I don’t know about you, but for me at the beginning of each New Year I used to dust off my old ‘New Year Resolutions’, realize they weren’t achieved, and recycle them into the next year. Then come February, that same old resolution would slip from my attention until the next year.
Here’s an NLP technique that helped me to change this stale habit. As yourself the following questions,
- What do you want?
- What makes you feel most alive and connected?
- What do you want to experience in your life?
Imagine yourself having what you want. Use all your senses to create the imagery.
- What does it look like when you have it?
- What do you hear when you have it?
- How does it feel when you have it?
Make the vision as intense and vivid as you can (add color, sound, actions, feelings until it starts to feel real to you.
Now that you know what it feels like to have what you want, change your resolution to an intention.
A resolution refers to something you have to figure out, an action you take with firm determination. A resolution sounds like a lot of hard work, don’t get me wrong, I love hard work! However, when it comes to making long lasting change I’ve found intentions to be way more powerful than resolutions.
An intention is a purpose held in mind, it’s more than hope or a wish. It’s a fixed idea that comes with sights, sounds, feelings, and actions.
One of the biggest obstacles that I find people struggle with are underlying beliefs that get in the way of making dreams reality. Some of these beliefs are,
- “I can’t have what I want”
- “It’s too hard”
- “I don’t deserve it”
- “I need to struggle to be successful”
- “What if people don’t like me”
Take a look to see if there are any underlying thoughts that are barriers to your desires. Are there some underlying beliefs that you might want to change? Try tossing them in a garbage can and notice what happens.
Another barrier that I notice people struggling with is the idea that “this isn’t a good time to dream, it’s time to be realistic”. Actually, there’s a whole lot of stuff going on in my personal life right now that has been causing me to think this very thing. However, without our dreams we are left with our present reality. Our present reality is never a bad thing. In fact, I am a lover of reality because it allows us to know where we are so we can design the appropriate strategy for getting to where we want to be. Also, living in the moment is pretty cool too. The challenge is not with reality, but our attitude around reality and being realistic. Sometimes, being realistic has devastating costs. All too often, I see it costing people their passion and joy, their hopes and dreams.
Given the unknowns and craziness of life, there’s never been a more important time to dream than the present moment. Setting your intention is the first step. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Here’s an exercise to help you get started.
Intention Setting Exercise
1. Get clear about something you want and write it down (use the NLP questions above to guide you).
2. Share your intention with someone in a way that will supportively hold you accountable to taking action.
3. Do something today to demonstrate your commitment to your intention.
4. Acknowledge that you did what you said you would and then, take the next step.
Here’s to dreaming, may all your 2011 intentions come true!