Balance & Beyond Podcast

Episode Summary

#32: How to Move Beyond Resolutions to Redefine Your Year

Are New Year's resolutions a setup for failure?

Join Jaclyn and Jo as we explore a more empowering approach by embracing words like 'devotion' and 'intention' to transform your outlook on personal growth. Forget the guilt-ridden resolutions; we're diving into how choosing purpose-driven words can shape a year of intrinsic motivation and joy. In this heartfelt conversation, we reveal our words for the new year and discuss aligning our actions with core values to achieve a deeper sense of fulfilment without outside approval.

Jaclyn shares how her word has evolved from ‘fortified’ to ‘robust’ as she’s delved deeper into her intentions for the year. Eliminating the dangers of a word becoming a post-it note, we share real-world examples of how these words can expand into the critical aspects of self-investment, like nurturing a robust nervous system and embracing serendipitous opportunities.

Jo shares how her word has evolved from last year’s ‘trust’ to become ‘faith’, which is becoming an integral part of her identity. By adapting these qualities into the fabric of who we are, we make our intentions non-negotiable. We also acknowledge the struggles faced when simply trying to survive and how vital any form of action can be. 

Finally, we share insights from the Balance Institute's brand-new toolkit to guide you toward avoiding burnout and achieving a balanced life. So, take a leap with us on Balance and Beyond, and let's make this year one of fortified playfulness, robustness, faith, and exhilarating adventure.

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Episode Transcript

INTRO: Welcome to Balance and Beyond, the podcast for ambitious women who refuse to accept burnout as the price of success. Here, we’re committed to empowering you with the tools and strategies you need to achieve true balance, where your career, relationships and health all thrive, and where you have the power to define success on your own terms. I honour the space you’ve created for yourself today, so take a breath, and let's dive right in…

Jo (Host)

Welcome back to today's show. I've got Jaclyn with me. First episode back in 2024. Welcome back, Jaclyn!

Jaclyn (Guest)

Hey, happy to be here in 2024 and have it be the best year yet. 

Jo (Host)

Absolutely. And today, we are talking about all things New Year's Resolutions. Or not? Because we have a better alternative that we feel is gentler, it's kinder, and is actually going to have you get a better chance of success. So let's dive in, Jaclyn. We talk about New Year’s Resolutions, but here in our Balance Institute world, we talk about something else instead, don't we? What's your take? You and I can tic-tac over today. What is your take on New Year’s Resolutions? And why don't we ever tend to meet them? 

Jaclyn (Guest)

Well, when I think of the word “resolution” I have mixed feelings about it. Because, on one hand, part of me likes the word “resolution.” It’s like the word “resolve.” Which is kind of like, “I've made a decision.” And “I'm resolved” or “I’m determined.” To follow through on that, my mixed feeling is, even though on one hand that sounds like a great way to start the year, with something that we're determined to accomplish, it often-times includes some overwhelming “force.”

Like even the word “resolve” makes my body contract a little bit. And so we need to notice how words make us feel. The words that we use. Make your contract when you speak these words. Then, it's unlikely that you will continue to follow through on something that doesn't make you feel great and expansive, right? So that's my feeling about resolution. 

So you and I look at other kinds of words. I personally love using the words “commitment” or, even better, “devotion.” So, I talk about that word a lot because devotion is a pretty word. And it just has something that feels meaningful immediately about that word, and it's easy to follow something that you're devoted to, because it just feels good. At least, for me, that word feels good. But I know that you use different words too, so it's fun to play with these words. 

Jo (Host)

I have different words, because what I typically find, and we see this all the time, we don't need to talk about New Year's resolutions here. But, to your point, usually a lot of people I see make New Year's resolutions, it's from a place of “I'm doing something wrong”, or “I'm ashamed.” 

So, I'm ashamed of my body. Therefore, I'm going to get fit because I put on “how many kilos” last year. Or “I'm not sleeping enough, because I'm not taking care of myself.” So it's really interesting, when all of these things I guess that's the difference in the word “devotion” right? 

