A few weeks before the end of the year, one of my coaches asked me what
I accomplished in 2017, it stopped me dead in my tracks.
What did I accomplish? The year seemed to pass in a blur. I was already
thinking about 2018. (We’ll get to 2018 a bit later in this article.)
When she asked about 2017, the only things that came to mind
immediately were the “failures” and the items not done.
But that’s normal. According to the National Science Foundation, the
average person has 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts every day. 98% of those
thoughts are NOT original and worse yet, 80% of those thoughts are
negative. That means that they average person has 35 thoughts per
minute, 28 of which are negative. It’s a miracle we get out of bed in the
morning, isn’t it?
If our thoughts determine our actions and our actions determine our
success — how the heck can we interrupt that cycle of negativity especially
at a time of year when everyone “should” be happy?
There are some simple (but not always easy) steps you can take at any
time of year.
You can start by saying your thoughts out loud to someone else — a coach
or a “committed” listener. It’s what I call a “verbal vomit.
Just make sure to alert someone to hold the bucket and do nothing else.
Most of the time the people we love want to help us by finding a solution.
Yet often when our brains are stuck in a cycle of negativity, what is
honestly needed is someone to simply witness our pain without judgement
or comment. That’s what I call a verbal vomit.
Just be prepared to yell “Incoming!” otherwise the people who love you will
want to make sure you are out of pain. Make sense?
If that doesn’t work, the next thing you can do is to release some of that
pent up emotional energy so that you don’t take it out on the wrong person.
Have you ever tried silent screaming? It may sound embarrassing, but it
works wonders. Find the nearest bathroom. Cup your hands over your
mouth. Bend at the waist and rock yourself back and forth as you silently
scream into your hands. This releases the stuck energy that stress has built
up inside you.
Another strategy is to beat a pillow. This is especially important for women
because women have been taught not to express anger. So now is your
time to beat a pillow. You can turn over when you wake up and beat it,
punch a one of your couch cushions or use my favorite, kneel in front of a
couch or chair, raise your hands over your head, hinge at the hips and give
the cushions 5 or 6 sound “thwacks.” The sound is satisfying and once
again you are releasing pent up anger and frustration.
And for those of you in a car dealing with traffic? Just scream at the top of
your lungs a few times. People are too busy picking their noses to notice
what is going on in your car (how many times have you caught someone
doing that, huh?)
Once you’ve released some of that emotional energy, it’s time to get out of
your own way by focusing on others:
Practice Gratitude – Say “thank you” to any person you interact with and
Go out of your way to acknowledge someone that has contributed to you
in some small or large way.
Ask someone else how they are doing and truly listen to their response.
We never seem to take the time to listen to one another. You are giving
someone a gift when you do this.
Look everyone in the eyes as you walk down the street and smile! You’d
be amazed at how wonderfully people will respond. By connecting you
are giving and receiving positive energy.
Listen for the gold in what people are saying instead of assessing what
they are saying to determine whether you agree or disagree with what is
coming out of their mouths. You’d be surprised what you learn when you
practice this technique.
These strategies are designed to get you out of your head, so you are no
longer emotionally responding to your circumstances, leaving you with a
new viewpoint about your situation and some space to creatively solve your
problems. They also will make you feel good!
Now on to 2018. What kind of resolutions SHOULD you make?
NONE. That’s right. I said it. NONE.
There are no resolutions YOU SHOULD MAKE OR YOU HAVE TO MAKE.
Making resolutions doesn’t make you a better person. Making resolutions
from a place of “I should” or “I have to” will only leave you suffering when
Time and again when my clients fail in achieving their goals it is because
they created their goals from some expectation about how they are
supposed to be in the world, or in comparison to others, or in comparison to
How about starting the new year with a new paradigm for creating and
keeping ALL of your resolutions for 2018 and beyond?
How about making your resolutions from the world of gratitude?
Coming from a place of gratitude not only interrupts the cycle of negativity I
talked about earlier, but it creates endorphins in your brain changing your
Here are a few examples of what I am talking about:
I am grateful for my body. I resolve to treat it with respect by feeding it
healthy food and exercising. When I forget I resolve to not beat
myself up and get back on track.
I am grateful for my job because it provides for me and my family. I
resolve to empower my boss and my co-workers on a day to day
I am grateful for the people in my life. I resolve to express kindness
What about applying this concept to some tougher circumstances? How
I am grateful for being unemployed because I get to meet all kinds of
new people. I resolve to express gratitude for each person I meet.
I am grateful for my mother’s passing because I learned so much
about her and about my own capacity to love myself and others. (This
one is true for me and it took me some time to get there.)
I am grateful I am single because I get to discover newly what I want
in a partner. I resolve to meet 10 new men/women this year and find
something to appreciate it in each one.
I hope that 2018 is your best year ever