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Resolving to be different in 2009


EnlightenmentAbout to make a new year resolution? Before you do, stop and think about the resolutions that you made last year and whether you achieved them. If not, then here's some advice from Annie Lawler on achieving all that you want in 2009.

When I was asked to write an article about resolutions for January 2009, I wondered what I could write that hasn't already been said. And then I thought, 'I wonder how many people made resolutions last January and how many people actually achieved what they set out to do?' That got the old grey matter going and helped me draw a parallel between the clients I meet through my work in stress management and wellbeing and people making resolutions.

Photo of Annie Lawler"If we want things to be different, we have to do something different. As the old adage goes, 'there's no point doing the same things and expecting different results'"

I've often been puzzled by clients I meet in training and counselling sessions who clearly want their lives to be different and leave the room enthused and ready to go, only to find some months later that they've allowed themselves to slip back into their old habits; haven't put into practice what they've learned; and that they're really not wanting to commit to making the changes they say they want to see. It's as if sitting in a training or coaching session somehow means that a magic wand has been waved and everything will be different from now on because we know what to do.

In the same way, we quite often start out the new year with good intentions of what we're going to change, only to falter a short time later.Why do we set ourselves goals only to look back and realise we didn’t get as far down the line as we'd hoped?

It occurs to me we may be missing a point. We can't just wish it to happen or know what we need to do to make it happen, we have to put in the time and effort. In other words, if we want things to be different, we have to do something different. As the old adage goes, 'there's no point in doing the same things and expecting different results'.

So then how can we get ourselves motivated to make sure that this year will be different and that we'll follow through on the goals we set ourselves for 2009? They key word here is 'motivation' and I think that's where a lot of us lose our way in the goal-setting programme. We know what we want to achieve but we haven't really thought things through, and simply don't understand what our true motivation is. So here's a thought for you; when you set your resolution for this year (or indeed any goals you or your delegates may have) think about the change you want to make and then ask yourself the following:

  • If I achieve (my goal) how is my life going to be different?

  • How will I know when I've achieved my goal?

  • How will I feel when I've achieved my goal?

  • Why is this feeling that important to me?
  • When you have the answer to the last question, ask yourself again: Why is (whatever your answer was) important to me? and once more, Why does that answer matter to me?

    When we answer these questions, we find our true motivation behind the goal and it's at this point we find out what we really need to work on this year to achieve our dreams and goals.

    Is it really that we want to lose weight, for example? Or is it that if I lose weight, I'll feel better about myself and actually I don't feel too good about myself at the moment because I don't think I'm good enough and I have a self-esteem issue? Is the reason I've sabotaged all previous efforts to lose weight that I just don’t think deep down that I deserve it?

    When we view goals and objectives like this, we get to the real underlying issue and this means we have to have the courage to face some truths about ourselves which can come as a bit of a surprise. We've spent all these years and a lot of subconscious effort covering up the truth.

    "How can we get ourselves motivated to make sure that this year will be different and that we'll follow through on the goals we set ourselves for 2009? They key word here is 'motivation'"

    So before making your resolutions for 2009, ask yourself - am I ready to take a look at what I'm really trying to achieve? Can I be open enough to explore what's going on underneath my desires and recognise what has perhaps prevented me from achieving this goal before without giving myself a hard time and being judgmental? Am I willing to put the effort into making the changes in my behaviour and beliefs that I need to make so that things will be different this time?

    Give it some thought and if you take this on board, you might find yourself finally achieving what you set out years ago to do.

    What difference are you going to make this year and what are you prepared to do about it?

    For more information, please contact Annie Lawler,
    Breathing Space Therapies & Breathing Space for Business, telephone 0772 581 8884 or email
    [email protected]

    To listen to the relaxation exercise that Annie recorded exclusively for us go to

    What are your resolutions in 2009? Post your comments below and let us know!


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