The end of one year and the beginning of another for many is a time of reflection. People tend to pause and take inventory of their lives. What is working? What isn’t? What do I like about my life? What could be better? This place of reflection is where New Year’s Resolutions begin. We look at our lives and, often from the place of judgment, decide what should be different and we firmly commit to changing it; at least for 1-2 weeks until we grow tired of working hard with minimal results… and we give up. Statics show that only 8-9% of the people who make New Year’s Resolutions actually keep them.

Why is that?

Most people regard resolutions as a form of goal-setting. All the advice, all the literature, is about setting and reaching your goals. The problem with this approach is that the original meaning of goal is “limit, obstacle or boundary.” If you are chasing a goal, you are unconsciously buying into the idea of creating limits and obstacles for yourself.

Another reason New Year’s Resolutions rarely work is they start from a place of judging you. Rather than looking at what would be fun for you to create in your life, you look at what you don’t like. Perhaps you look at your body and decide you weigh too much, so you set a goal to lose weight. Or, you decide you spend too much time working and should be spending more time with the family. So, you set a goal to cut back on working. Relax more. Hang out with the kids. None of these things are wrong. But when you choose to change something in your life because you are judging that it is not good enough or that you are not good enough, you will not stick with your choice. You will eventually give up and quit and then you have something else to judge you for. So much for a Happy New Year.

What’s the solution?

If New Year’s Resolutions don’t really work, is giving up the alternative? Should we all just resign to accept our lot in life and do the best with what we have? That is one choice. But not the one I recommend. Something more is available. Something greater is possible. A life that you love waking up to every single day is something you can choose.

Here are my top five tools on how to create the change you desire in any area of your life:

1. Lose the goals. Set targets.

When we set goals, it’s not long until we lose interest or enthusiasm for that goal. Or, when we don’t “succeed” from our point of view, we immediately start judging ourselves. Thoughts such as ‘I’m not good enough,” or ‘I don’t deserve my goals,’” start running through your head.

Targets are different than goals. For starters, a target doesn’t come from judging you. A target comes from looking at what would be fun for you rather than looking at what is wrong with you that you should change.

Another thing about targets is that when you are aiming for a target, what is commonly considered as “failure” just becomes feedback; it is information that can help you adjust your aim and come closer to your target next time. It’s a much healthier and more empowered way of viewing the inevitable twists and turns of life. Aim for your target and if you miss, it’s no big deal. You can just aim and shoot again, and again, and again.

How do you choose your targets?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself what it is you desire in your life? At first glance, this may sound like a stupid question. Doesn’t everyone know what it is they would like to have out of life? As surprising as it may sound, most people have no idea what they would like to have as their life and living.

All too often we make choices based on what others tell us we should desire rather than taking a moment to ask, “If I could create my life exactly as I would like it to be, what would I choose? Or, another great question to ask, “If I was including me in the creation of my life, what would I create?” When you ask these questions, you begin to have a sense of what you desire. You start to recognize what is fun for you. Use this information to create your targets.

If you are still unclear on the difference between goals and targets, here’s an example. Let’s say you get on the scale and the number that shows up doesn’t make you happy. You can go into the judgment of you. Decide that you have to lose weight and set a goal to make it happen. You determine how many pounds you need to lose. You determine all of the food you need to stop eating. You decide how much you need to work out. Goal set in motion. Hard work to follow. Ugh.

A target is different. Same scenario. You get on the scale. You want to cry when you see the number. But, instead of judging you, instead of determining what you have to do and setting a goal to accomplish it, you ask a question. “Ok. I would like to weigh less than I do now. How could I do that and have fun at the same time? What would make this easy?” When you ask questions rather than going to conclusion, possibilities start to show up. Perhaps you remember that you used to love kick boxing. Or, maybe you remember that you always wanted to be a rock climber and never took the time to just do it. So now your target becomes to move your body in a way that is fun for you 3 times a week. Some weeks you may hit it your target. Some weeks you may not. When you do hit it, you celebrate. When you don’t, you still celebrate. You don’t judge you. You don’t buy the idea that you are a failure. You acknowledge you and keep going.

