Don’t Make Resolutions This Year
As the month of December winds down and the New Year begins, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions. The idea behind resolutions is a fresh start, a newly revived spirit, a new year in which to accomplish all the things on our lists. This year, I question whether setting lofty goals at the beginning of the year is a smart move.
We adopt a resolution in earnest, feeling committed and on track. We usually go hard at tackling our resolutions for a month or two, but by March most fall off the wagon and cannot motivate themselves to get back on.
With that sense of failure comes a myriad of thoughts and feelings, including depression, anger, frustration, and sadness due to the fact that, yet again, you feel weak-willed and unable to stick to anything. Why do we keep doing this to ourselves, year after year? When we don't succeed, how does that make us feel? Is it okay to expose ourselves yet again to this barren wasteland of punishment and internal belittling?
I am here give you permission to stop the craziness. Get off that Polar Express ride once and for all! Here is a refreshing idea, one that I hope you will try. This year, instead of a making giant, overwhelming resolution, take stock of your life instead. Follow these steps:
- Purchase a beautiful journal.
- Write a list of areas of concern that you see as challenging.
- Look at each concern and dive a little deeper, making notes in your journal as you go. Ask yourself these questions:
- Why does this concern you?
- Why do you do it?
- Why would you like to change?
- How do you think that change would benefit your life?
- What would it take to achieve that change, one step at a time?
Here are some examples of what that looks like:
Perhaps you eat a pint of ice cream every night. Instead of vowing to steer clear of the sweet stuff, ask yourself why you are eating so much of it? Are you plagued with unhappiness in a relationship and using ice cream as comfort food? Are you stressing about an upcoming move? Maybe you are at a new duty station, experiencing loneliness and need to find ways to make new connections and friendships? Or, is your diet out of kilter? This could cause cravings, if you are missing some nutritional element in your diet. Even if your diet is relatively clean, eating low quality foods brings side effects that add up over time.
Maybe you are addicted to caffeine, and you notice that your one cup of joe in the morning is now more like four or five cups, but it’s still not enough. Read between the lines. Instead of resolving to quit coffee, ask why you need it. Is your blood sugar unstable? Are you not sleeping well? Do you need the buzz to get motivated to go to work or workout? If so, why? Are you in an unfulfilling job? Are you bored with your workouts? Are you not getting enough sleep? What is keeping you up late? Then ask, how can you change the scenario.
It's possible that you noted in your journal that you have little patience with your family, friends, or even yourself. You may notice that during the past year you have been feeling more stressed, overwhelmed, or angry. Before you set a resolution to will yourself to be a happier, calmer, more chillaxed person, ask yourself why you have such feelings. Analyze your life. Do you enjoy your work? Do you have nurturing relationships? Do you need more down time? Are you burning the candle at both ends? Could you use some time to unwind and relax?
How does this sound in comparison to those dreaded resolutions? We can be kinder to ourselves in the coming year. No more trips down the guilt memory lane. By assessing where we are in life and how to grow one step at a time, we follow the path of life-long success. All that’s left are realistic action steps and time to work on them.
Consider a more reflective approach throughout the coming year. Give yourself permission to grow. Assess your progress and listen to what your heart is telling you. We all have unique challenges. Learning to recognize and challenge ourselves to move forward is the real key to success. If we can’t be honest with ourselves, who then can we confide in?
Here’s to an amazing New Year!
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MEET NAVENKA GABRIELSON
Navenka grew up in the industrial region of Lancashire, Northern England. She married a U.S. naval officer. Twenty years later, Navenka and her family have lived all over the United States, and now Southeast Asia, surviving well over a dozen moves with two kids, dogs, fish, and countless adventures. She founded Body Harmony, helping others through her skills as a nationally-certified Health and Lifestyle Coach, Personal Trainer, and Pilates instructor. She presents speaking engagements both online and locally on health, wellness, and mindful living. She also enjoys time outdoors with her family, traveling, hiking, biking, or just relaxing. She is a keen potter who enjoys the challenge of throwing ceramics on a potter's wheel.
If you would like to learn more about taking control of your military life, consider reading my book, Holding Down the Fort - The Military Spouse's Guide to Surviving and Thriving. It is packed with practical ideas that every military spouse can use. You can also visit her website or Facebook and consider registering for a complimentary health coaching session and her email newsletter.
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