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New Year's Resolutions for Singles
For single adults, this is the season of reds, greens and the blues. After walking the gauntlet of well meaning comments from family at Thanksgiving, not having a date for the office holiday party, and having to either sleep on the couch or bunk with one of your sibs kids over Hanukkah or Christmas- you now have to face that "couples night" of the year alone. If all of this weren't bad enough--this is not the first time, and may not be the last. No wonder so many folks are singing the blues.
For many singles, finding that right relationship is at the top of their wish list for the New Year. Often it is followed by a desire to lose weight, get in shape, make a career move and/or gain greater financial stability and security. While all of these are good things to work towards, too often they end up on a list of forgotten resolutions by February or March--and the year passes quickly with little or no desired changes occurring. Therefore, it may be useful to take another look at that age old ritual of setting new years resolutions, with the intent of reworking the process until you have something that can help you move forward from where you are right now in your life. The following tips should help you do this.
* Avoid setting long term goals. Instead, come up with short term objectives that can be achieved within a few weeks or months. As you achieve each, you will get the positive reinforcement needed to move to the next one. Using stairs as a metaphor, think of these objectives as risers on a stairway, and that as you climb each one you get closer to your goal of reaching the top. Every time you take another step you are closer to your goal, and feel more motivated to continue and confident that you will get there.
* Don't set more than one or two objectives at a time. Trying to address everything you are not satisfied with all at once will leave you feeling overwhelmed and defeated very quickly. Instead make an inventory of your desired changes for the coming year. Rank these in order of importance. Then, take the top one or two and break them down into objectives that follow a logical path to achievement.
* Develop an action plan for your objective (s). Keep it realistic and simple. Make sure you have the time and resources to follow through--or else you will sabotage any chance at success. Your plan should be written down, include blocks of time on your schedule to devote to it, and address any resources you may need along the way. These resources can include time, information to be gathered, specific contacts to be made, or any "tools" you will need in advance to complete the job.
* Make a list of ways you could get sidetracked from your plan. Anticipating possible stumbling blocks in advance will help you to address them more effectively if they arise. For instance, if you set an objective to go to the gym three times a week, make a list of everything you can think of that may prevent you from doing so. Things like having to work late, not having the energy at the end of a long day, heavy traffic, pushing your dinner to much later--can all be ready excuses you will offer yourself. However, once you identify these, you can consider changing the time of the day or the days of the week that you will go. You can also plan to bring a healthy snack to take before you leave to work out, so that you won't get too hungry. Going during lunch may be a better option if you have to work late or if rush hour traffic is a particular problem in your area. Depending on your work environment and culture, mid- day work outs may be best if you start later and work past the normal quitting time for others.
* Lastly, don't set goals that you believe you SHOULD want. If you are not truly committed to achieving something, you will find it difficult to maintain the motivation needed to stay the course. Spend some time envisioning what you want your life to look like, and what you will need to work on to make this dream a reality. Sounds simple, right? No, it's not. But your desires do not have to remain the elusive content of your fantasy life. Armed with concrete objectives, a workable plan and a powerful desire--you can make 2009 the year that at least one or two dreams come true.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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