When we are setting a resolution from the place of “I am not good enough.” And, therefore, I must do this thing in order to feel better. Is it any wonder that something like 80% to 90% of New Year's resolutions have been broken by the end of January. Because we're automatically wrong before we begin, right? 

Jaclyn (Guest)

Right. It doesn’t feel good to follow that path. So, we naturally don't keep doing something that doesn't feel good. And that makes sense. 

Jo (Host)

And then we beat ourselves up, because we set ourselves a goal. And that doesn't really work, does it? We often talk here about, as well, some of the resolutions or things that people set. They're from a place of shame, but they've got another pathway to them, don't they? You were talking all about the word ego. What's your perspective on how we usually set these goals, or big dreams? 

Jaclyn (Guest)

Yeah, well, like you said, it could be a place of shame or “should” right? So the conditioning of “I should be fitter.” Or “I should be at a certain role in this company by now”, when it might not authentically be your dream. So, we get to check in with ourselves. “Are my resolutions that I'm setting even aligned with my values, and who I want to be, and are they my genuine desires?” Or “Is it based on something that I think my parents will be happier if I make this choice?” Or, you know, “I'll be more attractive to people, if I make this choice.” Everything based on other people approving of us. So, we're outsourcing our sense of approval and worth, right? 

Jo (Host)

Which is a dangerous place to be. Which is why you love the word “devotion.” I prefer the word, which is one of my favourite words, is “intention.” And to me, that is so much gentler. And this has been a big focus of my life. It’s been going from this rigid “Right.” “Let's go get it!” “Let's go!” That kind of real masculine hustle energy of “Go, go, go, go, go, go, go!” 

“Come on!” I've done things like “75 hard, where you do all these things for 75 days, and it's meant to be hard!” And, yeah, you know, you can get an ego trip out of those things. But, when you set an “intention”, the energy is completely different. And how I tend to set my “intention”, is I tend to pick a word for the year. Sometimes the word comes to me. But usually, that word has a lot of scaffolding under it, and it has a lot of meaning. 

And I think it might be beneficial, Jaclyn, for you and I to share what our words are, that we've chosen this year. And even the process of getting to them. Because when you have something like this, the key is, when I set a word for the year, it's not like I go and do a #wordoftheyear, and it becomes something that I stick on a post-it on my wall, and then I forget about. 

Because it's really easy to do that with these types of things. To set a word or to set a goal, and it goes up somewhere, and we never actually live it. And this is the gap we see so often, isn't it? That someone will set an intention, or they'll set a goal, or they'll set a resolution. But one, it's not aligned with who they are, and so they've got no chance of meeting it. And two, they don't know how to do the things to actually become the person that makes that happen, do they? It's not about the “stuff”, it's about the “who?” Right?

Jaclyn (Guest)

Yeah, it's based on your beliefs, what you think is possible, and the actions that follow those beliefs. Right. 

Jo (Host)

Yeah, so my word for 2024 has really been an evolution of my word from last year. So, my word last year was all about “trust.” And for me, that was around trust in myself, trust in the plans that I had. You know, I was doing things at the end of 2022, like selling my house before having bought another one. Again, I have a habit of doing that. I was taking my entire family across the world on the belief, on the trust, that this was the right place for us to be. I trusted that we would be in our house before we actually purchased it. I trusted this was the right decision. 

And so my plan for 2023 was very much to continue that. And it wasn't a word that I stuck on a post-it, and it wasn’t something I posted on social media. It was very much something that I intentionally cultivated and built. And I invested in myself. I spent time. I had mentors helping me build this trust, build this intuition, which has been a really big part of, you know, the growth that the business experienced. 

It was because I would trust that the people that were meant to find us were meant to find us, instead of forcing it and having, to your point, some “egoic goal.” And this year, for me, has been a really interesting evolution of that and, I guess, in line with how I'm living my life at the moment. This year's word is a continual, you might call it “deepening”, or “further integration” of what actually lies beyond trust. 

Beyond trust, is faith. And that's my word of the year. And “faith” can be a loaded word. Because when I use it, it is not in a religious context at all. But to me, faith is a belief in evidence unseen. So, in order to have faith, you must have trust. It's a given. But faith is, for me, I do a lot of things that other people haven't walked the path of. And even things like selling houses, before you buy a new one. 

