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Dear style & substance,
In anticipation of the new year, I always make a new year’s resolution and stick close to it the first 2 to 3 weeks of the new year….and then somehow I get distracted and am back to doing what I have always done. How do I make the resolution stick?
Although we are all different, there may be some techniques to think about and apply in the New Year. Think about adding something rather than taking something away, doing rather than not doing, building on your strengths instead of berating your weaknesses. You are probably reading this after the New Year has begun, but commit to something now as it is never to late to promote change within. With a little thought and some dedication, you will find the new improved you by the end of January! Here are some suggestions of things to add…
Give compliments, not judgments. We have become a judgmental nation, not really considering the circumstances of another and why something has happened to them. A compliment is a genuine “Atta girl” or “Atta boy” that says you are proud or amazed or really happy for someone. Look for the good and you will find it…building up, not tearing down.
Think it over before you speak…especially if it is a negative or pessimistic thought. Once the words are out, you may have little chance of repairing the damage. We generally are in no position to make the negative statements. It may momentarily make us feel better about our own circumstances, but it doesn’t respect the other person nor promote anyone’s well-being. And wow, those words are not easily forgotten!
Try something new that you have always wanted to do but just couldn’t get started. This may be a new exercise program (we recommend just 5 to 10 minutes per day; who could say no to that?) or volunteering at a local organization. Small amounts of time are the best way to get a new habit in place, think underwhelming to start….then you will not be overwhelmed and quit.
Live without regret; when you have a regret of something that has gone wrong during the day or an apology that was left unsaid out of stubbornness or you somehow shirked your responsibility…correct it as soon as possible. Don’t wait for others to step up; be the leader in doing the right thing.
Make promises that you do keep. Be the reliable parent, friend, child, partner, co-worker, or boss. Follow up on what you say you’ll do.
Change your inner dialogue or self-talk. Find a series of three words or phrases that empower you and keep you going in a positive direction. A good place to start is with, “I am, I will, I can”. Make sure that these words are the opposite of what has been holding you back. For example, if you are too impulsive or too quick to pass judgment, the series of three could be…Contemplate, meditate, rejuvenate.
Work harder than those around you. We very often lower ourselves to the least amount of work, rather than keeping our standards high and feeling good about what we do.
You may have other positive strategies to start your new year…remember that every day with the sun rising, you have the chance to reinvent yourself! Happy New Year!