The Curse of Resolutions
February 2, 2020

February is the grave-yard of resolutions.

People make a supreme effort at the start of a New Year. Maybe they want to lose weight, go to the gym, give up alcohol or quit smoking.

When February arrives the effort of trying becomes too much. One minute we’re depriving ourselves and the next we cave in to the temptation. Then we beat ourselves up for being weak-willed.

We’re under the illusion that we need to do a variety of things to keep to our resolutions. There is a perception in society that we need to:
– try harder
– be strong-willed
– set smarter goals
– manage our thinking

However, that’s not how it works.

There are three areas that are rarely discussed and yet make the biggest difference. What do you make of the following?

  1. Our heads are really noisy
  2. Trying to strengthen willpower is pointless
  3. The deeper natural intelligence is the place to look.

Let me go into them in more detail.

1. Our heads are really noisy

We live with an incredible noise in our heads. We don’t realise the drain of this mental cacophony of worries, anxieties, musts and shoulds. We’re so accustomed to it that we don’t even realise the din.

It’s a bit like a washing machine lurching into the spin cycle. It’s only when the machine stops that we notice, with relief that the noise has subsided.

When we believe things like ‘I need to lose weight’ or ‘I should stop smoking’ then we’ve got more thoughts to juggle and more opportunities to fail. 

The outcome is that we tend to have arguments with ourselves. It’s like we’ve got squabbling children in our heads.

This is mentally exhausting.

2. Trying to strengthen willpower is pointless

Bolstering willpower isn’t the answer We’re often taught to be mentally strong and to try and supervise our erroneous thinking closely.

This has the opposite effect. It’s like turning up the volume in our heads, rather than turning it down.

We can’t control thought, it doesn’t work like that. Thought comes and goes. Our moods shift and change. When we try to bolster willpower we escalate the battle in our heads. We are actually making it harder to achieve what we long for.

3.The deeper natural intelligence is the place to look

There is a deeper wisdom and intelligence that can guide us. I’m not talking about your academic intellect, I’m talking about a natural intelligence.

Rather than fight thoughts, listen out for the deeper intelligence. The voice of the deeper intelligence, (you might call it your intuition or gut feeling) will lead us on a different journey.

When we get used to hearing that voice we know we can take the next step. We only ever need to take one step at a time. There is no will-power needed when we get used to this natural intelligence. It’s really quite simple.

The great unlearning
It seems to me that we need to go through a phase of ‘unlearning’. We don’t need strategies or tools or techniques. We need to unlearn what we thought we knew and start to get in touch with the deeper intelligence and wisdom that is pre-existing.

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About Inner Compass

Liz Scott & Stu Newberry are trainers, coaches and speakers. They work with individuals and groups across the UK. They also help develop coaching cultures (founded on wellbeing) within schools and organisations.

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Our articles, podcasts and resources will help people like you find the language to share the Inner Compass (also known as the Inside-Out understanding) with others.

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We've been sharing the Inside-Out understanding around the world for many years. Find out about Inner Compass courses, events and coaching.

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