A lot of my family, a lot of my friends, were like “You're nuts!” “What are you doing?” I'm like, “I have faith.” “I know it's going to work out.” I know in my bones, “It's all going to be fine.” Even when evidence points to the contrary, I know that it's going to work. Or, I know that I've made the right decision. And I found that, for me, that is something that I've had to lean on. It’s that belief in myself. 

And that is something that has taken a while to cultivate. This isn't something that you just wake up one morning and go, “I'm going to believe in myself!” “I'm going to have faith!” It's something that is a real, to use one of your words, Jaclyn, it's a real “devotion” to cultivating that part of myself, finding the right people to support me, in that it's mind, body, spirit. It's everything. 

Because when I live in a world where so few people can give me the evidence I'm looking for, and so if I can't find it outside, I will flounder, I will wobble. Any time something rocks me, I could wobble really, really hard. But, instead, I've got this really beautiful groundedness. That I know what I'm doing, is where I'm meant to be. I know everything happens for a reason and it is all going to work out. 

So that, to me, is where that word comes from. And, importantly, what lies behind it. And I think, why don't you share your word, Jaclyn? Which has had an interesting evolution in itself. We can both share. Again, it's not about the word, it's about what you do with it. So what is your word of the year, and how have you got to that? 

Jaclyn (Guest)

Yeah, I'm happy to share around that. 

Before I do, there's actually two things that I was hearing when you were sharing, that I wanted to point out. And one is that there's a way that, with the intention that you're setting, there's a long game that you're playing. And that really became clear when you mentioned the “75 hard” or whatever. I’d never heard of that, but that's cool, and that has its own time and place, right? 

But, what we're up to, and I think the work we do, and the women who are drawn to this work, and who stay in our community, are women who are up to a long game. So, they want something that's sustainable. They want something that's going to last beyond 75 days. They want something that becomes their new lifestyle, and their new normal, like an elevated new normal, right? 

So, it has to be sustainable, and it has to be a long game. And, yeah, I don't know if New Year's Resolutions really take that into account, either. Typically, it feels more like a fast, quick result, type thing. It's not a long game that people are playing. So, I think that's one distinction that I wanted to point out, where these intentions come from. Right, “faith” is definitely a long game. That word, in of itself, right? That's a really good example. 

So, my word has evolved. First it was “fortified”, because I wanted a word that illustrated strength. Like, a foundational strength. Because, for me, the long game I'm playing is getting my body strong, stable, and fortified, so that I could conceive easily. If I want to have another pregnancy this year, that's what I'm looking at. 

I don't know exactly when, not super immediately, but I know sometime, probably in the next 12 months, that I want to try to get pregnant. So like, “Okay, what is it going to take for my body, now that I'm 16 months postpartum from my first baby, and I have some low back pain resulting from that pregnancy?” So, I want to go into the next one super well prepared, super strong, super fortified, right? So, fortified was my word. 

But then, there was a part of me that kept nagging like, “Ah, but that feels a little serious.” And I've also been really wanting to bring a playfulness into my world, even more. Especially with a little baby running around. Life is so much easier when there's playfulness and humour. So I was like, “Oh, what is a word that's like playful, and fortified combined?” And I haven't really landed on the exact one that embodies playful enough. But I feel like the word “robust” is probably a really good choice. Unless I find something better. 

So, “robust” feels really good. Because robust is strong, it's fortified, but there's something lively and almost bouncy. I don't know, for me at least, when I think of “robust”, I think of something that's like, “Look out, there she is!” “She's got all this energy and robustness in life, right?” So, yeah, I feel like that is perhaps a really good example of fortified and playful together, in the word “robust.” 

So then, I just remembered the second thing that I was going to say before. So, I'm playing the long game, right? I want to really have my body be fortified, in a playful way. I want to be robust for this next pregnancy, and for having two kids. Like holy crap, two kids! I hear it's not quite double, it's like more than double, when you have a second kid. So I'm like, “Okay, I really want to be robust for this future that I'm creating.” And so that’s the second thing “Am I investing in it?”

