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A Different Approach to New Year Resolutions


The New Year is upon us and with the New Year comes a new resolve for most of us to make this next year "our year". We pump ourselves up with excitement and commitment! It feels great! We are amped! But for most of us, with that excitement and commitment, comes an equal heaping of expectation, anxiety, and stress.

How's that you say? Well, letís think about it. Most of us are just plain and simple, over ambitious. In the same way that our eyes can be too big for our stomachs when we are hungry, our mind's 'I can accomplish this today' list is often way too big for our actual lives. I myself am guilty of this. My dayís to-do list can sometimes have at least 10 things on it and can easily top about 20. 5 of those tasks are usually major endeavors that require a lot of thought and focus. At the beginning of the day or that previous night, it all seems possible. I trick myself into thinking "oh yes, I'll just plow through this thing to the next, to the next as long as I stay focused." And it truly seems realistic. What I don't account for is needed breaks, eating (this one is so easy for me to forget!), interruptions, and just regular ol' moments of day dreaming and distraction (I think everyone probably needs these in their day).

Translate this to our yearly to-do lists we create around the New Year. How many of us account for interruptions, life changes, redirections, and moments of much needed rest? When we look at how full some of our New Year resolutions lists are, you can easily see that not many of us do. This is a setup for disappointment. Focusing on DOING and how much we are able to accomplish will almost always leave us feeling unaccomplished because 1. our concept of the passing of time is skewed to believe that more can fit into the hours of the day than actually can and 2. Life is too unpredictable to plan out every second and stake your sense of success or failure on that plan.

What I suggest and wish for each of you instead is to focus more on how you want to FEEL this new year. What feeling do you want to have when you look back over your year at the end of this one? Do you want to feel happy for instance? Then when you are up against a decision, choose the one that makes you feel the happiest. (Example: This morning I had major anxiety over taking the time to wash all my dishes and get my crockpot dinner going or get started on my work for the day. What helped me decide was thinking about how happy I would feel looking at my clean kitchen and eating a really good, healthy dinner tonight and knowing that I made time to do that for myself. The decision was easy then.)

Approach the changing of your life simply and easily, in small chunks, with lots of space for improvisation. Focusing on the feeling you want rather than the lists of things to do will get you there faster and with much less stress every time.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Leah R. Patterson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Leah R. Patterson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Leah R. Patterson for details.

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