Reflections

Our little model for the morning

Our little model for the morning

As the year is coming to a close everyone seems to be looking back and doing some good old-fashioned self reflection. As society is telling us to set New Years Resolutions, to improve on those things we never got around to last year it is easy to fall into a negative thought pattern. We put pressure on ourselves to achieve a big goal like to finally stop eating fast food, or quit smoking and many people, after a few days or weeks (or hours!) tend to get discouraged and quit. These new habits don’t to really have any staying power. So this year why don’t we do it a little differently?

Reflect on your achievements
First of all before I write down my New Years Resolutions I always look back on all of the positive things I’ve accomplished this year. It’s so easy to see all the things you didn’t get to do, and then downplay your accomplishments. Well not this time! Think about all the great days you had this year, all the moments that made you smile, all the goals you achieved, all the progress you’ve made. And if you can’t think of anything THINK HARDER! Today is the day to give yourself a big pat on the back for everything you have done this year, no matter how big or how small. This way you’re in a positive mindset when we move on to the next step…

Creating your resolutions
Okay now this part seems easy…and it is! Think of a few things you would like to do this year and write them down. This doesn’t have to be anything huge, keep it realistic. Quitting your job to volunteer for the Red Cross, probably not going to happen…but spending an hour a month at your local soup kitchen? That sounds a lot more reasonable! Making resolutions that you can achieve is so important. There is no need to set yourself up for failure. And there is no resolution too small! One of my resolutions is to put the laundry away the same day I do it. That might not sound like anything major, but it’s something I don’t currently do that I would like to. And voilá! A resolution is born. And then…

Make action steps
The biggest reason people fail when it comes to actually attaining their goals (besides having unattainable goals) is a lack of planning. We need a steady supply of motivation and encouragement in order to continue to do the work needed. But when you set the standards sky high you won’t ever reach it in one leap, no matter how concentrated an effort you give. That’s where action steps come in. Once you set a large goal you need to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps that will take you closer and closer to your ultimate goal. Think of them as the rungs on your ladder to the heavens. So after you have your resolutions written down pick 3 or 4 you want to concentrate on, or even just 2 or 1, and write down a few steps you can make to get yourself started. These little steps along the way will help you see your progress and not get discouraged. Losing 50 pounds is overwhelming, but losing 3 pounds…not so much. Celebrate your progress along the way and you will find it much easier to stay on track to your goal.

Make it happen!
Now that you have your plan in place there is nothing stopping you from achieving your goals this year! And if you ever get stuck and start to want to quit then just look back at your action steps. There is nothing wrong with admitting we bit off more than we can chew, and then spitting it back out. There’s no need to choke just to save some pride. Reflect on how far you’ve gotten and then find a smaller step and try to do that. Whatever it takes as long as you keep moving forward…

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