I heard you say, Jo, about your word “faith” right? So, you invest in yourself, and you have faith in what you're investing in, right? So, whether it's your home, or your business, or your physical health, because I know you work with some cutting edge trainers to work with your body. So, people who are up to big things invest in themselves. People who are playing the long game invest in themselves. It's part and parcel of that. So, I'm doing the same, right? 

And it's so cool that once you make a decision, at least I’ve found this, and I'm sure you have too, Jo, that once I decide that “This is the year where I get in the best shape of my life.” “This is the year where I become robust, right?” So, and then I started to say, “Well, what does that look like?” And so, for me, it was three things. 

It was “How can I make my nervous system robust?” Right, so that I have the bandwidth to continue supporting a toddler, and then a pregnancy and another kid, and be nice to my husband? I need to really fortify my nervous system, right? And I need to really take care of my physical body. Because it's a huge impact on your physical body, right? Being postpartum, and then getting pregnant again, and my mindset, my mental health, my emotional mental health. So, I need to invest in all of those things. 

So, for me, that was like, “Okay, pilates.” “I hear that pilates is really good for your core and that it helps with your lower back pain.” And all of a sudden, I saw an instructor at the park. I live across the street from a park. I'm strolling along with my son, and I see this little class going on. And I go over, and I just had a nudge, this intuitive hit to go ask that woman, “What class is this?” Because I didn't know what it was.

And so I went over, asked for her phone number, and I exchanged information with her. And she says, “Yeah, it's Pilates in the park, every Friday.” I'm like, “Oh great!” This is a time I could attend, which is magic. Schedules are crazy. So ,I can attend this class on Fridays, and it's pilates in the park across the street. It's like, literally, “Here you go!” Hand delivered, on a silver platter. 

Also, I wanted support for the pain in my lower back, and to look at my relationship with pain. Because looking at my relationship with childbirth and all that's a big concept, and a big topic. And all of a sudden I saw this workshop run by a woman who helps people look at their relationship with pain. A yoga workshop.

So, that's part of my wheelhouse. I love looking at my body in a yoga way, and how can I strengthen my body using yoga, stabilising these places to support my low back, you know? That workshop just happened to be in the next couple of days. Just a quick Google search and I found that. 

And then I found there was a flyer, a physical flyer, delivered to my house that said, “Here, you can go to this new yoga studio.” They offer yoga, pilates. “Oh my God, these are the things that I'm looking for!”

And it includes, in the membership, free float tank sessions, like unlimited float tank sessions, cryotherapy, and a sauna. All these things that help your nervous system to down-regulate. And I was like, “This is amazing!”

All I did was decide, “This is the year I'm going to be in the best shape of my life, become fortified, or robust.” And the universe was like, “Here, here, here, here, here.” So, I don't know if you have examples of that too, Jo, but that's what's so cool, and when things start to get really fun. 

Jo (Host)

Yeah, and this is where we talk about collapsing time and where things become easier. I'm not saying they're easy. There's a difference here, right? But, there is an ease that happens. Like you said, when you make that decision, you then move in alignment with that decision. So, it's almost like the universe goes, “Okay, you want to be stronger?” 

In my case, “All right, you want to have faith?” “All right, let's test your faith straight away.” “Let's rock you.” It's like, “Nope, I'm good!” It's like, “Okay, she can handle that one.” But it's almost like once you make a decision, you're then gifted with these breadcrumbs to follow. But, you have to take the step and invest in it. And usually for the people who come into our world, it's not half-hearted feelings like “Yes” or “Sometimes.” 

You know, pilates classes aren't usually free. But, it's about investing your time. It's about investing your energy. It's about dedicating the headspace to it and not saying, “Oh well, you know, I'll look at my body later on.” And “I'll find a trainer, and I'll see what I can do for free.”

Now it's like, "No." If you're dedicated to this thing, well, chances are pretty high that you've wanted this thing previously. You know the amount of people that come into our world that want to work on their health, or on their relationship. Well, has your relationship been fabulous until this point? Like, no. 

It's usually reached a point where you've gone, “Right.” “No more.” “This is the year that I'm not going to do this thing.” Whether it's, “I'm going to stop beating myself up.” Or “I finally want to get that confidence.” Or “I finally want to not feel this way, not feel so burnt out.” 

