With fires raging across Australia, rising global and national instability and fearful messages about WWIII all over social media, 2020 has certainly arrived with a hefty dose of gloom and doom.

The world feels crazy, maddening and confusing, and maybe – like me – you are trying to figure out how to respond in effective, thoughtful and heartfelt ways – without getting sucked into hopelessness and depression.

At this time of the year, self-reflective, creative, open-hearted people like you and I typically step back and examine our personal lives to look at what has happened to date, and to align ourselves to what we want next.

  • How do we bring about meaningful change and transformation?

  • What’s a good, life-affirming, effective process for change?

Focused on everything we don’t like in our lives, we set new goals, make new resolutions and renew our good intentions to try harder.

The problem is that we tend to be reactive – addressing crises as they arise.
Our goals soon fizzle out like deflating balloons.
We lose momentum and energy.

When our goals are motivated by our fears (fear of judgment, fear of rejection, fear of loneliness, fear of dying, fear of change, fear of feeling something, fear of poverty) they exhaust us, instead of resourcing us.

On the other hand, when our goals are fueled by our connection to our deep values and needs, our vision for a better world, that deep, rich, alive desire emerging from within us, they generate the intrinsic energy to keep nurturing and reaching for them.

Whether you want to bring about meaningful change and transformation in your own personal life, or the world at large, you’ll need at least two things:

1. A Strong Prefrontal Cortex

This part of your brain is what enables you to delay gratification, hold back impulses, watch your reactions, and imagine possibilities and new ways of living that don’t exist yet.

This is the part of your brain that is able to watch your fears, track your fears, acknowledge your fears – But not be controlled by your fears! Without a strong prefrontal cortex, you are more likely to get hijacked by your reptilian, survival brain and end up making decisions out of fear, stress and habit.

Here are some ways you can strengthen and support the functioning of your prefrontal cortex:

  1. Mindfulness meditation – Ohmmmmmmm.

  2. Get more sleep – zzzzzzz!

  3. Delay of gratification – willpower!

  4. Deliberate practice – brain games!

  5. Physical Activity – dance!

  6. Learning new material – read!

  7. Cleaning up your Diet – whole plant based foods!

2. A Deep Connection with Your Universal Human Needs.

When you are able to fully inhabit your body and feel your feelings, you become more connected to the way that life force energy and intrinsic motivators well up and move through you, energizing your life. Your goals become more aligned with your desire for belonging, appreciation, authenticity, community, growth and mastery – among many others. The more you find yourself meeting your needs, working with yourself instead of against yourself, the more energy you have to keep going.

Reflect for a moment on a goal you’ve set that you struggle to follow through on:

  • What lies behind this goal?

  • Are you avoiding something or moving towards something?

  • What experiences or patterns from your past have lead you to wanting this particular goal?

  • What needs are you hoping to meet by realizing this goal?

  • What do you imagine you will experience and feel if you realize this goal?

  • What are you hoping to experience and learn on the journey to realizing this goal?

Take the time to become more aware of the kind of fuel you are using to motivate yourself:

  • Are your actions informed by your fears? Demanding you, controlling you, shaming you, compelling you?

  • Or by what you deeply love? Pulling you forwards, energizing and inspiring you?

I’d love to know! Leave a comment below.