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The one resolution that can change everything
It's that time of year when we are saying good-bye to the old and looking ahead to beginning anew and making the changes that we couldn't in the year that is ending. During every last week of December there is a lot of talk about resolutions--especially about how to make ones that are realistic, achievable, and won't be forgotten when February rolls around. We are bombarded with tips and advice through traditional media, social media, and even advertisers, pitching us on products designed to help us succeed. With all of this expertise available to us, it should be easy for everyone to succeed, right? According to the statistics, no, not even close to right.
Does this mean that we should just abandon this yearly ritual, recognizing it as something fun to talk about but not to be taken seriously? Or is it possible that all the chatter has overwhelmed us and set the bar too high for us to reach? If so, success could lie in doing less to get more. Instead of coming up with several long-term goals that require persistence in planning and implementation, why not resolve to make changes one day at a time? The following will help you do this and hopefully achieve results from day 1.
Treat each day as a new beginning
Instead of thinking about what you want to change this year, ask yourself "what one thing can I do or do better today?" The list of possibilities is almost endless, depending on your specific wants and needs. Anything from taking a half hour walk, finding 15 minutes to meditate, bringing lunch to work rather than going for the fast food option, cleaning out your desk or just tackling one drawer to start--are all realistic, easy to implement, and don't require any drastic changes to your life or routine. Imagine doing this every day and having taken at least 7 steps by week's end on your journey towards positive change. Over time you can try for two a day, or even more if and when you have made them part of your regular routine.
Begin each day with reflection
By this I mean spending a few minutes at the start of each day thinking about your schedule, your must do's, and any changes in your needs and wants that you would like to give priority to. Then you can vision how and where you could make a small shift, find down time you could repurpose, and/or subtract something that you realize is unimportant in order to make time for something that is. The key here is visioning what your life looks like right now and then "seeing" where you could begin to implement a desired change. If you run through each day without stopping for reflection, you will continue going through the motions, day after day, wondering why nothing ever changes.
Take a moment every morning to come up with one thing in your life you are grateful for. This could be the excellent cup of coffee you are sipping, the good weather you have awoken to, your comfortable home, a job that pays the bills, a supportive partner, and/or children who are healthy and doing well. In other words, nothing is too small or too big--just think outside the box and let your thoughts go.
Then hold that thought throughout your day by taking periodic moments to remind yourself of the good that your life contains. This practice will help you to remain positive, energized, and productive--and to remain open to all the possibilities that your future may have in store for you.
End the day with a focus on what you accomplished
Taking time at the end of each day to look back on how your day went and especially what you did well, is a very useful exercise. It helps you stay focused and positive and to maintain the momentum you will need to continue down any new paths you have chosen to take in search for your goals.
If you maintain a checklist, put your focus on what you completed, instead of what you could not get to. Then put those undone things on the top of your list for the next day. Make sure you check each item off and let yourself feel the positive feelings that come from having completed each task, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.
All journeys start with a single step--and successful people know the secret is to live in the moment, employing conscious choices that lead to good decisions and positive outcomes. Pursue your dreams, one day at a time.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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