A guest post from Carolyn Winter, Online Coordinator at http://www.ozardis.com.
Behind most resolutions is the notion of something we want that we currently don’t have or a problem or bad habit we are trying to give up. The start of a fresh year like that of a clean slate helps us to feel initially hopeful and optimistic that it will bring about a new order. However, like most we may find ourselves waning in our resolutions about now or in a month or two. We get trapped by achieving 65% or less of our goals. Yet we all have within us the power to break that glass ceiling and make it happen using our inner strengths and positive qualities. For many people this is an untapped resource.
Chloe Wordsworth has extensively incorporated the idea of resonating with our strengths needed to overcome a problem or manifest an intention into the Resonance Repatterning System. She writes: “An inner strength or positive quality is who we are when we live from a higher state of coherence and consciousness. When we take responsibility for moving into resonance with the strength we need in difficult circumstances, this higher state of coherence is a resource that even by itself begins to dissipate the problem. It may not change the situation itself, but it can give us control over how we respond to any problem situation.”
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS? In the field of positive psychology Martin Seligman, researcher, author and professor writes that there are 6 virtues common to each religion, culture or country and nested within those virtues are related strengths. If you have difficulty identifying your own personal strengths his list below can help you get started. Circle the VIRTUES and strengths you can own for yourself:
- WISDOM & KNOWLEDGE (Virtue) nests related strengths of curiosity, love of learning, and judgment, creativity and perspective
- COURAGE nests with valor, perseverance and integrity
- HUMANITY AND LOVE nests intimacy, kindness, sociability and intelligence
- JUSTICE nests strengths of citizenship, fairness and leadership
- TEMPERANCE nests the strengths of forgiveness, humility, self-regulation and prudence
- TRANSCENDENCE nests the strengths of appreciation of beauty, gratitude, hope, humor, playfulness and spirituality
ARE YOU HAPPY? – Happiness turns out to be entire field of science at the moment. It is an ingredient that Seligman identifies as related to breaking the 65% glass ceiling for our resolutions. He identifies three forms of happiness that make sense to me. They are:
1. Smiling and feeling pleasure; pursuing as much of this a possible. This form of happiness has 3 operating rules. The first is timing so that you don’t use it all up at once,(don’t eat all the chocolates in the box in one sitting!), being able to savor the pleasure by sharing it with friends privately or on social media, Pinterest for example, or scrapbooking it; and having a sense of mindfulness; being aware of each moment of the pleasure. How happy do you feel sharing a photo with friends on Facebook etc.
2. The second form of happiness is the engaged life, where your involvement often leads to the satisfying state of flow. When we apply our strengths and virtues to our work and our life we amplify the flow state of mind. Do you remember a time when you were so focused and engaged in something that time just flew by? That is a state of flow. Applying our known strengths to our resolutions helps us to achieve that flow state. For example, I may not like doing administrative tasks, but my strength of creativity keeps all tasks interesting, i see the humor in spell check errors etc. and before I know it, the tasks are done.
3. A third form of happiness is one of meaning. A discussion of having purpose and meaning can be an entire course of study but simply put, means that we have an attachment to something larger than ourselves. The larger the something is – the more meaning we have in our lives.
According to Martin Seligman, we can have lots of pleasurable experiences with an engaged life, that uses our strengths, and still wake up feeling anxious or fearful often for no reason and this can stop us from fully achieving our goals. The antidote according to Seligman is applying our signature strengths in service to something that we believe is bigger than us. Research shows that people find time spent in altruistic experiences are far happier than when they are fully engaged in fun or pleasurable ones. I am reminded of the transcendent look on the face of a celebrity when they momentarily step out of the limelight to do something nice and unexpected for someone suffering. I imagine what they genuinely feel goes far beyond the benefits of publicity etc.
APPLY THE FORMULA TO YOUR RESOLUTIONS: Applied Personal Strengths + Happiness achieved from pleasure, engagement and meaning = Accomplished New Years Resolutions
It seems to me that when we acknowledge our inner strengths and qualities, and apply these to a combination of all 3 forms of happiness in our lives, including our resolutions, their achievement can and will break the glass ceiling of a 65% completion rate. Try it out for yourself.
1. List your virtues and strengths you know are part of your make up. Don’t just do it in your head. Having them on a printed piece of paper or a computer screen makes it concrete. Ask yourself, “Which of these strengths would help me achieve my resolutions?”
2. Next take an action however small that allows you to apply your identified strength to one of your resolutions. This action will likely stimulate a sense of engagement in your resolution. For example, I might resolve to eat healthier by using my strength of creativity. Meals are healthy but never boring. (…but I will resist posting a picture)
3. On another occasion a day or two later, do something altruistic. Take an action for a cause that is bigger than you or your resolution. This may be as simple as making a donation or volunteering in a community endeavor. Whatever works for you is fine.
CONTEMPLATE AND REFLECT: Lastly reflect and compare your experiences. How did one nurture the other? Which one allowed you to feel better?
What percentage of your resolutions have now been accomplished? or How confident are you that they will be accomplished?
BONUS ROUND: Ask yourself “How will accomplishing my New Year’s resolution make the world a better place? How will I make a difference to the world in 2014?”
Wishing you a very happy, peaceful, and abundant New Year with good health, happiness and joy.
With love and light
Mihaly Csikszentmihaly and Isabella Selega Csikszentmihalyi (Editors), A Life Worth Living – Contributions to Positive Psychology, Chapter 13 Afterword “Breaking the 65 Percent Barrier by Martin E.P. Seligman
Chloe Wordsworth, (2012)Transforming Primary Patterns with Resonance Repatterning, December
Re-Posted from www.CarolynWinter.org