New Years Resolutions!
It is that time of year when we wind down our efforts and start getting prepared for the many activities ahead. For some of us, we look forward to planning the holiday feasts with family. Some might be scheduling some travel to visit family somewhere. Others could be looking forward to the break from the daily grind at work or school. There are those that will use this time to reflect on 2016 about to close and figure out what changes they may need to make for the New Year ahead. This pensive approach could be summed up by one word – RESOLUTIONS. Yes, many of us use this time to make some drastic changes in life.
First and foremost, let us get real clear about the alleged reason for a resolution...it is primarily because you are not doing what you know you ought to be doing in the first place. Ok - point made.
The general thoughts when one is contemplating resolutions would be one of either starting or stopping something. In fact, the meaning of the word Resolution is “…the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.”
The act of resolving or determining upon an action…that action could be anything, for instance:
Things to Quit doing:
Smoking, drinking alcohol, eating unhealthy meals, going to work late, watching TV excessively, Being grumpy, shouting at people, spending all your funds, playing video games, stop procrastinating (I guess that will be accomplished at a later date…)
Things to Start doing:
Going to the gym, become a better listener, raise your awareness, play with your kids, be more humorous, become more peaceful, face your fears, become more professional at work, take on a new hobby, save more money, volunteer more, donate to a charity, weekly house cleaning, go for a walk in nature, become more loving.
Now how do you move on from there? You have goals to accomplish. But you veer of course then make resolutions for re-alignment. You plan the resolutions so that they fall on milestone days, like the New Year, or maybe, you just get embroiled in the season where making resolutions just happens to be one element. Regardless of the stimulus, here you are now.
There are some mental pointers you can use to help set you on the right track.
Have a reality check with yourself and find out what is going on. Do you really have to do (or stop doing) the deed, i.e. Decision for action. What are the benefits of doing this now? What are the drawbacks? Will I have time to do it? Will it cost money to do? These are the deliberations that take time. However they are very important things to consider because one of them might be the element that could turn your New Year’s resolution into a one-month-binge and then forget-it deal.
You have to really know why you are planning to do or stop that activity. This is the glue that will help keep you stuck on your path.
Once the decision for action is revealed, then do not delay. Take steps to make it happen. This is the preparation that will build a foundation for success. Start the planning process and get things in place. Start with the small and simple things you can do immediately, i.e. within the first 24 hours.
If you choose a monumental task, you will probably find some excuse to avoid it and then you are back to square one. Repeated afflictions of false starts deplete your belief in yourself and very soon, you will shut the door and never ever contemplate the idea again. This is very common in people who try to quit smoking…
One of the most important pointers has to do with focus, i.e. what you focus on regularly.
When looking at the list of potential resolutions, you will see that you can identify some elements that have opposites, for instance, eating: If your initial resolution was to stop eating junk food, then a better focus might be to say the opposite, i.e. start eating healthy meals. This is a process known as contrast. The process is quite simple. All you have to do is:
- Identify whatever it is that you do not want, do not like or hate doing.
- Understand the reasons why you state these things listed above.
- Use the contrast process to identify the opposite elements.
NOTE: They need to be positive or at least bring about a sense of calmness or well-being.
- Write them down somewhere. Suggestions could be on a piece of paper you tape to your bathroom mirror, a flip chart sheet that you paste on the back of your bedroom door or on a wall that you have to walk past everyday. Get a 3 X 5 card and right that element on it and place on the dashboard of your car. You can make a screen saver on your computer or phone.
- Review them as often as you can. This should be done at LEAST twice a day – Once in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed. During you waking hours, anytime you can remind yourself of the element to focus on is time well spent. To help with this reminder, try to pay attention to things that are in line with the element you seek. For instance, if you are looking to eat healthier selections, then when you are in the grocery store, pick up a magazine on healthy eating. If you plan to go to the gym more often, then look around and see if you can identify people who you think also go to the gym. You might even be able to start a conversation with them.
The mind is a very powerful entity and using it the correct way for the right things is always a better option.
As an example, if I asked you to think about a fearful situation that you found yourself in, you would start to exhibit the physical symptoms of that dreaded event. Even though there is no physical threat to you at this time, your body will start to change and you might feel a bit of tension in your stomach or pacing of your heart. You might even start to feel nervous, depending on what that event was. However, if I asked you to think of a pleasant event, maybe a vacation you recently went on or a sensual time you spent with your partner, I bet you will start to replicate those physical responses.
You didn’t go anywhere but just thought of these things with your mind and you were able to change you physiology. If you can do that at will, then I would suggest that you start to make those changes more deliberate and positive by controlling what you focus on regularly.
Sometimes, you might just need a little help to keep you in line. There will be times when you just don’t feel like doing it. You are tired because you had a long day at work, or your attitude was pummeled by that belligerent co-worker and now your attitude sucks. In such times, you might need to solicit the help of a close friend or family member to keep you accountable to your stated task. Let these “coaches” know so they can keep tabs on you and your progress and hold you accountable.
At the end of the day, dong what you know you ought to do just makes you feel better. When you feel better, you mind is at peace and your physiology is in a more pleasant mode. You start to feel at peace and your confidence is raised. You are more aware of your potential. In other words, you grow.
If this feels good to you, then why wait for another year for the opportunity to grow in leaps and bounds? You can really make a resolution every day. If you do need a name, I would suggest calling it a New Day’s resolution.
Safe Travels, My Friend…!