At the beginning of each year we are supposed to take stock of where we are in life or how things are going and address some changes that need to be made, right? Says who? Why?
Ok, fine, you want to better yourself. Well let me ask you a question; Which of these is easier, to start something totally new, or modify something that already exists? Obviously the second. So if you haven't been to the gym or worked out in more than 3 months, don't delude yourself into thinking that you will arbitrarily start doing something you haven't been doing. On the contrary, if you have been working out and you want to add a day, that is much easier to accomplish and your chances of success are greatly improved.
The whole point of New Year's resolutions is to resolve (how many of us truly resolve?) to do something in the way of self-improvement. For more on the origins of New Year's resolutions, take a look at this Wikipedia article.
I propose that many resolutions are simply expectations set too high. These leaps are better achieved by a series of reasonable small steps. And many people underestimate the effort required to reach their goal, or overestimate their necessary abilities needed to achieve that goal with minimal change. The emotional penalties for these unreasonable expectations are sometimes more destructive than not creating the resolution in the first place and leaving well enough alone.
However, the biggest thing that people leave out is doing something, the expending of energy to make something happen. Many people seem to think that simply desiring something will create change. Not so. Oftentimes when I sit and talk with a client, they will mention something they are “working on” or “trying” to change. After discussing it for a bit, we come to the conclusion that they really aren't doing anything more than thinking about what they want changed. Suffice it to say, Yoda from Star Wars was right, “Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”.
With those thoughts and the wisdom of Yoda in mind, I present here several Anti-Resolution suggestions for the coming year.
Anti-Resolutions for 2015
- Don't pressure yourself to perform beyond your capacity. Excellence, not perfection.
- Don't judge yourself harshly when you fall short. You're only human.
- Don't not say no. Your plate is only so big.
- Don't overeat. Seek satisfaction.
- Don't overspend. More needs, less wants.
- Don't be lazy. Keep moving.
- Don't isolate yourself. Communicate.
If you only accomplish these, or even some of them, you'll be doing better than most. As you can see, these all have something to do with giving yourself a little more grace and accepting yourself for who you are. These also promote Self-control which has been linked to much more positive results than self-esteem.
Resolutions. Anti-Resolutions. Regardless, be good to yourself this year.
About the Author: Todd Call, MS, LMFT LCPC Todd is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Montana (LMFT also in Hawaii and Arizona). He maintains a private practice in Eureka and Kalispell, and conducts workshops with parents who want to improve their parenting and themselves. Todd has been a therapist since 1998 and has worked extensively with teenagers and their parents in residential and outpatient settings. You can find more of his writing at the Uncommon Sense blog. Todd is married and has 7 children (along with 2 dogs, 3 geese, 4 cats and 11 chickens).
Tags: self help