It’s the middle of January. You know what that means. You have a heavy list of “must do” and “must never do again” things pinned to your car visor and your fridge door. You are walking that fine line between “maybe I really am going to change this year” and “is it really worth this effort?”  If you have already messed up, don’t worry – there is always 2021.

Does this look familiar?

Why is it that sometimes you can just get up one day and finally make that big change effortlessly, and other times it is just SO hard to change? The reason for this has to do with the direction we focus our energy.

Freedom is expressed when we move towards the unknown with confidence.

Direction is everything. We can get stuck in problem solving energy so easily. “I’ve got to find the truth.” Or “I know I can fix this.” Or “I just have to keep trying until this works.” These are things that we will say over and over to ourselves and others when we are facing the problem and ‘dealing with it’. We are taught that facing a problem is often the best way to deal with it. That’s a cultural belief that does not always lead us forward. Sometimes we stay stuck in the trenches with our tenacious ego that just won’t give up. And we never move to beyond this die hard “gotta get it right this time” lifestyle.

Sometimes being tenacious has its downfalls. We can get stuck in problem solving mode and not want to admit we can’t find a solution.

Other times, when we have had enough of our relentless, tiresome, ineffectual problem-solving, we realize we actually need to get away from the problem. It can’t be fixed. So our energy switches to an ‘away from’ focus. And we run as fast as we can away from the relationship, the job, the addiction, or whatever problem was consuming us. Away from energy is still focused on the problem. Instead of focusing on fixing the problem, we are focused on getting as far away from the problem as possible. Sometimes, we see things related to the problem as too close to the problem as run away from those too. Ever had a bad break up? If you left the ex behind in a cloud of smoke with all your stuff and never returned any of their friend’s messages, then you are probably familiar with this concept. When you find your safe place, you grieve and ruminate, and plan how to heal. You are still in the problem.

Running frantically away from a problem is just as exhausting as being stuck in problem-solving.

Change happens when your energy shifts ‘towards’ something else. When you can feel the joy of something new and interesting coming into your life, enthusiasm awakens. And inspiration appears. This towards energy makes it much easier to leave behind whatever has been weighing you down. That’s because you feel what you want to move towards, Sometimes, you don’t have to KNOW what this is. You simply have to tune into the energy of joy with curiousity to notice what brings you a sense of lightness. Then move towards what brings you joy. As you do this, the new you and your new world will start to take shape. And it will take the shape of experiences, relationships, and learnings that are more joyful.

If I were you, I would remove those lists of ‘shoulds and should nots’ from the bathroom mirror, and the top drawer of my office desk. Instead I would take a few moments each day to remember that change happens easily when I move towards happiness, and let my new life reveal itself to me.