20 Quality Questions to Help You Accomplish Your 2020 New Years Resolutions and Goals & Leave the Past in the Past

Have you failed at achieving your new years’ resolutions in the past? Possibly so many times that you feel defeated before you even begin? One of the secrets to success not many people openly talk about is cleaning up the past before you begin or plan anything in future, which reminds me of a story…

A decade ago this very day I stood on a secluded, golden sand beach off Had Rin called Had Tien. You can only get to this small, remote island off Koh Phangan, Thailand by longboat, or a 2-hour walk through the jungle where you are likely to encounter cobras, vipers, scorpions and other exotic, deadly species. We were staying at a wellness centre called The Sanctuary. I stood peacefully, staring at the vast blue tranquil ocean, listening to the new year’s celebratory horahs coming from behind me, where people lazily lay in hammocks and meandered around in the island cafe, which was filled with vibrant, colourful, luxurious oversized pillows and bizarre flute music — think Peter Pan’s never-never land meets Robinson Cruso. It was here I came up with a principle which has altered the trajectory of my life forever. I call it ‘Housekeeping of the Mind’.

I had visited the Sanctuary for the first time a few years before this. It was then that I met Moon, an amazing human who would become one of my guides in life. He taught me the principle of ‘brooming’ and ‘sweeping’ away the past before starting the future. He was referring to literally cleansing and cleaning out your gut and body by drinking clay shakes, psyllium husk, eating herbs and having 60L coffee colonics once or twice a day all while fasting for seven days. However, I realised our brain worked in the same way. We need to ‘broom’, sweep out or reframe all the crap — stuff which isn’t useful but is taking up space — before we put any new goodness in. It isn’t a matter of merely hitting reset and starting something new right away, we undertook seven days of fasting, catching up on sleep, walks, resting, yoga, taking herbs, exploring the island, reconnecting with nature, drinking clay and doing those delicious coffee colonics — majorly ‘unloading’ our bodies before we put anything new into our system. I’ve been fasting annually and going to exotic places to detox for 15 years this year — however, a decade ago was the first time I thought about applying this process to my mind and I’ve been doing my ‘Housekeeping of the Mind’ ever since. Imagine your mind is your dream home — you would go to work dusting away the cobwebs, cleaning up the clutter, re-organising and purging yourself of what no longer serves you before redesigning and adding new furniture, right? Imagine the mess your dream home would become if you didn’t.

As we start a new year, we make resolutions about the future — it is human nature and a societal norm to do this. However, if we don’t declutter, reframe or ‘broom’ out our mind, it is like we are jamming in new furniture to an already full, dusty, cluttered house — kind of like hoarding when you think about it. We need to clean up the past before we begin planning our new future. I powerfully invite you to spend some time mentally housekeeping before you set your new years resolutions, goals, aspirations or outcomes for the coming year.

Where do you start? Where could you focus?
Let’s start with your past goals, outcomes, projects and dreams. For this, you will need a piece of paper and a pen.

Are there any projects, dreams, aspirations, goals — especially the “I-SHOULD-do-this-type of goals” — that you have wanted to do — possibly for years — that you’ve never made time for? Get them out of your head, write them down onto paper. Once you’ve done that, you need to make a decision: you can either let them go or recommit to doing them in the future. Why is this important? They are taking up valuable bandwidth in your brain that could be used for creating cool new stuff.

Quality Questions to ask yourself:

Is this an outcome, goal or something that no longer serves me?

Am I doing this for someone else — is this someone else’s dream for me?

Is my inner 5-year or 10-year old running my life?

Is there a timeline or deadline I set for myself when I was younger, that I need to reconsider, now that I’m older and wiser?

Am I doing this to fit in?

Next, let’s focus on letting go of past hurt, limiting beliefs, stories and emotional baggage you have been carting around with you.

Quality Questions to ask yourself to let go of past hurt, limiting beliefs and stories:

Are there any resentments, anger or upsets that I have been hanging on to? How can I let these go?

What emotional baggage have I been carting around, that I wat to let go of permanently?

Is there anyone in my life I need to forgive?

Do I need to forgive myself for anything? Or many things?

What are the most important things for me to let go of and why?

Why is it vital I let go of this, and right now?

What limiting beliefs and crappy old stories have I been telling myself during the past decade? What limiting beliefs and crappy old stories have I been telling myself this past year?

What are the stories about others I’ve held onto which no longer serve me as they are causing me pain or anguish?

What have these beliefs cost me, over the past year, and decade?

What have they prevented me from experiencing or achieving?

Why is it crucial that I let this go now? And once and for all?

What is the number one thing I want to let go of as I start the new year today?

What does it feel like to ‘complete the past’? Is there a test?
An easy way to know you’re done is when you have no emotional reactions or attachments to a specific situation, memory or person. There’s nothing left to work out or say, and nothing or no-one to avoid.

The experience I’m left with after ‘Housekeeping of the Mind’ is the sense of having created a clean slate. And from this clean slate, we can be curious, and in a state of wonderment and gratitude can create anything we want in the future! One of my most favourite things to do next is to spend time reflecting on what I’ve contributed, learnt, done, achieved and how I’ve grown as a person over the past year before I set my future outcomes. Why? This is like creating my personal wisdom map, which I use as a resource to map out my future with. I’ll share how to this in my next blog post along with designing your life using Behaviour Design© & Tiny Habit© Recipes.

Does this feel like it is still all too much to get started?
Choose one single question, and ask yourself that one question only.

I’m a Tiny Habits© Expert and Certified Coach, and I love sharing tips or breaking down rituals, routines and strategies — including how to design your life — into single actions and behaviours which you can do in 30-seconds or less each day. More on Tiny Habits© and Behaviour Design© to follow.

Todays Bonus Action: I encourage you to get a copy of BJ Fogg’s highly anticipated new book which launched today! Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything. You can use it to learn in-depth about Behaviour Design© and Tiny Habits©, then learn-by-doing all month with me!

I would love to know what sense of freedom you get from applying “Housekeeping of the Mind” to your own life. Comment below or on social media using #mentalhousekeeping or #housekeepingofthemind.

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I help people unlearn stuff that isn’t workable and design behaviour which guides them towards fulfilment, freedom & flow.

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Kristy Bertenshaw

Kristy Bertenshaw

I help people unlearn stuff that isn’t workable and design behaviour which guides them towards fulfilment, freedom & flow.

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