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You only have one year left to live resolutions
Why are bucket lists associated only with the elderly? Surely any one of us can be young in years but old in time. Yet we go through our days as though there will always be many more ahead to have that experience, make time for that person or passion, or live at least a part of that dream we have had since childhood. Yet, we never seem to ask ourselves; "what if there is no future beyond the next year or two?" If we knew we only had 365 days left, how would that impact our perspective and behavior? The following is a template for how to pose this question to yourself and to use it to shape your resolutions for the coming year. It will only take a few minutes or so of your time, and what have you got to lose but another year or more if you choose not to?
Begin by visioning that you have only one year left, beginning on January first (tomorrow). Spend some time with this, letting in all the related feelings while blocking out any environmental distractions.
Secondly, over the next few days ask yourself the following questions--then try to make this kind of exercise a daily habit:
* How important is this chore or routine that I feel I must do because I have always done it?
* What's the worst that could happen if I do or don't do this? What's the best outcome I could hope for either way?
* Do I need to hold onto this job, friendship, emotional baggage any longer? Why did I choose to do so in the first place and what impact on my life would there be if I let it go?
* What is my rush to get there or get it done? What might I miss along the way if I focus only on the getting there and not the experiences along the way?
* What's my true passion? If I had complete financial security, how would I spend my time?
Lastly, do these three things at least once every day, beginning with now:
* Identify and briefly meditate on two or three things in your life that you are grateful for.
* Identify at least one feeling of anger, resentment or an old hurt, and make a commitment to let it go, now.
* Clear away useless excess and debris. This can include old mail and other paper or those clothes in your closet that you have all but forgotten about and that are cluttering your space and life. Be creative and decisive--and keep a box or bag handy to put them in as you decide whether to throw them away or recycle them.
After you have gone through all of the above at least once, sit down with your computer or a pad and pen- and make a list of two or three resolutions for the coming year. Leave space between them and list at least three or four objectives under each that will act as stepping stones towards that goal. Be cognizant of your resources (time, money, energy) and realistic in your expectations of what is achievable.
The final and very important piece here is that you input these into your schedule. Treat them as you would a meeting or appointment and leave enough time to accomplish them. Make sure you plan times that work with your overall schedule, social commitments and your own bodily rhythms and preferences. For example, if you are resolving to do one half hour of exercise at the gym each day, don't put it in your schedule for a time that could be interrupted by something else or at a time of the day when your energy and motivation may be lowest.
The only real secrets to making and keeping New Years resolutions are a strong self-awareness, good planning and follow-through, an ability to identify and head off self-sabotaging behaviors and realistic, achievable goals.
Happy New Year's resolutions!
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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