Targets do not include judgment. Targets can change any time you would like them to change. Targets allow for true change.

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2. Choose gratitude

Creating the life you desire, implementing the changes you would like to have, all starts with gratitude. Rather than looking back and judging where you have decided you are not perfect, and making a firm decision to do or not do certain things, what if you took a moment to say thank you to you? What if you acknowledged what you have chosen? What if you were grateful for what you have created and all of the amazing things and people you have in your life?

I recommend starting a gratitude journal and every day write 3-5 things that you are grateful for. The things we put our attention on grow bigger. When you write down the things that contribute to your life, when you acknowledge the brilliance of you, not only do you feel better, more of what you are grateful for starts to show up.

3. Change your mind, change your life

Our point of view creates our reality. Our reality does not create our point of view. If you have the point of view that you change is hard and takes lots of time, for example, then you will work hard to create change and it change will show up very slowly. However, if you have the point of view that change comes to you easily, that it is as simple as a choice, then that will happen too. Your point of view creates your reality. Change your point of view, change your reality.

Changing your point of view can be easy. Every time you notice a point of view that you have, say, “Interesting point of view. I have that point of view.” Keep saying it until you notice a shift. What happens when you say this is that point of view that you have been whole-heartedly believing becomes simply interesting. And if it is just interesting, you can easily choose another one. What if your point of view was that life was ease-filled and full of joy? You might even try saying “All of life comes to me with ease and joy and glory.” What would having that point of view create for you and your life?

4. Make a demand

I see too many people unwilling to demand more from life. Many people see nice things others have, or receive, or achieve, and think to themselves ‘Oh, I could never have that’. What if seeing others with something can be an inspiration for you to have it, too? What if you can start 2018 with the point of view of ‘If someone else can have something, or achieve something, maybe it means I can too?

The New Year is the perfect time to make that demand of life. Tell yourself, “I will have it. It may take me a thousand years to have it, but I’m going to start moving toward it today.”

5. Practice asking questions

Often, in our attempt to create change in our lives and to satisfy our targets, we look for answers. We have been taught that the right answer, the right decision, is a key to having the life we desire. Answers and conclusions actually keep something greater from showing up. So instead of coming to conclusion about what is happening in your life, ask questions and invite new possibilities.

Here are some examples of conclusions that can be replaced with questions.

  • Rather than saying, “This situation is so bad” or “Wow, this situation is amazing”, ask“How does it get any better than this?” This triggers your unconscious self to make an unpleasant situation better, and an uplifting situation even greater.
  • Instead of believing that you are a victim to life and that happiness is given or taken, ask “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?” This empowers you to realize that happiness is a choice and can be called upon at any time.
  • Instead of saying “I am stuck” or “I quit”, ask “What else is possible I have never considered?” This triggers your unconscious awareness to look for the various solutions and possibilities available to you.

If you have tried to change something in your life by setting goals, including those pesky resolutions, if you are thinking of giving up on your dreams and settling for the status quo because what you have done so far hasn’t worked, don’t! Never give up, never give in and never quit. Change is possible. The life you desire is possible.

The first step is to stop judging you. If you are still not quite sure how to do that, ask this question “What’s right about me that I am not getting?” This question goes a long way in getting you out of the judgment of you.

Next, lose the goals. Set targets instead. Targets can change as you do. Targets don’t beat you up when you miss. They just present the opportunity to shoot again. Now, choose gratitude for you, make the demand of yourself that you WILL have the life you desire, ask questions and then choose, choose and choose. Keep choosing until it shows up.

You are far more of a creator than you may know. Let 2018 be there year where you choose it all!

q - What is Your Target for 2018 & the Key to Effective ResolutionsDr. Dain Heer is a bestselling author, entrepreneur and internationally renowned speaker. He is a co-creator and leading facilitator of Access Consciousness®, a personal development modality available in more than 170 countries that has contributed to changing the lives of tens of thousands of people, over the past 30 years. A conscious and creative thought leader with a profound understanding of the power of personal creation, Dr. Heer draws upon his personal background and unique perspective to facilitate positive change in the world, and empower people from every culture, country, age and social strata to create the money, relationships and life they truly desire. drdainheer.com.