allow more ease and joy with others?
Here is yet another approach to change that will open up pathways of great understanding and enormous growth this year. Begin without a set plan but commit to being more curious, more open, more present in the moment.
If we pay attention, our own internal voice tells us if we are at peace and being responsive to situations and other people or if we are at odds with others. The distinction is palpable. This is when we know if we need a shift in our way of seeing and being. The daily asking of powerful questions can make 2017 an amazing experience for ourselves and others. Each day, consider asking yourself these questions:
- Who is the person that needs me to be out of the box, or outward mindset?
- What is the smallest thing I can do to shift to a heart at peace?
- Who do I need to be or what resistance or image do I need to drop in order to help
others get what they need?
- How can I champion people in solving seemingly unsolvable problems?
Living the answers to these questions will afford the happiness of living for others.
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