The topic of New Year’s Resolutions has got to bring on some of the most timeless and interesting debates of our time. You may or may not believe in resolutions. Fair enough. Keep reading. I share my thoughts on the different views of resolutions, and offer suggestions for 5 resolutions you might consider for 2017. These aren’t anything major and are easy to do. Their impact for you will be huge!
On one side, there are people who think making resolutions are silly and set people up for failure.
This does describe some people. When this happens, it’s usually because resolutions are made impulsively and without thought of how to carry them out. It’s almost more wishing, than resolving. These resolutions may be born out of a significant emotional pain, perhaps from ill health, broken relationships or financial losses. There are some people who hold the belief that it is just not helpful to make resolutions. There seems to be no pain or other reason for their opinion. It just is what they think.
More recently I’ve noticed more people who use resolutions as a 1-year challenge to test out a new habit. For example, I know someone who loved candy and sweets. His resolution was to eat no candy for one full year. Honestly, I don’t remember if he made it through the whole year with no candy. He did make it through quite a few months candy-free! This is an interesting way to look at resolutions. It might be the way to try out a healthier habit, without feeling like you can never go back to the bad habit. A lot less pressure when you limit the time you commit instead of facing the rest of your life without whatever you want to change. There is no doubt this can help with making a permanent change and might be the tactic that works for you!
Another group of people are the ones who fully believe in making change starting in the new year. They are committed to reviewing what worked well, and what would have worked better in the past year. They thoughtfully and diligently plan the upcoming year. This may not be so much about making resolutions. I think many are true goal setters and know their success lies in reviewing their successes and areas of improvement. They see the value of being clear about what they want in the next year, writing down the goals and steps to take, and creating a plan. Even a “loose” plan can put you miles ahead of your family, friends and colleagues.
As promised, here are some resolutions (if you call them that) for you to consider for 2017:
- Drink one more glass of water per day than you do now.
Dehydration causes all sorts of problems in your body without you knowing it. By the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Some symptoms that may surprise you are confusion and physical weakness. Without a properly hydrated body you may experience foggy thinking, have trouble concentrating and become very moody. Doing physical activities like gardening or housecleaning may start to tire you out sooner than they should. Extreme cases of dehydration become a medical emergency. The best way to prevent it is to drink water throughout the day. Fill up a water bottle in the morning and take it with you everywhere, refilling it when empty.
- Get in an extra 100 steps a day.
Even though you may feel like you are running around all day, you likely aren’t getting in as many steps as you think. There is a lot of emotional exhaustion that takes a toll on you physically, and leaves you exhausted. Instead of trying to add 4 hours or more in workouts to your week, try a few steps at a time. Park at the far end of the row in a parking lot. Use the stairs instead of an elevator. Walk around the block on your lunch or coffee break. Walk from one room in your house to another an extra 10 times a day. You can fit it in.
- Practice saying positive thoughts to yourself.
Write down these statements on a 5 x 7 card, or put them into your smartphone as a reminder. Read them 3 times a day, reading them out loud as often as possible. Add other statements that lift you up. Remember to start with the words “I am” and to make them positive. Send me an email if you have any questions about this.
I am strong and courageous.
I am worthy.
I am doing the best that I can.
I am deserving of good things.
I am loved.
This is also a great resource – then you don’t even have to think about it! Power Thoughts
- Find a relaxation strategy or method that you can use to keep you calm, or for when you are overwhelmed and exhausted, and you want back in a state of calm.
Use whatever method works for you. You might try a few different ones to see which you like best. Get a guided relaxation here. (just enter your email and I’ll send it to you.) You might like to write and you can pick up a journal or scribbler at the dollar store for $3 or less. If you don’t know how to get started writing, ask yourself a question: “How am I feeling right now?” “Why?” “How do I want to feel?” “Why?” Make a playlist of music that soothes your soul. Listen to it often, even if you don’t think you “need” to. Watch comedies. There are lots of old comedy sit-coms on YouTube. Do something that makes you laugh. Laughter yoga has been shown to be beneficial for many – learn more: scroll down to Episode 22.
- Practice gratitude.
Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I say this because I say it so often. It is just that important. If it’s hard to feel grateful right now, try writing down one thing you are grateful for each day. After a week, make it 3 things a day you are grateful for. After another week, write down 5 things you are grateful for. Then keep doing this every day. You can always write down more than 5. Commit to at least 5. When you are stuck, use some of these:
I am grateful I woke up today.
I am grateful for what I had to eat today.
I am grateful for my bed.
I am grateful for running water.
I am grateful for sunshine.
I am grateful for my car.
I am grateful for my neighbours.
I am grateful for my mom (or dad, sister, brother, daughter, son, etc)
I am grateful for the minute I had all to myself.
There is a lot of research and science behind the benefits of gratitude. Go here and click on Episode 16 and find out more about some research studies.
This is the journal I first used when starting to write my daily gratitudes. The Gratitude Journal
Whether you call these things resolutions, goals or habits doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you choose at least one suggestion, if not all 5, and try them out. You decide what you want to call them, and whether or not you want to make a permanent habit change or want to try them out for a limited time. I encourage you to try them for at least 30 days, preferably 60 days. It took more than 60 days to get you where are today, it’s worth a 60 day commitment to something that will transform how you feel about you, and your life.
There are 2 books I highly recommend for going deeper into getting clarity about what you do want, and steps to take to start moving towards what you want. They are
I am a certified facilitator in both methods and can help you if you have any questions. These are the strategies and systems that are the foundation of my work with clients, both one on one and in workshops.
I wish you all the best in 2017.
May you find peace, hope, and joy in every day.
P.S. Did you get your free copy of my book Walking the Journey Together … Alone? Get it here. Share with everyone you know who is caring for a loved one with a terminal of long term illness.
P.P.S. There are some exciting changes coming from The Caregiver’s Lighthouse in 2017. Keep your eyes peeled!