Jaclyn (Guest)

Yep, that’s right.

Jo (Host)

When you get to that “right, that's enough” which is usually where a New Year's Resolution comes from. It's like, “Enough.” You've also then got to walk, step by step. You've got to walk hand in hand. And that is the thing so often that, you know, we're talking here about making those investment decisions, letting those people who've knocked on your door, who have found you, go “Huh, that happened for a reason.”

Whether it's building your habits, whether it's making the commitment, you're learning how to hold a boundary so that, whatever it is you need the time for, whether it's to go to pilates class, or to do a meditation, or if it's to have coffee with a friend, or whatever it is that you've decided is important, you've got to learn to have the tools to actually bring that thing to life.

Which is why so many of these fail, because people don't then take them step by step. And all they end up doing is beating themselves up, and this becomes proof of one more thing that they can't do. And then they end up collapsing, don't they? 

And then they wait until December and go, “Well, I'll slide sideways into Christmas, and then come January.” “All right, this year it's going to be different.” I mean, I've had people come into our world that have said that for three consecutive years.

At what point do you say, “Enough.” “Like really, enough.” And do that work. And maybe take some of our words, right? Take the faith that whoever finds you, is meant to find you. 

The algorithms are a very scary thing. It might be a computer, but I swear sometimes up there, the amount of people that I found on my journey that I've gone, “That's pretty freaky.” Google and Apple have been listening to what I've been saying. And they've just given me the exact person I needed at the exact time. 

To your point, a person who happened to have a masterclass going, that started in two days time on this thing, and you go, “What a coincidence!” What if it's not a coincidence? So that becomes the interesting thing, right? How do you follow those breadcrumbs? How do you have the faith that everything is working out for you? 

Jaclyn (Guest)

Right. And if you're not getting breadcrumbs, you probably haven't made a decision. You haven't decided. This is the year that I'm going to, whatever it is. “Be in the best shape of my life” for example. And check that it's coming from a place that feels really genuine. Again, not egoic, or in trying to prove something, or in “should-ing” yourself. All right. 

So, that's what you need to start asking yourself. Okay, “Have I declared, no matter what, I'm going to do whatever it takes?” And that's a big thing to say, right? And a big thing to follow through on. “I'm going to do whatever it takes.” “I'm going to invest in it.” “I'm going to make time for it.” “I'm going to dedicate…”, “Going to devote…”, “Make it my intention…”. Whatever word you want to use. But it's a decision. And, “It's happening, and nothing's going to stop me.” 

So, if you haven't done that energetically, you haven't begun. The universe cannot give you something if you have not, you know, set up the green light. Yeah, and then making sure it's aligned with something that's really compelling. I'd like to use the word “thrilling” too, right? Something that scares you a little bit, but also excites you. 

So if it's not thrilling. If it feels kind of “ho hum”, “mwa-mwa”, then that's not gonna go anywhere, either. So, “robust” feels really awesome. I'm like, “Yeah, I want to be robust!” “Hell yeah!” Like, that's what it should feel like. And like for you, Jo, right? It's like, “Yeah, I'm somebody who really lives by faith and nothing can rock me.” “Hell yeah!”

Jo (Host)

Yeah, and it was interesting for both of us. And this is why these “intentions” come from this place. To your point, you make that declaration. And it's coming from within you. It's not about anybody else. No one else can see if I've got faith or not. No one else can see if you've got robustness or not. But both of these are what we've decided that is actually going to become part of our identity, for this year. 

So, this is what's the difference between a resolution and you becoming the person who does something. It's like, “I'm somebody who goes to the gym.” “Well, no.” “If I'm someone who is robust, going to the gym, or going to pilates, is part of who I am.” It's a non-negotiable. It's like, you ask a vegetarian, “Are they going to eat meat?” “Well, no.” “I’m vegetarian.” “I don't eat meat.” “That's part of my identity.” Versus someone who just doesn't like meat. 

