A common thread among clients who come to me for self-empowerment counseling is “Why do people use me?” And they groan, “Why me?” And they whine, “I’ll never get what I want because of _____.” I tell them to fill in that blank with, “because I allow myself to be a victim.” People don’t make […]
New Year’s eve is a time that many of us make resolutions—often grand ones. I used to do it too. It feels SOOOOOOOO good to make them. Oh yes, THIS is the year of change for the better. Some extra wine on New Year’s eve magnified my intentions for the next year. ? I shared them with friends and even wrote them down. Seems everyone around me had high hopes for the new year. We promise to:
* Lose weight/get into better shape. This is the big one. I know of few people who don’t want to lose weight. Even skinny minnies feel they have some bit of fat to lose. Even people in shape want to get into better shape. Gyms LOVE the lose-weight/get into better shape resolutions because in January they get bombarded with people signing up. By February, gyms stop being crowded as the resolve dissipates.
* Stop smoking or drinking. This resolution takes a plan. Just because the calendar reads 2008, nothing will change unless you do something about it. Smoking/drinking takes more than a resolution to accomplish. You usually need outside help and support—a therapist, program, support group or something to help break these habits that are hard to control. But New Year’s eve revelry can make one feel more invincible as the declarations come out and they smoke and drink extra as a last hurrah.
* Find a romantic partner. January can become hunting season. Everyone is determined to find THE ONE. I strongly discourage romantic hunts in my books. That makes the HIM or HER you search for to be more important than YOU. The best way to attract a healthy person is to become one, and trust spiritually that when the time is right, someone good will come into your life. That takes more than a resolution!
* Get a new job. People think that waiting for the new year to get a job works best. But all the others who think that way can create stiffer competition than at other times.
* Make more money. Often this is just wishful thinking. Making money takes an effort. It doesn’t miraculously come because you resolved to get more. You can change your mindset about money and attract more abundance but a resolution alone on one night usually doesn’t carry through.
* Keep your living space cleaner. I resolve this all year long now. My end of the year cleaning is almost done but I know that if I don’t maintain it every week, the benefits are soon lost.
* Become more empowered. There’s no empowerment fairy to wave a magic wand and make you more empowered for 2008. That must come from more than a strong desire. Subscribe to this blog to help you with that one! ?
* Begin a project you’ve been wanting to do for ages. Ask yourself, what about a change in year will make a difference?
Resolutions can hurt you if you don’t keep them. Think back to how many have actually materialized for you. I rarely followed through in the days I made them, especially when I was a DoorMat. I’d resolve to say no, or lose weight, or get myself completely out of DoorMatville. But I continued to be agreeable, stay the same weight, and live as a DoorMat. The only thing that changed was that I felt even worse about me.
When you don’t keep your resolutions, it makes you feel worse about yourself, and less empowered.
As the excitement of making declaration on New Year’s eve—possibly under the influence of alcohol—wears off, reality sets in. You’re the same person with the same limitations your were before the new year. If your self-control isn’t stronger and there are no new ways to find THE ONE, you don’t just suffer for what you lack or can’t do. You can feel more of a failure for not making resolutions stick. That can make you give up.
Making and breaking New Year’s resolutions becomes a habit that lowers self-esteem and actually can keep you from getting what you say you want.
Planning to do something good for the new year is just another way to postpone taking action. Sometimes you can do what you say if there’s a specific action you can do on that day. But thinking you’ll have the power to make big changes just because the number of the year changed is often wishful thinking. If you want to accomplish stuff, don’t wait till New Year’s eve to declare it, chill on January 1st, and lose the resolve on the 2nd.
Take action now! Right now! Stop postponing until you can make a resolution. Resolutions don’t work if you’re not serious and ready to follow through.
* You want to lose weight? Put down your fork NOW! Take control of your eating TODAY. Go take a long power walk. That means you’re really serious. Then continue in 2008.
* You want a romantic partner? Start NOW to be more loving to YOU. Put away your hunting gear and get a life. Make yourself happy and resolve to trust that at the right time, when you’re READY to meet someone, he or she will be there. Until you truly love yourself, it’s hard to find someone who’ll give the love you deserve. Do what you love and someone will be there.
* You want to stop drinking or smoking? Go to an AA meeting TODAY! Join a stop smoking program NOW. Enter the new year smoking or drinking less and continue into 2008.
* You want to get a new job or make more money? Get some help with your resume NOW. Make a plan NOW. Network like crazy and begin to create opportunities so you enter the new year having embarked on a new course of action.
* Write down a plan for whatver project you want to embark on. Start organizing it NOW!
And so on. It’s so easy to declare intentions in the heat of New Year’s eve celebrations. And what better excuse to pig out, or drink more, or smoke more, weeks before since you’re going to start dieting or abstaining right after 2008 begins. Be careful not to let resolutions sabotage your self-esteem, and good intentions.
I’ve the same resolution every year since I wised up. It’s one I can always make happen, and it always feels good to resolve to do it. While I’d like to lose weight I don’t resolve to diet. Instead, I keep it simple, to encompass whatever direction I want to go in:
“I resolve to continue to do my best to live up to my potential in all ways.” Period.
Because I have great self-esteem now, I know I have tremendous potential and I aim to not let it go to waste. But I don’t set dates or put limits on what I go after. I know my potential is tremendous and I want to see it through. So I’ll try my best to use it!
Another part of this resolution is to try your best to become the person you want to be. It begins with your values and how YOU treat YOU.
Are you critical of you or loving and kind? The latter is necessary to generate motivation to do the best thing for you. As you finish reading this, think of something you want to make a New Year’s resolution to do, and do something about it right NOW.
Go—get up and do it. Toss the box of cookies. Polish your resume. Find a personal trainer. Have 3 less cigarettes than normal. Go to an AA meeting. Go to the gym! Start the project you say you want to do! NOW! Not after the holiday is over.
Set your resolution to begin NOW, because NOW is when you need it.
If you’re really serious, prove it by taking action NOW so you enter the new year already on at least some part of the track. I just got back on a good eating track after Christmas pigging out. I indulge and enjoy, then run every day and am eliminating more sugar from my diet for a while. I’ll again eat more fun foods to celebrate the new year, and then get back on track New Year’s day.
Even while I celebrate, I remain conscious of not going overboard too much. I won’t let myself glide through the rest of the holiday week with my mouth open on autopilot, eating leftovers and buying one more gingerbread cookie twice a day since they’ll be gone soon till next year. Nope! I’ve begun to taper off, so I’m fully back on a healthy eating track to enter the new year on a positive note.
“I resolve to continue to do my best to live up to my potential in all ways.”
You can do this too! You have the potential to lose weight, get a job you love, start and finish projects, stop smoking or drinking, and anything else you’d make a resolution about! Show yourself enough love by doing your best to reach your full potential and leave the other resolutions for those who break them. This one you can keep IF you CHOOSE to take care of YOU! I highly recommend it. That was my key out of DoorMatville!
Taking control of your bad habits is a loving gift you give to YOU. ?
This Saturday I’m hosting the Carnival of Healing. It will contain an interesting assortment of articles written by bloggers around the world with suggestions for New Year’s resolutions that can result in healthier outcomes.
Stay tuned on Monday when I post about what I do on New Year’s eve so that I enter the new year fully refreshed, spiritually revved with my God-driven engine running on high.