The New Year’s Resolution Trap: How to set goals that actually align with YOUR values (And the top questions to ask yourself when setting 2023 resolutions)

Hello from 35,000 feet!

I’m flying in the sky on my way to sunny Florida as I write this for our Inspire Community. While you may not read this until January, it’s currently a few days before we complete another revolution around the sun. The office has been closed all week as our team is taking some extra time off before we return to the office in the new year.

When I was early in practice, at times I would feel guilty for taking time off away from my clients and practice members. At the same time, I’d be teaching them how to heal, how to slow down, how to take time off to focus on themselves and what really matters. I would encourage them to plan vacations or time off into the future so that their nervous systems could find a rhythm of both work and play.

As I’ve done my own inner work and walked my talk more and more, that guilt rarely happens now. While I love the work I do and facilitate, I also enjoy taking time off, traveling with my husband, and exploring my life hobbies of nature, yoga, and spirituality.

And guess what?! Enjoying time away from your job, business, and/or career does NOT mean you don’t care about your clients, co-workers, and fellow colleagues. In fact, you do both yourself and them a favor by scheduling time to rest, play, and just be. You come back with fresh energy, new perspectives, and a more balanced nervous system (hopefully).

When we take time away from our normal routine, it’s common to start reflecting on our life as a whole. We’ve all seen the opportunities for such reflections at this time of year - setting goals, resolutions, breaking habits, vision board workshops, and more. You get it. While I’m not against any of these practices, I do see small, yet powerful gaps in the way people go about setting goals into a new year or new chapter.

The biggest goal-setting gaps I continue to see and have witnessed in both myself and my clients are as follows:

  1. Not knowing what your values are.
  2. Not knowing what you actually want in life.

If you don’t know what you value and what you want in life, you get caught in the New Year’s Resolution Trap.

How does this play out? First you feel the pressure to set a goal simply because it’s the end of the year and well, #GOALS…right? Sure. If you don’t know what you value and have lived your life according to the “shoulds” of others, you set unrealistic goals and expectations just to say you did it for the new year. This then leads to actions and behaviors that don’t align with your authentic self and so when you don’t make progress, you dip into a guilt and shame loop.

Sound familiar?

February hits and all of a sudden, you’re back to square one. So you try to set new goals that aren’t founded in personal values or desires, but rather, stem from injected pressures from the culture of needing to be a certain way to be liked, accepted, seen as “successful,” and/or validated.

I want a bigger house.
I want more money.
I want that fancy boat.
I want to be skinny.
I want to lose 100lbs.
I want to become an influencer.

But WHY?

Oftentimes the seeking of external “stuff” stems from an inner void of not feeling enough self-love or self-worth.

Now hear me out. I’m not saying wanting stuff is bad. But if your reasoning for wanting stuff is because you think it’ll make your life feel miraculously better, then you will forever be a victim to those quick dopamine hits.

(Dopamine is a neurochemical that’s released in our pleasure/reward/”feel good” centers of our brain).

I share this because as an ultra-high achiever, I’ve been in this cycle in the past. From the outside it’s seductive, but on the inside it’s exhausting and unsustainable.

Once I started setting goals aligned with my values and purpose, life began to flow. I didn’t have to TRY so hard to hit goals because I began to understand that my current behaviors were a direct reflection of my values. Instead of shaming myself and trying to be someone else, I started to LOVE myself and embrace who I was.

If this is the first time you’ve heard (or read) me talk about this work, stick with me. I’m going to teach you how to discover your true values as well as act in alignment with them so that goal-setting can become more natural and less of a shameful burden.

The top questions to ask yourself when setting 2023 resolutions

  1. What are your top 3 values? If you don’t know your top values, I highly recommend you take this assessment BEFORE you set your goals for 2023. Dr. John Demartini and his values assessment has been a game changer for me as well as the 1 on 1 clients I work with on a weekly basis. Simply put, you must begin to understand what drives YOU before taking action towards your goals and purpose. Living a fulfilling life begins first with knowing thyself.
  2. What do you want? Once you determine your values and what drives/inspires you naturally, you must get clear on what you want out of life. Yes, I know this seems like a very big, broad question. Let’s dissect this down into some refinement questions to support this process:
    • What would an ideal day look like for you? Let go of your current obligations and get clear on what you want to fill your space and time with. The Values Determination Assessment will help with this question too. Allow yourself to get creative and expansive on this one. For example, “I’d like to wake up without an alarm clock and start my day with coffee by the fire with my husband.” Or, “I’d love to wake up in the mountains and go on a hike first thing in the morning.”
    • What do you need to STOP doing to start to bring this ideal day into reality? As my mentors Dan Nicholson and Nic Peterson teach constantly, getting closer to what you want does NOT mean you get, have, or need MORE. In fact, it often means detoxing your calendar down to what truly inspires you in the 86,4000 seconds we all have in a day. If you want to deep dive this concept, I recommend their books Rigging the Game and Bumpers respectively.
  3. What questions do you need to ask yourself daily to stay aligned with your values, vision, and purpose? Life happens. Even the most aligned gurus get knocked off course every now and then. What sets them apart is how fast they recover from such challenges back to center, back to wholeness. You can learn how to quicken this process like my successful clients by reflecting on these 7 questions every single day. Ask yourself:
    • What would I absolutely love to do in life? This is similar to the question above of what you want in life.
    • How do I become handsomely or beautifully paid to do it? I’ve had some push back from this question as it relates to careers vs. hobbies. By no means do you need to turn your hobbies into revenue generating activities. Just understand that you only have so much time in a day so if you are overall aligned with your job that creates cash for you, then good for you. However, most people in the culture dislike their job but do it just for the money to get them to retirement. I’m here to tell you that you can have alignment vocationally AND enjoy doing it while also making money.
    • What are the 7 highest priority action steps I could complete today that would enable me to do it? This question alone can be a complete game changer in helping you master your Zone of Genius and delegating tasks that don’t inspire you. Again, you only have so much time in a day. If you’re new to this, you might still be in a chapter where you’re doing things you don’t enjoy all the time. That’s OK. Awareness is the first step in making this shift. Remember, there are people out there who would LOVE to do what you hate (cleaning, cooking, shopping, managerial stuff, etc). The Universe is balanced after all.
    • What obstacles might I run into and how do I solve them in advance. Prime your brain to solve problems before they even happen. Then when the “problem” actually occurs, you’ll feel so much less stressed and more resourceful to access a solution.
    • What worked and didn’t work today? We live in a world of highlight reels which creates false expectations in the mind of how life should be. Again, you WILL run into challenges. It’s part of life. It’s how well you ADAPT that creates inner resilience.
    • How did whatever I experienced today, whether positive or negative, serve me? When you do this work enough, you will see that life is working out FOR you rather than against you. Road bumps are ON the way, not IN the way. When you are of service to the universe, the universe will continuously be of service to you in many forms and many ways. Allow your setbacks to become lessons and your failures to become feedback. Here lies the mastery of life.

If you’re curious to learn more and dive head first into this work with support, I invite you to my signature 1-Day Immersion in February, 2023 focused on Mental-Emotional Mastery. I’ll be guiding you and a few select individuals through these processes as well as teaching HOW to breakFREE from generational patterns that keep us stuck.

You can check out all the details and RSVP here!
(limited spots available)

Yours in alignment,
Dr. Mel

Thank you for reading the Inspire Life blog