They haven't gone the whole way yet. They're still dabbling a little bit in this and that. So, to your point, yeah. They haven't decided, “Where am I?” “Where am I dabbling in life?” And “Where have I not made this concrete decision?” And it's really interesting, because so many people we speak to don't know what they want. Like I've heard, their resolutions are, “I want to stop surviving.”

Jaclyn (Guest)

Well, that's … That's not, it's not really …

Jo (Host)

About that, is there anything thrilling about that? But they're so far under that they've almost forgotten how to tap into what life could be like. Because they're so far underwater like, “I just want to gasp for air, and not keep going under.” That's tricky, isn't it? How can you find the headspace, when you're so far under, to actually remind yourself that there is a different possibility here. There is a different level. 

Jaclyn (Guest)

I think that's one of the hardest places to take action from, absolutely. Oh, for sure. I could say a lot about that. What I will say is, in that case, even if you don't feel excited per se, in like an elevated, expansive way, if it feels compelling to get out of survival, like, “I have to get out of this stuck place.” “I just have to get out.” And so, if that's compelling enough, then whatever the first action is that feels like a match for that, just take it. Don't second guess it. 

Because, the key when you're in that stuck of a place, is to take any action. That the first action, you know, is don't pass up an opportunity. “I'll wait for another possibility.” Like no, “I got it.” You’ve got to just start using that shovel, and digging yourself out, one scoop at a time. So, keep making the decisions, and following those breadcrumbs, absolutely, when you're in that spot. 

Jo (Host)

Yeah, absolutely. And so, this is gonna be a year of fortified playfulness, robustness and faith and trust, and a lot more thrills. Because, this is what we do here, right? For me, faith is about believing in the impossible, and achieving the impossible, and continuing to break convention. When people say we can't do that. I'm like, “Huh, you watch me.”

Jaclyn (Guest)

It’s like “I’m Jo, you must know me.”

Jo (Host)

Yeah, that's something that I relish in. And the old me used to relish in it from a bit of an egoic standpoint, there. There was a, “Watch me.” Whereas now, I don't really care if anyone's looking. I'm doing it for my own personal satisfaction. Which I'm sure, Jaclyn, you get to see. On the inside, I'm like, “Ooh, guess what we can do.”

Jaclyn (Guest)

No one else has to know about this. But well, like you said, you know people might not see it. But then, I wonder, they can feel it, at least. Maybe they can even see it, right? Like, our intentions. When you start to be around people who embody these really powerful ways of being, they're magnetic. It's like, “There's something about that person.” “I want what they have.” So, people do feel it, and see it, in some capacity, you know? And so, that's also the power of community. 

When I'm talking about “investing”, you know, it's investing your money, your time, but it’s also about investing in people who are on the same path. Because, when you do this solo, that's really not sustainable.

Because, there's a lot going on in life. Life has a lot of moving parts. So, if we can get some inertia or momentum by being around other people, who are also up to big things that are exciting and thrilling, it just gives you this free energy that you get from being around other people. So definitely invest in that, yeah. 

Jo (Host)

Mm-hmm. Yeah, it's contagious. I said that excitement is contagious. And we all need more of that in our world, right?

Jaclyn (Guest)

Yes, yeah, absolutely. Well, here's to more robustness and more faith. 

Jo (Host)

And if you're listening to this, the question for you is, “What is your word?” “What is your intention?” “What are you going to devote yourself to this year?” And the challenge is to take this beyond a word, beyond a hashtag, beyond a post-it note, and actually take a step to wholeheartedly embody that decision. And then, take whatever steps the universe is giving you. 

Take whatever breadcrumbs you can see, and start moving towards it. Because that is the only way we know that we can poke you on December 31st,  and actually be able to celebrate you shifting, and becoming that version of you. So, here's to faith, and good luck.

OUTRO: Thank you for joining us today on the Balance and Beyond Podcast. We're so glad you carved out this time for yourself. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend who might need to hear this today. And if you're feeling extra generous, leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice would mean the world. If you’re keen to dive deeper into our world, visit us at to discover more about the toolkit that has helped thousands of women avoid burnout and create a life of balance, and beyond. Thanks again for tuning in, and we'll see you next time on the Balance & Beyond Podcast.

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