You don't have to live stressed out and exhausted.

Resolutions: Helpful or Hurtful??

Welcome to 2009!  I always approach a new year with mixed emotions.  On the one hand,  it is exciting to have a fresh new year and the chance to make fresh changes/resolutions.   I have had enough ‘new years’ to know that frequently the resolutions I have made and the changes I want to implement become lost in the shuffle and busyness of life.  Thus, resolutions frequently become a handy way for me to beat up on myself and criticize myself for not measuring up to the person I want to become.
The bottom line is  I think resolutions are important. It is positive to look at your life, do a gut check in and ask yourself some hard questions.  Such as: Is this the life I want to be living?  Am I taking good care of myself?  Am I living by my values and expressing what is important to me?  Am I taking care of others who are important to me?  Am I expressing my needs and sharing my genuine self?   Based on the answers to those questions I think it is important to pick one (maybe two) small areas that you can change.

Maybe it is as simple as:

  • I will eat 4 fruits/veggies a day,
  • I will express genuine care towards my spouse/partner every day,
  • I will physically move my body on a daily basis
  •  I will engage in an act of self-care each week (e.g. enjoy my favorite TV show, reading a good book, taking a walk).

As a mentor of mine says “all change is incremental.” Change takes time, and when we swoop into our resolutions thinking, we are going to lose 50 pounds in 3 months by dramatically changing our diet and our exercise plan. Or that we will quit a 20-year smoking habit cold turkey, or that we can eliminate all guilt or negative thinking because it is January 1st is unreasonable and causes more stress on ourselves.

In my opinion, resolutions are about self-reflection and self-love. Resolutions are about noticing in our lives ways we can become healthier and happier and finding small, meaningful ways of implementing those changes.  Resolutions are a way for us to live intentionally every day.  Change is a slow process but the key to change is having an intention around it–looking at our lives and figuring out what do I want to change and what is a meaningful practical way I can change it.  I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful, joyous 2009!  Happy New Year!

One Response to Resolutions: Helpful or Hurtful??

  1. Happy New Year, Nancy Jane! And thanks for the reminder that resolutions aren’t only evil (for the failure they bring forth as we lose sight of them each year). It is true that the very act of deciding what we resolve to focus on in the new year is hugely meaningful and valuable to a conscious life (even if we fail to meet our initial “resolve”). I appreciate that reminder – especially as I sit here two hours shy of my 7.5 hours of sleep a night “theme” for 2009 🙂