Sunday, January 5, 2014

Free Yourself from the Tyranny of New Year's Resolutions: Congruency & Connection

Hi Everyone,

Workshops can be taken individually or take  the whole series for maximum impact. 

Contact me at 360.809.0083 (texting is OK) or email: 

Best Regards, 

Free yourself from the tyranny
of New Year's Resolutions:
Congruency & Connection
scroll down for article

Free yourself from the tyranny
of New Year's Resolutions:
Congruency & Connection

“If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning.” - Catherine Aird

I love new beginnings - which is what I love about the celebration of a new year. If it was a “good” year then I can celebrate accomplishments and milestones and feel "a moment of smug." If it was a tough year - then the new year offers the opportunity to put last year behind me and move forward. "Thank God that’s over with!"

Resolution. Flake. Beat. Drag. Repeat.
I used to make resolutions aplenty - they were pretty typical: lose weight, get organized etc. I would create a schedule of all the things that I was gonna do - and oh yeah, usually this schedule was so tight that it didn’t allow for things like eating, sleep, transition between activities… and it ignored the fact that I was working a full-time+++ job and was completely stressed out. It was a real “Type A” schedule for someone who doesn’t need any sleep and is on high-octane drugs!

And, following the typical pattern - I would be disciplined for about 6 weeks and then start to flake out. Get discouraged. Beat myself up mentally. Drag myself through whatever was the resolution.

Flake. Beat. Drag. Repeat.

Symbols Not Words
Then I stopped making resolutions and started to visualize what I really wanted. I drew pictures - and the pictures told me more about what was going on than creating a rigid set of resolutions or “commandments.” This is the image that I used to help me lose weight: 

) (  

-its the symbol of a waistline, and how I wanted to have a waist that looked like  ) (  and not  ( ). I pulled up that image in my mind whenever confronted with eating something that wasn’t in line with getting a slim waist. 

Create & Tweak the Routine
I focused on routines and systems to help me stay on track. I looked for openings in my schedule where I could realistically work towards my dreams. If I didn’t keep my intention, then I looked to a flaw in the routine or system rather than the flaw in my character. This was much more productive and kept the focus on finding a solution rather than the problem. 

I work better at night. If I get up really early in the morning I tend to feel really off and often have a headache and am spacey for the day. I negotiated to have my teaching in the afternoon rather than the morning. Which means that it’s OK to sleep in when I stayed up until 2am doing stuff. All morning if necessary. No more beating myself up for not getting up at the crack of dawn!

"Playing" by Melissa Klein 9"x12" Available - click on image for more information

Horse trainers Pat and Linda Parelli say most horse accidents happen due to a lack of congruency. In a nutshell - in falling off a horse - the horse bucks up and your body loses contact with the saddle. Wham! Or you will be trotting along just dandy - suddenly your foot comes out of the stirrup, you lose balance…. Your bodies were incongruent.

Life is like that - when you are not congruent with your real mission, you fall off the horse!

I got real about who I am, and focused on getting congruent with that identity. I started to act like the person I wanted to be rather than always chasing the dream. How would a successful artist have her schedule support her so she can make her best work?

It’s kind of like dating: ever meet the person who is desperately single? Pretty much everyone runs for the door. Now imagine someone who is secure in their independence - how are they? Confident, fun, and certainly not grasping for a date. The paradox is that quality makes them more desirable and likely to attract partners versus that desperately single candidate.

Be the change that you want to see. Operate from a place of having already fulfilled the goal rather than grasping for it.

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
It’s really true that we create our reality - which can be annoying since it’s so much easier (and fun!) to place blame on the circumstances and people around us. 

A colleague told me that when we point the finger at someone else, then three fingers point back at us. 

I had never heard of this before, and eagerly shared this wisdom with my students (who had all heard this metaphor before) - and their answer to this gem? To point ALL of their fingers at the offending party instead of just one! Too bad it just doesn’t work that way.

A couple of years ago, I was at a conference for aspiring entrepreneurs. There was a woman who had a great idea for a business, was really excited and seemed to have the resources to make it happen. At one point, she stood up and asked our coach “Is this going to be one of those things where we all say these empty affirmations and then go home and do nothing?” 

Sure enough - a few months later, her accountability partner reported that she just “disappeared." In their last conversation, she shared that her husband was pressuring her to help out with their family business instead of starting her own. Which was odd because he had come to a conference and seemed supportive... She sunk about $6,000 plus travel expenses to be in the program that year. She fulfilled her own prophesy and was pointing the finger. 

Other people from that same conference moved from just having an idea to running highly successful businesses and receiving national and international attention for their work. They also had prophesies to fulfill.

The difference? 


They took regular action - even if only for 15 minutes or half an hour a day. And if it didn’t happen that day - they got back on the horse the next day, and didn’t waste energy beating themselves up about it or being dramatic. They cultivated connections (that even included husbands) to bolster their success. They didn’t point fingers - except at themselves.

Action is the glue that heals the disconnect between dreams and real life.

I find that one of the worst things I can do, to NOT accomplish a goal is to rely upon my own “self discipline” to make it happen. 

Instead I look for outside influences - I sign up for a class because it forces me to set aside the time to actually do it. I schedule an art event that requires me to have new work. My horses are my workout partners, I have to show up to feed them no matter what and they get cranky if I don’t.

"Hawthorne in Summer Fields" by Melissa Klein

I have two accountability partners to check in with about what I want to accomplish - and to trouble shoot if I don’t make the goal. I answer to them on a weekly, or more, basis. 

Goals happen in incremental ways - focus on habits and routines and the goals will take care of themselves. 

Get back on the horse. Don’t beat yourself up or the horse! Again. Get back on the horse. Your actions will make your dreams and reality become congruent.

Resolutions are all about creating change - which is a great thing. The main thing is to find a way to create that change for you that is lasting and sustainable.


"Me & Mini-ME!" by Melissa Klein

If this article interested you and you want to explore this more in-depth, I will be offering two workshop series ARTiculate which is about telling your story & ART LAB for supporting people with creative projects. It will be a combination of entertaining storytelling, art history, discussion and right-brain art exercises. 
What are Right-Brain Exercises?
A picture is worth a thousand words and helps to galvanize your emotional forces to create positive change. Many times we become inundated with a tidal-wave of words or become demotivated by all of the “shoulds” in life - which make it hard to see things clearly. 
Right-brain exercises are a playful use of visualization techniques to see concepts in a new light. Using simple materials like ink, paper, sand, collage, and doodling - you will be able to engage your visual side and have it communicate with you in a way that is outside of words and creates a clear picture of issue and new possibilities. 
It’s not about creating art, its about using art to create a new perspective. — Melissa Klein
The Happy Factor
People get really happy when they are given permission to play like children before they knew if something is “good” or “bad” — they can’t fail. Remember the joy of mud pies before they were “dirty”? Accessing problems from a positive and humorous perspective is more motivating to create change.
Journal of Journey
Your Journal is included in the workshop and is something that you will take away with you as a physical reminder - and to add onto as you gain new insights. This is about creating lasting change and keeping inspired.
Space is limited - reserve your place! 
Please call me at 360.809.0083 or email me at to reserve your place.

No comments:

Post a Comment